History


1998


Founder Kate Coleman returns from a trip to New York inspired by an American organisation, the 52nd Street Project. This is the beginning of a long and fruitful relationship. The Scene & Heard playwriting model is based on the work of 52nd Street Project which in turn was inspired by the work of Daniel Judah Sklar and his book Playmaking. The Project visit us in 2000 to perform A Midsummer Night’s Dream and again in 2001 to perform The Tempest. The two organisations diverge in their courses and style of productions over a number of years but the ethos remains the same – using playwriting as a mentoring tool to inspire young people and to boost their self-esteem.

1999


Sophie Boyack and Kate Coleman set up Scene & Heard. Ten children of Somers Town take part in our first ever course: Playmaking One. On April 16th the doors of Basil Jellicoe Hall open on In At The Deep End – The Very First Plays. A second Playmaking One course produces nine new plays performed in July as Blast From The Past. This production includes the plays Exploding Skinny Tomatoes and Frogs, Snails And A Baguette. In December a third production Dilemma And Doubt – The Problem Plays ends Scene & Heard’s first year.

2000


Replay, a new course offering children the chance to return to Scene & Heard for a second time, is introduced. The child playwrights create plays with a minor third character to be played by the same actor in each play. First is Duncan Milligan in Pigs Might Fly – The Impossible Plays. This is our first show at Theatro Technis. Children and adults from the 52nd Street Project in New York visit London and perform A Midsummer’s Night Dream at Theatro Technis. Boxes, Buses & Breakdowns – The Moving Plays result from a Playmaking One course. A second Replay production reaches Theatro Technis. Child playwrights create a dog, a smiley face, a dragon and an ordinary duck for actor Don Gilet as the third man in Brains In Your Feet – The Uncomfortable Plays.

2001



Scene & Heard launches a third course. Stage One gives children the chance to write and, for the first time, perform a short play to an invited audience. Playmaking One productions this year are Crash Bang Wallop – The Accidental Plays and Caught In The Headlights – The Unexpected Plays.  A fly named Youdamnflydiseaseratwithwings, the character with the longest name to date, appears in The Frog, The Fly And The Funeral. A Replay course produces E=MC2 – The Inexplicable Plays, featuring Kate Terence as the quick-change third character. Members of the 52ndStreet Project visit with their production of The Tempest. We now have 247 volunteers. Demand becomes so high for tickets for shows that a Sunday matinee performance is introduced.

2002

A record year for courses and productions. Stage One has its second outing in March. Two Playmaking One courses result in Cloak And Daggers – The Secretive Plays and Playing With Fire – The Risky Plays. Actor Dan Copeland takes on the multiple third characters in the Replay production Out Of The Shadows – The Revealing Plays and changes from an old pot of yellow paint to an Egyptian Queen to a Pritt stick, all in a couple of hours. One-on-One, a new course, gives children the chance to return for a fourth time and to perform in plays written for them by professional writers. In Tall Stories, Short Plays nine children take to the Theatro Technis stage alongside professional actors. Max Hill takes over as Chairman of the Board of Trustees, following in the footsteps of John Rush and Philip Ives.
 

2003

The year kicks off with a Stage One course followed by the first Scene & Heard sponsored walk. Replay produces Castles In The Air – The Dream Plays; Oliver Senton as third man plays nine characters from a butler to a brain to a pair of boxer shorts.  Our Playmaking One production is Tempers And Tantrums – The Explosive Plays.  Six child actors brave the stage for the One-on-One show Snapshot Sagas. All the shows are fully booked. A Playmaking One course scheduled for spring is cancelled due to lack of funds. Scene & Heard wins the Camden Good Citizen Award.

2004

A Playmaking One follows a Stage One weekend in February. In March we produce Life On Mars – The Unlikely Plays followed by Smoke And Mirrors – The Confusing Plays, also a Playmaking One production, in July.
For the first time Kate and Sophie hand over the teaching reins to a designated course teacher. In August children and volunteers perform New Dogs, Old Tricks; children play a basketball, a football sock, an oyster, a spy gadget, a dollar bill, a phone and a mathematical equation.  Replay finishes off the year with Sucking On Lemons – The Bitter Plays featuring ‘third man’ Selina Boyack.
Three Member Playwrights, Acai Duang-Arop, Thomas Gwyther and Kevin Pinto, create scripts for an animation project assisted by volunteer Kai Simmons as producer. The project is funded by Channel Four and the Arts Council. Tim Hope animates their plays and the films go out on national television under the title Minema Cinema. Click on the panel below to watch:

2005

There is a Stage One course and two Playmaking One courses, which produce Smooth Operators – The Charming Plays and Hotheads And Hooligans – The Impetuous Plays.  Actor Neil Edmond takes on the third characters in the Replay production Split Second Timing – The Decisive Plays. Children give him a skunk, a bee, a bent spoon, an elderly lady and a frozen chip to work with.

2006

A Stage One, a Playmaking One and a One-on-One course are all delivered. Playmaking One results in Chasing Your Tail – The Frantic Plays. The Madagascan Ocean, a hammer, a velvet tissue and a pole with a hook are among a typically imaginative cast of characters. The production is dedicated to Scene & Heard volunteer Lou Gish (1967-2006). Wise Youths, Callow Actors emerges from a One-on-One course.
A Playmaking One course is cancelled due to lack of funds.
Five Somers Town children write plays for radio starring Scene & Heard actors, produced by the BBC World Service as part of the Generation Next project.  The plays are broadcast to thousands worldwide (click on a play below to hear it on SoundCloud).
Scene & Heard also joins forces with writer Anthony Neilson to work on Home, the launch campaign for the National Theatre of Scotland.  Volunteer Oliver Senton facilitates children in creating a performance piece set in the Scottish Parliament. The piece was inspired by First Minister’s Questions, featuring Mr Fish ‘n’ Chips, the First Minister, and MSPs including Mr Break-get-Bones, complete with bandages and crutches.

Beauty And Death by Promi Chowdhury, aged 11
Featuring: Damian Lewis and Nina Wadia

Triumph Of The Heart by Robert Ricketts-Hagan, aged 12
Featuring: Selina Boyack and Danny Sapani

Stealing From One Ton Steel by Justin Tjia, aged 11
Featuring: Nigel Anthony and Neil Edmond

Meeting The Mother by Aliesha Pedro, aged 10
Featuring: Don Gilet and Jessica Stevenson

Duck Out by Arti Krasniqi, aged 10
Featuring: John Lightbody and Jeff Rawle

 

2007

Replay results in Pushing the Boat Out – The Extravagant Plays in which Giles Taylor makes ten appearances including one as the Mona Lisa complete with frame. Child actors perform in It Takes Two, a One-on-One production.  The course is taught by Rosalind (Roz) Paul, who also produces the shows for first time. Another Stage One course is followed by a Playmaking One course, again taught by Roz who then produces All Shook Up – The Unsettling Plays, which features a short hairy hiccup and Bob Bobblehead, a wobbly headed toy.
Administrator Simma Gershenson joins the staff at Scene & Heard.

2008

Four courses, four productions. Two Playmaking One courses produce Run For Your Life – The Dangerous Plays and Don’t Look Now – The Startling Plays introducing the characters of Jason Donovan’s suitcase and slug slime. A brand new fifth course, Playback, is piloted. Member Playwrights each create a character for themselves to play alongside an adult in a short scene. Professional writers write a response piece using the same two characters.  Child actors perform in Two Can Play At That Game, a One-on-One production. Scene & Heard appoints Roz Paul as Associate Artistic Director.

2009

A big year for Scene & Heard as we turn ten. Two Playmaking One courses produce Jumping For Joy – The Uplifting Plays and Jumping Off The Cliff – The Brave Plays, including the characters of an Abyssinian wolf, Swine Flu hand gel and the weather forecast.  A Replay course creates Make My Day – The Challenging Plays in which Jason Cheater transforms from a leaf blower to a bulldog, and a Nintendo charger to a palm tree.
Stage One gets a makeover to become an intensive weekend workshop course.
After ten wonderful years at the top Kate Coleman steps down as Director. Simma Gershenson also leaves and Jasmine Rowe joins the staff as full-time Administrator.
We mark our 10th anniversary at the Shaw Theatre with Celebration of the Imagination, a theatrical trip through the history of Scene & Heard. Children, volunteers, patrons, donors, staff, trustees and audience members all join together to celebrate our success. Ten young people representing Scene & Heard’s intake from 1999-2009 write a relay play with one character of their own invention and one they inherit from another playwright, with the ten plays performed by volunteers. Children and volunteers talk about what Scene & Heard means to them.  Everyone sings the new Scene & Heard Anniversary Anthem, which includes the name of all the productions to date, with music by Rebecca Thorn & Ronnie Paris and lyrics by Simon Grover.

2010

Playmaking One runs twice. Black Cats And Horseshoes – The Lucky Plays and Reach For The Stars – The Astronomical Plays are the result. The new playwrights invent an ice-skating pig, a no-flush chemical toilet and an elephant with an itchy bum, among others. Jenni Maitland takes on ten characters ranging from a first class stamp to a Chinese dragon for the Replay production Here, There And Everywhere.
Nine members perform plays written for them in That Makes Two of Us – the culmination of a One-on-One course.
After eleven amazing years at the helm, Sophie Boyack steps down as Director. Roz Paul becomes Artistic Director and Simma Gershenson returns, this time as Head of Development.
Scene & Heard makes a film. Gaby Szabo and Ben Tunningley join the Scene & Heard team and document the Summer 2010 Playmaking One course. They attend classes, the writing weekend, rehearsals and performances.  They interview children, parents, teachers and volunteers. The result is two beautiful films: a five-minute short to serve as a promo and a longer version to be both an archive and a celebration of the story of Scene & Heard.

Watch the full-length documentary on Youtube >>

2011

Two Playmaking One courses create Rant And Rave – The Bombastic Plays and Wading Through Treacle – The Sticky Plays. Stage One gives a new group of young people the chance to perform their own work.
HRH The Countess of Wessex attends the first night of the Replay production Twist And Turn – The Giddy Plays. Children create, among others, a cockroach Prime Minister, a paparazzi camera and an Albanian kidney for actor Simon Scardifield to bring to life.  The Countess delights in the children’s work and chats to them after their curtain call.
In a One-on-One production, Member Playwrights play an Oyster card, an evil frog and a trampolining competition in Doubling Up, a show written especially for them.  Our fifth course, Playback, returns for the first time since its pilot with Tall Tales for Two.
Max Hill QC steps down and Nick Gray takes over as Chairman of the Board of Trustees.
2011 turns into our Royal Year as Scene & Heard receives The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service in recognition of twelve years of work in Somers Town, of the legacy of Founders Kate Coleman and Sophie Boyack and of the dedication of Scene & Heard’s 450 volunteers. The Award is presented by Sir Ian Johnstone, the Deputy Lieutenant of Camden, in a ceremony at Theatro Technis, followed by big party at The Forge in Camden.

2012

In a Replay production Snakes And Ladders – The Playful Plays actress Sophie Russell plays ten roles including a gavel, a flu virus and a pair of Jimmy Choo shoes. Under The Mattress – The Secretive Plays tells of a pink marshmallow and a bald monkey created from a Playmaking One course. Eight Member Playwrights return in the Autumn to perform in the latest One-on-One show Two by Two. The year finishes with the Playmaking One production Upside Down – The Quirky Plays, in which the children create, among others, a babysitting pea pod with 4 peas, a Lynx Spray and a ginger guinea pig obsessed with Johnny Depp.
After three glorious years as Administrator, Jasmine Rowe leaves and long-time volunteer Kai Simmons becomes Office Manager. Scene & Heard launches the long-awaited Teachers’ Resource Pack, a series of lesson plans entitled Playwriting the Scene & Heard Way. The pack goes live on the Times Educational Supplement website in October, receiving 5-star reviews and hundreds of downloads in its first few months.
Find out more about the pack >>
At the Autumn Playmaking One production Scene & Heard launches a brand new range of merchandise to raise funds, including mugs, t-shirts, wristbands and tea towels.

2013


Hitting The Road – The Traveling Plays, our Replay production, features “the sublimely clownish and comically elongated Ben Moor” (Michael Coveney, WhatsOnStage) in a range of wacky characters. Two Playmaking One courses lead to Slick Tricks – The Flawless Plays and Best Foot Forward – The Bold Plays. We work with our older Member Playwrights on Stage One in the spring and with eight amazing young women on our Playback production Side by Side in the autumn.
Thanks to communication consultants Quietroom, we expand our merchandise range to include pens, pencils and sharpeners.  Lives in London 2012, a book of plays and short stories by MemberExif_JPEG_PICTURE Playwright Taseen Khan, is also on sale with proceeds generously donated to Scene & Heard.
Theatre trips to The Almeida and The South bank Centre keep us busy, as do our fundraising efforts.  We launch a Major Donor Campaign, Alan Park runs the Berlin Marathon, Samuel West hosts a pub quiz and Hugh Bonneville plays God in Spamalot.  Samuel and Hugh are joined by patrons Michael Sheen, Tom Goodman Hill, Max Hill, Anna Chancellor, Damian Lewis and Helen McCrory, who all attend shows and celebrate our successes in 2013.

2014


We celebrate fifteen amazing, successful and glorious years of Scene & Heard with a big birthday party for our volunteers. We produce a CD of some of the original songs, written by our Member Playwrights and sung by our actors. Come on Down to Somers Town – The Songs of Scene & Heard is testament to the skills of our fabulous composers.15th Birthday The multi-talented Morag Cross plays ten characters, including an emu police officer, a pink wig and a T. Rex, in our Replay production, Going For Gold – The Ambitious Plays. We run our Stage One workshop weekend in June. HRH The Countess of Wessex sees our work for the second time, attending our Summer Playmaking One show, Who Said That? -The Unnerving Plays. Our Autumn Playmaking One course results in Top Hat & Tails – The Well-Dressed Plays, and ten older Member Playwrights take to the stage in our One-on-One production in October, Perfect Pairings.