Stage is set for Debbie

RICHARD BATSON When your name's Giggle and you live in “Happy's Burg” you ought to be able to pen a good comedy.

RICHARD BATSON

When your name's Giggle and you live in “Happy's Burg” you ought to be able to pen a good comedy.

And freelance writer Debbie Giggle has had a big breakthrough this week when her first major play was performed at a theatre festival.

Her emerging creative writing talents also see her scripting episodes for the daytime television drama Doctors.

And it comes as quite a contrast to her “day job” as a business writer, likely to be tackling technical, serious subjects such as manufacturing processes, buying energy or computer systems.

After 20 years in business journalism, however, Mrs Giggle - pronounced Jiggle - started “dabbling” with other kinds of writing.

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“I did a poetry workshop at the UEA, and was told what I was writing was dialogue rather than poetry - so I went to a scriptwriting workshop instead,” she explained.

The sessions at Norwich's Maddermarket Theatre included writing a black comedy play, called A Bed To Die For, about a terminally-ill woman trying to get her husband to stand on his own two feet, which was staged briefly in London to showcase the skills of a director.

But her big stage breakthrough came with inclusion in the Hotbed New Writing Festival in Cambridge this week. It featured her comedy - Doogie's Last Dance - a wry look at the lives and friendship of two male cruise ship dance teachers as they approach retirement.

Mrs Giggle said: “It's my first proper theatre commission - and my biggest breakthrough, for me as a relatively unknown writer.”

Debbie has also entered plays for the Windsor Fringe, where she was a finalist in a competition for amateur playwrights last year, and BBC talent competitions.

She had a test script accept by the Doctors soap, and has since written three episodes, two already shown in January and May, and another to be screened in October

Penning plays and TV scripts were completely different - with Doctors needing quick-fire scene changes, and Mrs Giggle having to veneer her own ideas on to the framework of storylines and character developments provided by the television show.

“You watch the show to keep up with the characters, but you can also be writing about new characters six months ahead who you haven't seen yet,” she added.

Mrs Giggle said she had also had help from Playwrights East and Screen East as she developed her writing career - but was continually learning her craft.

Her freelance lifestyle enabled her to juggle the various commitments, as well as running the family home at Happisburgh.

The mother-of-two admitted to particularly liking comedy writing and to have ambitions to write more for the stage, small screen - and maybe radio, with imminent talks with BBC Radio 4. But until “playtime” really takes off, she “won't give up the day job”- which means getting back down to business.

People seeking help in becoming a playwright can e-mail playwrights@easternangles.co.uk for more information.