Rib Davis has been writing since the late 1970s. His output of over 60 scripts includes plays for BBC radio, television and stage. No Further Cause for Concern, later made into a television play, won a Fringe First Award at the Edinburgh Festival. A former Artistic Director of the Living Archive, he particularly specialises in documentary theatre (Every Other Garden ‘Ad A Pit was commissioned for the D.H. Lawrence Centenary Festival). He has written 2 books on the art of writing, one of which, Writing Dialogue for Scripts, is now in its 3rd edition. As well as having worked as a theatre lecturer on the MA in Writing for Screen and Stage at Regents College, London, and delivering training courses for the British Library, he also regularly contributes to the MA writing courses at DeMontfort university. In recent years The Fight in the Dog was produced by Playing for Time theatre company in Winchester Prison and The Sword of Alex was presented at The White Bear theatre in London. He has now completed Miriam, exploring the representation of holocaust memories, written as as result of his Goodison Fellowship with National Life Stories.
Brian is an experienced playwright, theatre director and teacher. He is widely published as an author of educational and academic books, where his specialism is theatre of the early modern period. He has had ten plays commissioned and produced by professional companies, with four of them published in book form. His play for Border Crossings, Double Tongue, toured throughout the UK and Hungary. He has led theatre workshops in Austria, Greece, Hungary, Australia, Palestine, Jordan and The Lebanon, as well as in England. A Terrible Madness, premiered at the Helen McPherson Smith Theatre, Ballarat, Australia in October 2011. He was a Senior Lecturer in Theatre in the Department of Film, Theatre & Television at the University of Reading and was a Visiting Lecturer at Regents College, London, where he and Rib Davis taught theatre writing on the MA in Writing for Screen and Stage. His most recently produced plays, When Nobody Returns and This Flesh is Mine were co-produced by London-based Border Crossings and Ashtar Theatre of Ramallah, Palestine. This Flesh is Mine previewed in Ramallah and opened in London in May 2014. It was revived and ran in repertory alongside When Nobody Returns in London in Autumn 2016. The playtext of This Flesh is Mine is published by Oberon Books. Brian is currently working on a new play, Don’t Let Them Tell You Stories, which draws on his experiences working with Border Crossings on The Promised Land project.
Responses to other work by Rib Davis and Brian Woolland
“Brian and Rib are inspirational both as writers and as teachers, bringing out the best in new writers by encouraging them to tell their story in the way they want to tell it. Allowing them to ‘think out of the box’ and to experiment with words and space creatively. Working with professional actors to see what happens to words when they are lifted from the page was an invaluable experience that greatly added to the writer’s tool box. Gently eliciting the voice and talent of the individual while bestowing on them a sound knowledge of stage craft and giving them the confidence to write freely and imaginatively. I would not still be writing without them.”
Kim Hemmingway (theatre, television and film actress; founder member of Durban Players’ Repertory Theatre)
“Working with Brian and Rib, two very different but complementary characters, on the MAWSS course at the LSFMP, was an illuminating experience. Between them they filled the playwriting toolbox with the many and varied skills required to create imaginative theatre, and also inspired in me the belief that it was all eminently possible. Watching Brian working as a director with professional actors on new scripts showed that there are many ways to interpret writing. This can frequently reveal hidden depths to the work, of which the writer was unaware, but no less true for that.”
“In the course of studying for a Masters degree in Writing for Stage and Screen at Regents College, I had the pleasure of being tutored by both Brian and Rib. I found them extremely knowledgeable about the craft and highly skilled in communicating this knowledge. Needless to say, in a large part due to their efforts, I graduated very comfortably.”
“Brian is an insightful and perceptive tutor who, through his innovative use of actors to demonstrate multiple interpretations of characters and situations, really took my writing to a new level. Brian is a rare tutor: he helped me to see and excise the (many!) knots in my script with a forensic insightfulness that still left me enthused and inspired.”
“I felt I was spinning my wheels with my script after countless re-writes, when a session with Brian and his actors gave me the breakthrough I needed. Seeing scripts played out in several different ways helped me reconnect with the emotions driving my storyline, breathing fresh life into my work.”
“I need to know the feedback I’m getting is going to move my writing up a level. Brian was always quick to acknowledge my strengths whilst making sure I focused on the elements that needed work. I always came away a better and happier writer.”
Anne Gauton (screeenwriter, consultant and coach)
Of Rib Davis’ book Writing Dialogue for Scripts:
“An undisputed must-have for any student of writing.”
David Lane, Creative Writing Lecturer, City University
“The beguiling thing about this book is that it makes so much about dialogue so clear that the reader wonders why he or she hadn’t thought of it before. It is worth more than an entire shelf of the popular how-to-write books, because it makes us understand how and why people behave the way they do.”
Julian Friedmann, agent and editor of TwelvePoint (formerly Scriptwriter) magazine