Rocliffe Curator Farah Abushwesha finds out why everyone is "Mad-about-Madden" at April's BAFTA Rocliffe New Writing Forum.
On Wednesday April 3rd, more than 250 people attended the latest BAFTA Rocliffe New Writing Forum. Co-hosted by special guest John Madden - highly acclaimed director of Shakespeare in Love, Mrs Brown, Captain Corelli's Mandolin, Proof, and the forthcoming feature Killshot - the phrase “Mad-about-Madden” was coined as writers, actors and audience alike were charmed by John's insightful and honest feedback on each of the three featured script extracts.
For an hour and a half prior to the start - and having never met as a company before - each company, comprising the hottest acting talent, the individual featured writers, and three of the UK's up-and-coming directors, furiously rehearsed with script in hand. Then, once the audience settled in, with all the excitement (and a little of the trepidation) of an opening night, the writers finally sat back and watched as their words were lifted by flawless performances, before receiving constructive feedback from John and comments from the floor.
Whilst John maintained a structured stance, some audience comments were more hard-hitting than others. The writers, however, took it on the chin, gaining more than enough food-for-thought to work on a redraft. The aim of the evening was to give the scripts a development workout that that would be interactive and productive: where everyone's opinion would count as long as it was constructive - and that's exactly what it was. The evening was topped off in fantastic fashion with the news that Back to Jack - one of the event’s featured scripts - was optioned that evening post-event by Element Pictures.
Drinks at the ready, the evening was rounded off by relaxed and friendly networking in the David Lean Room. With an enthusiastic crowd made up of the event’s audience, the actors, directors and writers, together with industry agents and producers, the evening proved again that the Rocliffe New Writing Forums are not just writer-orientated events, but are a must-attend-event for anyone – producers, agents, actors, writers and directors – with an interest in new talent.