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3. Being ‘In the Room’? by Associate Artist Laura Turner

8 July 2024

The latest in a series of blog posts in which our Associate Artist Laura Turner shares her journey as an artist, past and present. Focusing on a different area of the industry each month, these blogs will shine a light on the artistic process and what life is like as a creative freelancer and an associate of a regional theatre. Laura is a playwright, screenwriter, actor and dramaturg from the East Midlands, passionate about exploring stories through a regional female lens to interrogate what it means to be empowered and independent in the world today.

Being ‘In The Room’?

I’ve had one of those rare months as a writer where I’ve been spending a lot of time with other people in rooms (as opposed to alone on my computer, which undeniably still makes up the majority of my time most months…). This has spurred lots of thoughts around creative processes and practices, that I thought it might be interesting to reflect on. Especially as a creative in the current climate, where so many of us have portfolio careers out of necessity – the need to produce, fund, market your own work as well as create – it feels like a real luxury to get to “just” write.

Research & Development

This month, I’ve had an early stage project in Research and Development, as well as a new adaptation for young audiences in rehearsals, meaning that I’ve been bouncing between different rooms, different collaborations and different headspaces. For a week, I was down in London, working with a gorgeous team of women on my new Fury Theatre project. We had a week’s R&D at Wilton’s Music Hall, working in their beautiful studio space (it really is – bare brick walls, Victorian fireplaces) to bring a new Neo-Victorian piece to life, so it really was the perfect, tonal space for the work.

Being in the room with a director, sound designer and five incredible actors was such a joy, and such an actively creative space to be. We were working on a specific set of scenes I’d written for an industry sharing at the end of the week, but in the end, the experience of being there with those collaborators was so informing to my ideas about the full piece, that I ended up starting to write a draft in the room. It’s rare that I’ll do this, wanting to stay in the moment of the piece we’re actually developing then and there. And it is always a delicate balance – there were of course times when it was important I shift my focus back to the here and now so I could be present and responsive in the room, and make the most of the things there are to learn when you’re seeing and hearing your words come to life off the page.

Collaboration and Co-Working

But I think the thing that struck me was the absolute luxury as a writer of actually being able to take that time to focus on your own process with the support of other collaborators around you. It puts me in mind of resources such as co-working sessions (like the Playhouse’s Amplify in-person co-working, which I absolutely recommend) where you get to be around other people’s creative energy. Not to make out that creatives are in any way energy vampires, but I do think we thrive together. We’re pack animals, and I certainly feel that when your own individual process and practice is supported by others being busy and proactive around you, it really helps everything to make sense.


Being in the rehearsal room up at Durham Gala, where my new production of Peter Pan and Wendy is being produced in the main house, has been a similarly helpful and supportive environment. I’ve been more present in the room in some ways, being reactive to what’s happening in the room and making rehearsal edits to the script, but it’s also been a great springboard for other ideas. Again, a reminder of how being in physical creative spaces puts you in a different headspace and for me, I often find it helps me to think creatively and actively. After all, storytelling is an innately active craft, and even more so when you’re writing for the stage, when the liveness of the eventual performance is built into the very life blood of the text. Being around others, in a place where the story is being brought to life, keeps this at the absolute forefront of your mind. Keeps things urgent, mindful, and real.

The next Amplify Co-Working Sessions are Wednesday 24th July, Friday 30th August and Wednesday 11th September, 10am – 5pm in Company. Find out more


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