Abi Hynes introduces the First Draft blog.
Well. Sort of.
To be honest I’d say we were out of vests but still in a training bra, hoping to graduate, at some point in the near future, to a heavily-padded AA Cup.
I could apologise for opening this blog with an extended boob-metaphor but, frankly, I think you should all just be grateful I’m not talking about tampons.
ANYWAY. We’ve been going for about a year and a half now, and First Draft has taken off in a way that we never really expected it to. This is thanks to the support and enthusiasm we’ve had from our fantastic audiences and wonderful performers, who keep on making those evenings every other month the highlight of my… well, every other month.
We’ve always kept ourselves pretty low-maintenance. You get away with that sort of thing when you’re called ‘First Draft’. So, up until now, we’ve made do with our Facebook page and our Twitter account and nothing else really, when it comes to putting ourselves ‘out there’. Word of mouth and the kind help of several other events that run alongside us in Manchester (such as Bad Language and Tales of Whatever) has brought an incredibly talented mix of performers to our stage: musicians, comedians, storytellers, actors, and writers of all shapes, sizes and genres. We’ve tried out a few different ways of doing things, and these days we usually like to pick a theme for our acts to respond to.
But, as we’ve grown, and seen more and more exciting work get its first airing at our events (That’s our only rule when you perform with us. We want to see new work – your work-in-progress – the thing you’re not quite sure about until you try it in front of a supportive audience) – we’ve wanted to find a way to showcase that work for a wider audience, and help performers and audiences to connect with each other between events.
The result is this blog. I hope it will grow up with us as we head towards that longed-for WonderBra. We’re still getting going, but there’s already some great stuff on here from some of our past performers. Spend some time, have a nosy, let us know what you think and how we could make it better.
We filmed our last event of 2013, No More Comfort Zone (Have A Very Merry Christmas), and we’ll be sharing videos of all acts who contributed to that event over the coming days and weeks here, so watch this space. In the meantime, have a look at how our last event played out:
Before I go, some introductions, for those of you who don’t know us.
There are lots of lovely people who have supported us since we started and who I’d love to thank, if I wasn’t afraid of leaving someone out and causing serious offence. So I’ll just introduce you to the team for now…
- Rachel Fernandez-Arias – Usually found at the back of the room working the sound desk. Rach is a director, photographer and musician (amongst other things) and is also responsible for most of the brilliant videos and photos of our events, with help from the talented Phil Benbow. She is on Twitter (@rachfa1), but you really want to follow her on Instagram. Me and she also run theatre and film company Faro Productions. And, yes, I’m sleeping with her.
- Abi Hynes – That’s me. You know me. I do some writing and some performing and stuff. You don’t really need any more rubbish about me, but you can follow my mildly irritating musings on Twitter: @AbiFaro
- Sonia Jalaly – She’s a big famous actor in London now, but she was the biggest brain behind First Draft and pops back to host or perform with us when she can. Follow her on Twitter: @SoniaJalaly
- Andrew Williamson – That lanky one up front. Goes by @androoi on Twitter. Andrew hosts most of our events and is also a rather good musician and actor. I made him wear a dress once. But that’s a story for another time.
- The Castle Hotel – We live here. Mostly. (We did once venture over to their sister venue, Gullivers, just over the road, which was jolly splendid too.)
Looking forward to seeing you all there at our next event, Show and Tell, on Monday 17 February! If you haven’t been to see us before, come and try us out. Think of it like taking our measurements in M&S.