Denise O'Leary
Playwright Novelist Actor

Dimitry Devdariani theatre director
Dimitry Devdariani theatre director

Denise the Playwright

Denise has written for both radio and stage


TRUST - shortlisted for the Verity Bargate Award and performed at the Brunei Gallery, London WC1

BOAT FOR SALE - ONE CAREFUL LADY OWNER performed by Mind the Gap Productions at the Stanford Meisner Theatre, New York, April 2008

THE HOMECOMING – performed by Mind the Gap Productions at the Stanford Meisner Theatre, New York, May 2009

PANDORA’S BOXES – Etcetera Theatre, London NW1 (part of Camden Fringe Festival 8th – 11th August 2011

PANDORA’S BOXES – Rosemary Branch Theatre N1 30th August – 17th September 2011

RUNNING OUT OF TIME - performed at the Phoenix Arts Centre, June 2012


PANDORA'S BOXES broadcast by Resonance 104.4 FM 2009


How to put on a play:

First you have to write it! Then you have to find a director who MUST be someone who believes in it. I was lucky in finding Dimitri Devderiani - I met him through my writers group Player Playwrights in London (if you don't belong to a writer's group find one and join - it is so worth while - you don't know what your words sounds like until you hear other people speek them. This is what Player Playwrights do - perform your play script in hand. The audience, a mix of writers and actors, then give you feed back. This in invaluable. You may think that your play is ready but it will inevitably need one or more rewrites.
Your next step is to find a venue. The Camden Fringe Festival is ideal. You pay £75 to register, choose the venue which is the one that best suits your needs - you are a playwright so choose one with a stage! I chose the Etcetera Theatre. I was given 4 slots at a cost of £125 with a share of the box office. So far so good.
BUT you then have to find your cast. The director should help you with this - he will have contacts or you can advertise on castingcallpro or similar. Actors are always looking to hone their craft and they only way that they can do this, is to ACT. They are usually happy to be in a play provided that it is a good one.
So now you have your play, your director, your venue and your cast. What comes next is the rehearsal stage. I would advise you to read over the script with the director first to make sure that he understands ALL of your words - one little misunderstanding can change the whole impact of your play. Then read over the play with the cast so that they too understand the meaning and the emotions involved in each and every one of your words. You have taken the trouble to cut out every single unnecessary word which means that every word in your play SHOULD be important.
You are then ready to start the rehearsal process. Dimitri is very exacting and precise in his methods, drawing out every conceivable demonstration of the actors understanding of their character. Dimitri is a genius. It is also the director's job to visualise what the audience will see on the stage - the symbiosis and the symmetry are paramount to giving a visual masterpiece.
Have as many rehearsals as you possibly can, if possible in the venue, but as this is not usually possible, choose a space that's similar in size - there is no point rehearsing in a huge church hall where movement can be as free as you like and then expect to take it to a small space where your actors will be falling over one another. Also, expect emotional turmoil both from yourself and your cast. It is not easy for you to see others speek your words in a way that you were perhaps not expecting, and it is not easy for actors to suddenly adopt the persona of a stranger. Have patience - it helps to have a calm director - Dimitri is very calm!
In the life of Pandora's Boxes, we have now been rehearsing for two weeks. That's not long but we waited for one of the actors to be available - Dimitri said that the success of a play is at least 50 per cent dependent on the cast. Be creative when you look for rehearsal space - we started in the Doghouse pub in Kennington in an airy bright upstairs room - as long as we spent money at the bar, the room was free. We also use a yoga/meditation centre which is also free - it can be very expensive to hire rehearsal rooms, so look for places that you would never normally consider. Tomorrow, and for the next three days we are using the Rosemary Branch Theatre where my play transfers to on August 30th.

Don't forget to publicise your play in any way that you can. I can't emphasise the importance of this - contact local papers, bloggers, theatre sites (online) and if you can, give out fliers. The more attention you can get for your play, the bigger the audience!



Dimitry Devdariani theatre director
Dimitry Devdariani theatre director