PASTA is a bit of a mouthful (see what we did there?) and an indication of just what happens when you let an audience pick the name for a night. The power goes straight to their heads, someone comes up with ‘Poets And Story Tellers Assemble’, and the rest of the blighters vote for it. Sigh.
It started life at Wolverhampton’s Arena Theatre – and would very probably be happily living there still, if it weren’t for Covid-19 – and properly found its feet when we decided that each month the first half of the night would all feature work written on a particular theme, that theme being drawn at random from the suggestions made by audience members (do we never learn?) the previous month. From that moment on it’s been a runaway success. It’s quite wonderful, and unusual, to have the opportunity to listen to so much newly-written work all of which is responding to a single prompt.
With the Arena Theatre currently closed, we’ve been holding PASTA online in our Facebook group for the past few months, and it’s continued to flourish. Each month we receive a mixture of Youtube videos, Soundcloud files, and Word docs, all addressing the given theme, and we knit them together to create an engaging and enthralling event. We’re now faced with the delightful problem of having too many submissions each month, and – for everyone’s benefit – we’re making a couple of small tweaks to the event format, as follows….
From here on each PASTA event will have a maximum of twenty submissions. This will help us run the event to time (we aim to finish by 9.30pm) without rushing through the work we’ve been sent. Sometimes we’ve been posting a fresh piece of work every couple of minutes in order to get everything done, which doesn’t really allow anyone to focus properly on what’s been written before rushing along to the next post. It’s also a wee bit tricky to keep on top of.
Of these twenty submissions, a maximum of fourteen will be for the first half, responding to the chosen theme, while six will be reserved for a general open-mic in the second half. We also ask that no submission is longer than four minutes in length so that we can keep the night moving along. Our hope is that these adjustments will make PASTA an even tastier (yep, we did it there too) proposition than it is already.
And if all that has whetted your appetite (sorry!) the next helping of PASTA (no, we just can’t stop ourselves) will be on Tuesday 28th July at 7.30pm, and the theme for the first half is ‘childhood’. Submissions will need to be with us by midday on Sunday 26th, and we’ll do our best to ensure that folk who miss out one month get first dibs on the next. That all sound OK?
Oh, there’ll also be a special August PASTA. We’re discussing just what the format of that might be. So get ready to put penne to paper once we’ve worked it out.
Apologies for that last pun. We’ll get our coat.