Looking beyond the empty shelves and searching your library’s online catalogue could save play scriptsyou money and provide an enriching supplement to your diet of live theatre.

When the tutor on my dramatic writing course gave me a reading list of plays, I joined my local library hoping I’d find them there. A search of the shelves dedicated to play scripts produced only about 20 books however, which were either Shakespeare or study guides.  I found just one play to borrow that day. Before I began to despair, the library assistant sat at his computer and saved the day! He introduced me to the hidden and rich resource that is the County Store.

With a bit of typing, searching and a few clicks of the mouse, the assistant reserved four books of play scripts for me. These were duly delivered to my local library, with no charge (had he sourced them from another library the cost would have been 50p per book). When prompted by an email from the library, I went to pick up my books and found them on a special shelf, elastic banded together and labelled with my name. It was a super easy and convenient process that had saved me £36.00 (the price of the books would have cost me if I’d bought them from an online retailer). Result!

Since that first encounter with the County Store, I’ve searched it myself via the library’s online catalogue and I’ve ordered a further three collections of plays – two of these recommended this time by director Dawn Walton in her wonderful playwriting tutorial Dialogue and Subtext for the Bruntwood Prize. To date then, in total, I’ve “saved” £60.00. As I simply don’t have that money spare to spend on books, had it not been for the library I simply wouldn’t have had access to any of these marvellous texts:

Neighbourhood Watch by Alan Ayckbourn
Uncle Vanya, Scenes from Country Life in Four Acts
by Anton Chekov
Oleanna
by David Mamet
Crucible Play in Four Acts
by Arthur Miller
Plays 2: Softcops, Top Girls, Fen, Serious Money
by Caryl Churchill
The Cherry Orchard
by Anton Chekov
The Duchess of Malfi
by John Webster
Art
by Yasmina Reza

I thoroughly recommend that if you are an aspiring playwright, looking for plays to read as well as watch, you should explore your library’s storerooms. The works of great playwrights aren’t as likely to be on the shelves as the works of great authors  – but they are there, in county stores up and down the country just waiting to be discovered by you! So join and support your local library service and start exploring….