Submit by 11th May for Issue 3 of Oxford Is My Home

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The submission window for Oxford Is My Home: the Lockdown Edition closes on 11th May. So if you’d like to be a part of this zine, where we capture all the perspectives on living through corona, then here’s all the ways you can get work to us.

Email us at oxfordismyhomezine@gmail.com

Ring us on 0800 0096754 and leave a message and we’ll transcribe your story or poem

Post your creations to Oxford is My Home, Makespace Oxford, 1 Aristotle Lane, OX2 6TP

Need some more inspiration?

I’ve created some writing prompts to help get the creative sparks flying. Check them out on the Oxford Poetry Library website – https://oxfordpoetrylibrary.wordpress.com/news-events/ where you’ll also find all the details for how you can send your work.

Here’s my favourite:

A Strange Conversation

For strange times, why not try a nonsense poem. Imagine you were interviewing a stranger about what it is like to live in self-isolation. Write down all the questions you might like to ask them. Then answer them yourself!

  1. Write down a list of 8 questions which you could ask someone to understand their experience of lockdown (we have some ideas to start you off).
  2. Answer each questions using exactly 8 words. If you fancy more of a challenge, rhyme your answers with an A, B, A, B, C, D, C, D structure.
  3. Now mix up each question with a different answer from your list.
  4. You can also try a different version where you remove all of the questions, and shape your poem just from the answers.

If you are with someone else you can also try this version.

  1. Each person writes the 8 questions they would like to ask.
  2. Swap your pages and answer the other person’s question using exactly 8 words.
  3. Then mix all the questions and answers up to create two zany poems.

The Covid-19 Quaranzine: Stories of ‘Home’ from Behind Closed Doors

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As a result of Covid-19, our homes have transformed. Bedrooms have become offices, living rooms have become classrooms, gardens have become gyms, and every house has become a cage of sorts.

Some people without a home have found one whilst others have been evicted, and many, many people live with the uncertainty of not being able to afford to keep theirs.

‘Oxford is My Home’ is a zine produced by Oxford Poetry Library and Open House which uses words and pictures to tell the hidden stories of housing and homelessness in Oxford and what it means to call this city ‘home’.

For our third issue, we want to know what #StayatHome looks like for you? How are you spending your days? Who are you with? Are you enjoying yourself? What are you worried about? What do you miss about being able to leave your home?

Submissions are now OPEN for contributions to the zine. You can submit poems, stories, pictures, comic strips, or any other creative reflection which you can figure out a way of getting to us.

You can:

– Email us at oxfordismyhomezine@gmail.com

–  Ring us on 0800 0096754 and leave a message and we’ll transcribe your story or poem

The deadline is 11 May.

Please keep written submissions within 500 words. For any questions contact oxfordismyhomezine@gmail.com

Stuck for inspiration? Why not try one of these easy exercises alone, or with others to get your creative juices flowing!

Writing a Poem

Start with the phrase ‘What happened today?’ and then keep writing non-stop for 3 minutes. Don’t think too hard about what you write because this is just to get started and see where your mind takes you. You don’t even need to try and make it like a poem. The only aim is to keep writing for the full 3 minutes.

Look back at what you wrote. Find one word, sentence or phrase that you particularly like. Could this be a start of a poem?

Explore your chosen words. Are there other words which mean something similar or the opposite? Does this word rhyme with anything else? This will lead you to the next line.

Try using all 5 senses – smell, touch, taste, sight and sound to bring your poem to life.

Remember: there are really no rules to what make a good poem. They might rhyme or they might not. They might be long or short. The most important thing is to enjoy writing!

Short Stories

Think about the experiences you have had when living in isolation – was there something funny, upsetting, uplifting or unexpected which happened to you?

Stories also allow us to explore alternative realities. Perhaps you would like to change what happened in real-life. Ask yourself ‘what else could have happened’ or ‘wouldn’t it be funny if’ and see if this changes where your story goes.

You can also try making up a character. What if your experience happened to someone completely different? Maybe they are a different age to you, a unique job, or have a personality flaw. What would they do differently in this situation?

A story only needs three things – a beginning, a middle, and an ending. What would be a good place to start and to end your story?

Life-Writing

This is where you simply write about what you are experiencing in your life now. These ideas might help to get started:

  • Write a letter to your future self – what would you like them to remember about what is happening right now?
  • Write a letter to an alien – imagine you are describing your situation to someone who has no knowledge of what is happening on Earth today

Interview Yourself. Imagine you were interviewing a stranger about what it is like to live in self-isolation. Write down all the questions you might like to ask them. Then answer them yourself!

Community Playmaker – I want to read your play!

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As Covid-19 closed the doors of Oxford Playhouse, they have opened their arms to the community.

I was fortunate enough to be one of six playwrights chosen for the 2020 ‘Playhouse Playmaker’ which is funded by the Oxford Playhouse. Our group meets once a month where we spend the day receiving tuition from playwright Clare Bayley, and then provide feedback on each other’s plays, which we’re each developing across the programme. Normally, we’d finish off by eating pizza, to fuel up before watching that night’s show at the Playhouse.

When Corona struck, things changed a bit. No more free pizza & theatre. Our sessions moved from the ‘Green Room’ to Skype. And, more importantly, we were able to give back to the Playhouse from the investment they’ve made in our careers.

The Community Playmaker is an opportunity for any budding playwright to send a script in & receive detailed feedback – some of which will be from me! I’m reading a script a week and loving being able to support other writers to develop their vision.

Alongside my fellow Playmakers, I’ve written a blog for anyone who is setting out to write their first play. You’ll find it on the Community Playmaker website here, where you can also learn about how you can get involved.

Happy writing folks!

After Aulis @ The Attic

Blog, Performances

In July 2017, Nia got her first full outing, performing to audiences in the fantastic fringe theatre space ‘The Attic’, in Stratford-Upon-Avon.

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Outside The Attic – Nia’s on the bill!

As it was new writing – and being round the corner from the RSC! – we knew we needed to work hard to bring people in. So, in the weeks running up the performance, we showcased teaser videos on social media, and then Emme and Rowena took to the Stratford streets to hand out flyers.

And it was well worth the sore feet and throats – with the biggest audiences for new writing that The Attic had ever seen!

At the end of the run, we were thrilled at our review in the Stratford Observer, which you can read here.

After each of the performances, we also asked the audiences for feedback. Here’s what they had to say:

“Wonderful script, amazing actress, playing 6 parts so clearly.  Funny, sad and soul searching.  A must-see”

“Heartbreaking and joyful. Thought it was beautifully written, directed and performed.”

“Go see it – brilliant performance!”

“A funny and moving portrayal of a 21st Century woman”

“Brilliant storytelling.  A journey through many emotions throughout.  Emmeline was fantastic.  Thank you.”

“Funny, sad and thought provoking – great actress, great writer”

“Rude, sad and mad.  After Aulis has it all!”

“An acerbic and absorbing contemporary take on an ancient Greek tragedy. Emmeline Braefield revels in her portrayal of the main protagonist: hilariously callous throughout, yet at times deeply compassionate; all the while playing an array of identifiable supporting characters in this must-see one-woman show. “

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Every leading lady deserves flowers!