We have a great community of amazing playwrights here at Theatrefolk that contribute to our collection of middle, and high school plays. We hope you’ll enjoy this peek behind the curtain as they share how they approach the creative process, how they overcome challenges, and what advice they have for young playwrights. Don’t forget to check out their work!
Meet Theatrefolk Playwright Bradley Hayward – the author of many popular plays including the play collection Sixteen in 10 Minutes or Less.
What was your first theatrical experience? How did it impact you?
I can’t remember the first time I sat down in a theatre to watch a play or musical, but I realize now the impact going to church had on me as a child. I especially loved going to weddings and would immediately come home from a wedding and try to recreate the ceremony at home. The music, the flowers, the vows. I would write it all down and then “direct” my cousins to act it all out. I suppose you could call these my earliest scripts.
Why do you write plays?
Due to a lack of arts education growing up, I took it upon myself to write and direct plays with my friends while in school. Some say I never outgrew my fascination with high school theatre, but I feel the opposite is true – that I grew into exactly what I was called to do. I am so proud of the work I do, and grateful for every day that my words become a catalyst for teenagers to express themselves. I have such respect for what young people have to say and doing what I can to help give them a voice is what makes my own voice even stronger.
What’s the most challenging part of writing a play?
This is an interesting question because now that I’ve written so many plays, the biggest challenge has become making sure that I don’t repeat myself. Not long ago I attended an evening of my plays and was shocked to find that both plays had a very similar structure, format, and rhythm. So that I don’t get bored, I’ve always tried to write in various genres (farce, absurd, drama, thriller, etc.). But the more plays I write, the more I find it difficult to come up with a new approach to a story.
How do you address/overcome those challenges?
I’ve taken to exploring more with contrast within in a story. What I mean by this, for example, is taking a serious story and looking for ways that I can make it funny. Or taking a comedy and seeing if I can make it scary. By combining two, or three, or four, or more, ideas into one, the final product is always unique.
What advice do you have for young writers struggling to finish a draft?
Write every single day. Even if it’s only for 5 minutes, this slowly adds up and eventually you will end up with a completed draft. And never give up on an idea! Keep writing until you hit the words “The End” and you’ll be surprised by what happens. Plus, it’s much better to have a completed draft with problems than no draft at all.
Read sample pages from Bradley Hayward's plays here!