Don’t tempt the 14/48 Gods

Don’t jinx it. Don’t tempt fate. Don’t upset the 14/48 gods.

This is Peter Duncan. He was on Blue Peter too.

You’ve written a beautiful drama piece set in one room, you’ve written an over the top sci-fi opera, you want to direct a funny slapstick, you want to act in a physical theatre piece, you want to design a Jacobean horror, you want to play the music to Home and Away…

…whatever it is, don’t tell anyone. Everyone wants to enjoy 14/48 and everyone wants to do the best they can in the best play that everyone else can offer. The temptation – especially after day one when you’ve seen what the creative team can offer – is to say “I really want that /writer/director/prop/song and it would be terrible if I got play number 1/a musical/ a large cast.”

BUT DON’T. The 14/48 gods will be waiting and like the Colonel (in joke, sorry) they will be looking down and passing judgement. And they will frown on you. IN CAPTIAL LETTERS.

As I write this (desperately wanting tea but having to make do with flat Fanta, the worst kind of Fanta) seven writers are battling with doubt monkeys about their plays. Their theme? “Good fences make for good neighbours”. Maybe they’ve seen something today that has inspired them or maybe their play today worked/failed for what they intended and it’s now sitting on their shoulder whispering flirty advice.

But today is gone. For better or for worse you shake it off and everyone starts afresh at 9am tomorrow when seven directors will plunge in like Peter Duncan in Flash Gordon, fearing the worst but hoping for the best.

The first night zipped by with a typically eclectic mix but with recurring themes of gay couples, songs, and sex. Seeing dancing sperm chasing an egg whilst a slightly crazed medical professional sings about insemination is a difficult image to dislodge but a quiet drama featuring a chaste love story in the early 20th century, a child version of The Doctor, and a fatal rivalry in an old people’s home all vied for your attention.

So really, you can’t afford to miss the second night. The 14/48 gods will be working their magic and the big dogs get on the porch and bark loud. Join us, you won’t regret it.

It’s started…


I’ve never been to a school re-union but I tend to imagine the following:

1) Intense jealousy at that smug tit from Geography who has the mega job and family

2) Laughing at a teacher then finding they’ve died.

3) A really bad buffet

4) it not being as much fun as a 14/48 reunion.

Anyone that has ever met or endured my company will know I’m not prone to sunny whimsy or sentimental “awwwing” so you can take it as a genuine moment when I report that the start of 14/48 genuinely brings great joy.

Countless times last night as the whole creative team gathered at The Y you could hear people saying “it’s like coming home”, “OH MY GOD IT’S YOU!” and “It’s like getting back to family” as well as “when’s the keg being tapped?”

The theme was drawn – TIME TO HARVEST – and the 7 writers set to work writing 7 plays and this morning at 9am 7 directors did a lucky drip to get their script and then went to theatre for 10am to drawn out their cast. Some people have already taken advantage of the joy of the keg to give them a kick start to their process. The atmosphere is a mixture of excitement, tension, apprehension and energy. The virgins are quickly introduced and directors are a bees collecting the pollen of ideas and heading to their hive (rehearsal space) to make sweet honey plays.

There’s a buzz not just of friendship and camaraderie but a creative one as people take their scripts, suitcases, and ideas, knowing that for the next 48 odd hours they will be cracking on with doing what they love for no other reason than they love it. And there’s very little that can beat that feeling. Apart from a Virgin bringing you a fresh beer perhaps.

Overnight Writing

So we got a theme ‘Time To Harvest’ out of the hat. Had a meeting. Scared ourselves.
I got play #5. 4 women.
Not done no. 5 before but love writing women.
I’m not a fan of the ‘go with your first idea’ advice but as I swooped over the flyover on the drive home my idea landed in my head.
So I got home. Cup of tea. Cheese twist. Research. Notes. Writing.
It came out more easily than I expected.
I resisted that moment of thinking ‘This is crap. Start again.’ Stuck it out.
There seemed relatively little panicking on Twitter by co-writers.
Now I’m about to get out of bed & look at it again. Massively hoping I don’t find it IS crap.
Really excited to see the other bleary eyed writers bonded by peril.
Who is my director?
Who are my actors?
What will be for brekkie?
Key 14/48 questions.

The big reveal – who’s taking part in November’s 14/48!

Here it is! A list of lovely artists who are volunteering their time to make 14 plays in 48 hours this weekend…
(Those marked with a * are Virgins, taking part in the festival in this discipline for the first time… be nice to them!)

Stuart Reid
Ishi Khan-Jackson
Kirsty Munro
Jessica Richards
Neil May
Lily Portman
Allan Smith
Sareena Rai
Jenni Smith
Lesley Emery
Pamela Cole-Hudson
Nick Palmer*
Rob Throup*
Kirtsy Mealing*
Pete Glover*
Philip Kingsley-Elton*
Kierann Shah*
Emma J Bamford
Alex Thompson*
Charlotte Parker*
Diani Gatenby Davies*
Abby Grant*
Georgina Elsom
Jacky Bingley*
Jonny McClean*
Amy Christer
Therese Collins*

Lindsay Warnes Carroll
Andy McWilliam
Pattie Miles
Bob Christer*
Charlotte Bond
Wenna Stockdale
Paul Rogers

Alison Dunne
Will Breden*
Tricia Bracher*
Jerry Kraft
Louise Singleton
Yve Martin*
Honor Flaherty*

The Band
Doug Deans
Gemma Hextall
Angel Puljung*
Les Hayden*
Haydn Johnson
Steve Escott

Daisy Edwards
Holly Clothier
Lucy Stevens
Lucy Ovenall*
John Kirby
Jenny Cross
Kylie North
Fern Chubb*
Hannah Torrance*

Today There Are Just Jobs To Do

Ok, so you know what happens at 14/48, you’re ready, you know not to tempt The 14/48 Gods, if you’re on the artistic team you’ll have received an update saying what actors should bring, what writers should think about… all those items of underwear are slightly disturbing …


1448 Leicester Festival- Play- 'Sins . . .'- Maria Bragoli photo Like this is we have to …

but seriously, there are other ways ….

We’d like you to spread the word, share the love ….

If you’re on Facebook, let all your friends know about 14/48 … link them to this blog, or to the Facebook group. Let them know how damn GOOD it all is!

Get them to book tickets.

If you’re on Twitter make sure you’re following @1448Leicester and respond to challenges and retweet!

And best of all remember is Word of Mouth, tell your mates, tell your mum, persuade them to come because we want as many people as possible to see how brilliant this festival is.

The buzz is already great around 14/48 this time. Let’s make it bigger and buzzier ….

What is 14/48? A Beginner’s Guide

How do you tell people what 14/48 IS?

14/48 is like nothing else. …. That doesn’t help …

Here’s a handy guide for explaining it to people –

’14/48 is where 7 writers, 7 directors, a bunch of actors, designers, technicians, musicians & numerous others converge upon the Y Theatre to write, produce, score and put on 14 brand new plays in just 48 hours.’


And here’s what to say to people who might like to come and watch it:

‘It’s a brilliant, amazing energetic night of new theatre, twice. You’d be mad to miss it!’

More detail…

So much of it is random:

The themes are drawn out of a hat.

7 new plays on the first theme are written overnight on Thursday, the directors choose a play at random on Friday morning. The plays are cast by picking actors from the hat, the plays are then rehearsed, teched, scored during the day on Friday and put on in the evening, twice. Once at 8pm and again at 10.30pm.

Then in the interval the theme for Saturday is picked from the hat. Then the whole thing happens all over again with 7 MORE plays being put on, on Saturday night, at 8 and 10.30

It’s fast, exhilarating, hang onto your hat stuff.

Handy terminology:

The Keg:

It is 14/48 tradition that The Keg is tapped at the Thursday night meeting and is freely available to all participants for the next 48 hours.

Virgins & Veterans:

If you’ve never done 14/48 before you’re a Virgin. If you’ve done the festival in a certain role, you’re a Veteran. If you try a different role (changing from Director to Writer or Actor for example) you are born again as a Virgin.

Seans and Judys:

The actors names are all put into two receptacles. The women into the Judy Dench pot and the men into the Sean Connery pot and from here they are drawn each morning.


Bark With The Big Dogs: (see also Go Big or Go Home)

These are subtle motivational exhortations for everyone to put their all into the festival. ‘Bark With The Big Dogs Or Get Of The Fucken Porch’ being the best example.

But there are others… prepare yourself for these questions and answers at the daily 7pm meeting:

Question: “What does the 8pm show have?!” Answer: “opening night energy!”

Question: “What does the 10.30pm show have?!” Answer: “closing night energy!”

“Whose is the best play?” – everyone shouts theirs.

“If you’re feeling tired, raise the mother f***ing stakes”


Lunch is provided each day.

And FINALLY …. Don’t Tempt The 14/48 Gods!

They work in mysterious ways. Don’t tempt them, just don’t. Never say out loud that you do/don’t want to work with someone as generally you’ll get the opposite of what you wish for.