Greenbelt isn’t just a great festival, it’s also a wonderful melting pot of fantastically creative people.
One of the sessions on the Literature Programme is a session marked “Greenbelt Writers Network”. Here’s some thoughts I’ve written about what I think. (This may or may not end up representing what actually happens)
In the Winnie the Pooh stories Piglet speaks to something that all creative people feel but sometimes we often don’t acknowledge: the solitariness of being creative. It really is much friendlier with two.
During my time as artistic director of a touring theatre company one of the things I valued most were the networks I’d created with other creative people around London. We’d get together, chat, play theatre games, go for drinks. These were people who I felt accountable to, people I could be brutally honest with about spats within my theatre company and people who I’d collaborate with, plot with and cook up new ideas. They still remain some of my closest friends, most honest critics and loudest cheering team. Sometimes being creative can be an incredibly lonely process.
The writers network is an idea rattling around in my head and I find ideas live or die when you share them with other people. I’m hoping that the session on Friday of the festival will be successful but if it’s not, it’s not.
I want to try bringing people from the Greenbelt community who write together. Frequently there’s a false distinction imposed on writers that there’s writers who write for a living or get paid for writing and those who write for pleasure. For me writers write. I write the things I write and do the various things I do because I can’t imagine not doing them or I’d probably burst if I didn’t do them and I imagine my world would be dimmer and quieter if I lived without those things.
Increasingly over the last couple of years there’s been a drive to make the festival interactive through the year. Greenbelt 365. For me the idea of the literature programme working 365 would be twofold. There’s the festival element and potentially a year-round element. The year round element is easier to resolve and the Festival element is harder to pin down.
The year round element provides a training ground for new speakers, gives authors a supportive creative space and could provide a space to publish a “something” in the run up to the festival.
What I’d like the festival element to be is something halfway between “professional” speed dating (where you have conversations with lots of people to find out a little about them rather than get a date) and a really nice dinner party with lots of little conversations you can drift between.
I’m hoping that goes someway to explaining what I think will happen. I’d love to know what people who’d potentially attend would like to see.
The greenbelt writers network will be meeting in The Hub on Friday the 26th August at 18:00.