Rachel Cochrane has fancied herself as a scriptwriter for the past 11 years and has now set about producing her own work in radio play form and inflicting it (her words, not mine) upon an unsuspecting public. She also contributed a poem to I Am Woman’s first anthology.
Rachel runs her spoken word entertainment website listenupnorth.com as a creative entrepreneur but in truth the housekeeping is still a hell of a lot of money down (Shhh!)
What is your genre of writing & why?
Despite calling myself a writer, I genuinely find it difficult to be descriptive with words; I see stories in pictures and dialogue and so my natural inclination is to write drama mostly as film and radio plays with some stage plays.
What are your greatest influences?
I live in a village in Northumberland and being from a working class background, I love observing the middle class comedy of manners that exists within such communities.
Also being part of the village am-dram, I am influenced by Alan Aykbourn farces & I love the work of fellow Yorkshireman Alan Bennett which may explain why I enjoy writing monologues.
I have written and produced several radio plays and audio monologues to listen online or download. These include themes as diverse as windfarms & Alzheimer’s Disease (Tilting at Windmills), running a middle class brothel (Village Notes), domestic abuse (Oranges & Lemons) and the supernatural (Dolly’s House) available to buy as a download in 6 episodes.
You took the decision to start producing your own work. Can you tell us about this?
As with all writers, I found great difficulty in getting my work taken up and so with the advent of digital media, I decided to have a go at producing my own work as radio plays & putting them out on a dedicated website and available for an audience to hear.
After being accepted on a GLEAM, a creative entrepreneur scheme at Durham University Business School & a Digital City Fellowship at The Institute of Digital Innovation, I developed my spoken word entertainment website listenupnorth.com. This spoken word entertainment website showcases my own & other writers work in the spoken word form of drama, short stories, poetry, book extracts & interviews. So far I have uploaded to the site over 200 audio recordings by more than 60 writers.
Any regrets about doing this?
My own writing is no longer a priority and sometimes I long for the time prior to setting up the website when I had the luxury of spending my day as a writer and doing just that. But I realise that if I did return to how things were, then it is highly likely that I would also go back to consigning my finished works to the bookshelf, never to be brought to life.
However, I feel that I have learnt so many new skills setting up & running the website that the experience has been invaluable and a great confidence boost. I now also feel that my creativity does not just extend to a finished piece of writing but is also a way of thinking and solving problems as well as joining together in collaborations with different artistic people.
What are your current projects?
I recently wrote a series of 6 short films which together make up the story of Celia, Housewife 49ish. With actor Penny Lamport and Digital Media Specialist Shirley Anne Wood, we shot and released the first pilot episode and are developing Celia as her own character on Facebook (Celiatime), Twitter (@celiatime) and through her own blog www.celiatime.wordpress.com.
listenupnorth.com has also launched a spoof short story writing competition based around Celia. We are looking for highly romanticised tales in the style of our heroine Celia. We want everyone to have fun writing them and the winning entries will be read by Penny Lamport who plays Celia and uploaded as audio files for everyone to hear. Celia has even found some prize money from her housekeeping! Click here for short story competition details.