In her own words… Joyce Lee

Joyce Lee Headshot

Several years ago, I took part in the Unheard Voices group at the Royal Court Theatre where I wrote the first draft of a full-length play called ‘Orchids’. It’s a play about human rights, family, art, and the supernatural. It was very much a ‘vomit draft’ and I spent some time after the group ended tinkering with the script.

Then… it gathered dust. Literally.

Until I saw that Papergang Theatre Company were looking for scripts and ideas for their Papergang Matinees as part of the SEA Arts Fest at the Tristan Bates Theatre. I was lucky enough to be one of six writers taken on by Papergang for the scheme. We six happy writers were then tasked with developing our plays over the next nine weeks…

Clarissa and Simon from Papergang tirelessly supported us through one-to-one meetings as well as group meetings with all six writers. Through these conversations, it quickly became clear that I needed to work on honing in on the story – making sure that there was a clear and meaningful journey for the central character. I also needed to figure out what was driving the central character, Violet. For some time, she was going through a series of motions without really taking any action; she meandered, a little like the story.

With these new insights, I embarked on wrestling with another draft… And then another… Violet now has fire and determination fueling her actions. The story has a shape. There’s hopefully a message and a few surprises. As Hemingway famously said, ‘The only kind of writing is rewriting’.

With the Papergang Matinee fast approaching, there’s just time for another draft…


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