We are very excited to announce the shortlist of writers for the inaugural Women’s Prize for Playwriting.
We were delighted to receive 1,169 submissions to the Prize. 70 plays were longlisted, and below are the 35 plays that have made it to the shortlist. We will be announcing the 6-8 finalists and winners in the autumn.
…blackbird hour by Babirye Bukilwa
A Rat, A Rat by Chloe Yates
Colostrum by Olivia Hennessy
Contact Centre by Victoria Barclay
Core by Jennifer Lunn
Deepa the Saint by Sonali Bhattacharyya
Everything Must Go by Caitlin McEwan
EZRA by Stella Green
Fly Home Butterfly by Tife Kusoro
Full English by Silva Semerciyan
Giddyup’s Way by Ciara Cassoni
happy sad virginia! By Deborah Acheampong
How the Dodo Died and Other Stories by Jenny Knotts
Kelp by Gaia Sorcha Fenn
Leaving Eden by Sophia Chetin-Leuner
My Brother’s Keeper by Kim Taylor
PARADISE STREET by Chinonyerem Odimba
Reasons You Should(n’t) Love Me by Amy Trigg
Red Sky at Night by Eve Leigh
Savage by Jane Bodie
Smethwick by Yolanda Mercy
Static by Saskia Livingstone
SUPER BLOOD WOLF MAN by Alice Allemano
The Credibility Assessment by Amanda Wilkin
THE ESTATE by Shaan Sahota
The Good People by Camilla Whitehill
The Sub-Let Next to Heaven by Madeleine Accalia
The Swell by Isley Lynn
The Virgins by Miriam Battye
This Might Not Be It by Sophia Leuner
We’ll Be Who We Are by Naomi Obeng
WHAT YOU DO WITH THE DEAD IS YOU BURY THEM by Selma Dimitrijevic
Paines Plough supports the call for transparency about who we workk with. Our statistics ahow that we need to work harder to ensure Paines Plough is representative of the audiences and artists we aim to reach. We have been acknowledging our history, reflecting on our present and focusing on striving for a more positive future.
THE STORIES WE TELL AND HOW WE TELL THEM
New writing is at the heart of Paines Plough. We want to challenge our own lens around the new plays we choose to produce and programme, as well as how we develop them. This will increase the breadth and improve the quality of the stories we tell. We will be diversifying our dramaturgy including providing professional development opportunities in the next 12 months focused on under-represented voices within this field.
WHERE WE SHARE THESE STORIES
As a national touring company we are often visitors in other people’s places and spaces. The environment we enter is often outside of our direct control. But we have not always worked well enough with our partners to ensure that between us we create environments for artists and audiences that afford everyone the safety and sense of belonging that they deserve. From now on we will createan anti-racism rider that’s a requirement of anyone we work with.
WHO SUPPORTS THESE STORIES TO BE HEARD
We are a small core team of 10. We are also a majoritively white team – historic and present. We will be looking at diversifying our core team. We will be addressing our recruitment practices to increase representation, eliminate barriers and enshrine values of inclusivity from the top down.
We will provide regular anti oppression trining and external facilitation on equality, access and inclusion for our core team – promoting collective responsibility for inclusivity.
As a charity, our board of trustees hold us to account. There is currently an imbalance in representation on our board with the current make up including 82% of board members identifying as white. Supported by our trustees in the next 18 months we will diversify our board to ensure there is a range of voices continuing to shape the future of Paines Plough and that is more representative of the audiences and artists we want to reach.
HOW WE MONITOR OUR OWN STORY
We will challenge how we monitor represntation by reviewing our data collection systems. We recognise that percentages do not tell a full story, nor do they account for the multiplicity of identities one individual can hold. We have been too passive in relying on box ticking set by external bodies to analyse who we work with and who we reach. We will be undertaking an immediate review of our equal opportunities form including at the very least, a space for an individual to write how they self-identify outside of ticking a box.
Pentabus is the nation’s rural theatre company. We are the only professional theatre company in the UK whose vision is singularly rural. We tour new plays about the contemporary rural world to new audiences in village halls, fields, festivals and theatres, telling stories with local relevance, plus national and international impact. We believe that every person living in an isolated rural community has a right to exceptional theatre. We are based on a farm in Shropshire, and to date all of our work has been made here. It then tours village halls and theatres locally and nationally. Over four and a half decades we’ve produced 172 new plays, reached over half a million audience members, won a prestigious South Bank Show award, a Fringe First and were the first to live stream from a village hall. We have hosted a writer in residence since 2014 and they have gone on to be commissioned by the Royal Court, Birmingham Rep, Royal Welsh College, Nottingham Playhouse and the Bush.
We are a champion for rural young people aged 16 to 25 and Pentabus Young Company is our new initiative offering workshops, masterclasses, work experience and mentorships, as well as the opportunity to join our Young Writers’ Group, which has been running for seven years.
Callum is an aspiring actor and playwright from the town of Ludlow (Shropshire). He is a member of the National Youth Theatre. His play SURVIVORS was performed at The Courtyard, Hereford, and The Hive, Shrewsbury, as part of Pentabus Rural Theatre Company’s young writers festival, INTO THE UNKNOWN in July 2019.
Jacob is a graduate of the 2013 Royal Court Young Writers Programme and the 2016/18 New Welsh Playwrights Programmes at the Sherman Theatre. His play BETWEEN ETERNITY AND TIME was produced at the RWCMD and the Gate Theatre, London, as part of RWCMD’s NEW:2019. Jacob’s other works have received rehearsed readings at the Sherman Theatre and Theatre503 and have been shortlisted for BBC Writersroom Scriptroom 8 and the 2016 Wales Drama Award, and longlisted for BBC Script Room Drama 2019, the 2017 Bruntwood Prize and the 2017 Papatango New Writing Prize. Jacob is the Associate Playwright at Chippy Lane Productions.
Kat Woods is a writer and director from Co. Fermanagh in N. Ireland. She has a particular interest in staging works that provide a platform for those from the Underclass/Benefit class background. Works that are representative of her community. Works that redefine the discourse surrounding the poverty stereotype. Kat is represented by Alex Rusher at Independent Talent and is published by Samuel French. Kat is an Associate Artist at The Pleasance Theatre London and an Associate Writer at Omnibus Theatre. She is a Royal Court/Kudos TV writers group alumnus. Kat is currently under commission with the MAC, Tinderbox Theatre and Abbey Theatre Dublin, and has been selected to take part in both this year’s BBC Writers Room and BBC Belfast Voices.
Kat’s work has been performed across the UK, Ireland, Finland and the USA including New York. Select credits include BELFAST BOY, WASTED, MULE AND KILLYMUCK. She is a three times recipient of the Peggy Ramsey award; an awardee of the Royal Literary Fund and her work has gauged critical acclaim winning The Stage award for Excellence and the Fringe review award for Outstanding Theatre.
Little John Nee
Little John Nee is a playwright, performer and musician based in the west of Ireland; he received an Irish Times Theatre Sound Design Award for SPARKPLUG and a Prix Italia Special Mention Award for the RTE radio version. Other plays include THE DERRY BOAT, JOHNNY PATTERSON THE SINGING IRISH CLOWN, RADIO ROSARIO AND TEA DANCE. He is currently working on a series of radio pieces THE JUMPIN’ INN and preparing for a tour of DONEGAL TILT OF THE SKY for Earagail Arts Festival. In 2016 he was elected to Aosdána, the state organisation that honours artists whose work has made an outstanding contribution to the arts in Ireland.
Olivia trained at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama first as a jazz vocalist and then on the Mmus Leadership course. Since then her practise has evolved to encompass theatre, solo and ensemble performance and creative facilitation. Over the last 10 years, she has lead creative workshops in a range of contexts from psychiatric units to abandoned cinemas, from orchestral halls to farms, in the U.K. and other places such as: India, West Africa, Indonesia, Singapore, Ireland and Bosnia. Her performances have been inspired by these experiences. Since moving to the Welsh borderlands 5 years ago, she has led a more settled life being more inspired by her immediate surroundings and a few major life events. Other than writing and performing, Olivia is the founder of Voice Yoga U.K.
Natasha Marshall (Writer/Performer) has always enjoyed performing from a young age. Natasha graduated from East15 Acting School in 2012. In 2014 and 2015 Natasha participated in the Royal Court Writers Group. In 2015/2016 she also did the SOHO Theatre’s Writers group, as well as SOHO Rising and Talawa Firsts. Natasha also enjoyed being apart of BBC Sketch Group, BBC Comedy Group and BBC New Voices during that time. Most recently Natasha has written a BLAP for Channel4 based on her play HALFBREED.
Tom Wentworth’s first short film THE REAL DEAL, produced by BBC Studios for BBC Four/BBC America will air later in 2020 for the CRIP TALES season, starring Liz Carr. As a playwright, Tom’s play BURKE AND HARE, recently had successful runs at The Watermill Theatre, Newbury and London’s Jermyn Street Theatre, and was described by The Sunday Times as ‘fast, fun and ever so slightly sick’.
Previously, his play BULLY received a bursary from MGC Futures and his play WINDY OLD FOSSILS (Pentabus) is published by Fair Acre Press. He’s currently under commission to Graeae Theatre Company, National Theatre Wales and his new cycle of monologues about falling are currently being supported by an Unlimited Micro Bursary. Tom is currently part of BBC Writersroom Access Group to develop disabled talent, and a formerly member of the Bush’s Emerging Writers Group
Yasmin Wilde Yasmin lives in North Cornwall with her family. She has been an actress and singer for thirty years, appearing in theatres all over the country and TV shows such as Silent Witness, Back, EastEnders and Holby City. She has always had a passion for writing, and is currently working on her second Musical THE NIGHTINGALE. She is currently on the RIFCO associates writers program.
COME TO WHERE I AM – Series 7: Cumbria, is in partnership with Theatre by the Lake, who are based in Cumbria. Theatre by the Lake has brought the magic of theatre and the excitement of the imagination to one of Britain’s loveliest and remotest counties. The theatre, hailed by The Independent as “the most beautifully located and friendly theatre in Britain”, opened in 1999. It is set a short stroll from Derwentwater on the edge of Keswick, amid the magnificent western fells of the Lake District. COME TO WHERE I AM Series 7 will be available to watch on our YouTube Channel from 7pm on Wednesday 01 July. We caught up with the writers this week and here’s what they had to say:
Please could you introduce yourself in a couple of sentences? I’m Daneka Etchells, I am an actor and writer and I am absolutely delighted to be part of this project about my home county! As an actor, I’ve worked with the Royal National Theatre, Northern Stage, Theatre by the Lake, CAST Doncaster, Northern Broadsides, The Customs House and most recently on feature film, set in the Lakes, Supernova due for release later this year. I’ve only recently came to playwriting, and this is my first professional play commission.
Where in Cumbria are you from? I am from Carlisle. I spent my childhood splitting my time between Carlisle and Caldbeck where my grandparents lived.
Could you tell me a bit about your writing journey? I’ve always loved stories. As a child I was obsessed with books and writing (still am!). However, my acting career took precedence for a while while I focussed on drama school and the first few years of working, before I came full circle back to writing alongside my career. As a teenager, I won the Young Film Critic of the Year award in association with BAFTA and had poetry published in national and international poetry magazines. I’ve written two one-act plays which are currently under development, and I’m attempting to collate lots of my poetry together into a collection.
What encouraged you to enter a submission for Come To Where I Am/ what attracted you this project? Working in the arts, stories about my home are very, very few and far between. I’m extremely proud to be Cumbrian and champion it whenever I can. I’m determined to ensure that my county is put properly on the map and has its identity heard. Plus, I’ve never heard of a play/tv show/film in my entire life set in Carlisle!
Could you tell us a bit about the process? We had to submit three drafts before filming the final reading, and on each draft we were given feedback from our designated dramaturg – mine was Charlotte Bennett, the co-AD of Paines Plough who’s been so supportive of the piece and its evolution. I spent a lot of time researching what exactly I wanted to write about. I did a lot of writing streams of consciousness, spending time looking through photos, and looking at what memories made up home for me. I also asked my family to mind-map their thoughts on Carlisle which was super useful, and we talked together about how we felt about the city. I then linked up my own thoughts, other thoughts, facts and its history and came up with the narrative I wrote.
What advice or tips do you have for other aspiring writers? A great way in is to write about what you know and what inspires you. It’s not hard to talk about what you’re passionate about; so instead of saying the words out loud, speak them to your keyboard or your pen instead. Don’t be too harsh on yourself either, treat yourself with kindness and love. The process is gruelling but extremely rewarding; and your voice deserves to be heard.This comes easier to some more than others, I myself am dyslexic, but the same things that can be challenging, are also a gift. Discover what works for you, everyone’s processes are completely unique, as *you* are. Have those conversations with people on the train, ask people about their lives, watch anything you can, people watch… And read read READ.
Please could you introduce yourself ? My name is Imogen Barnfather, I live in Cockermouth.
Could you tell me a bit about your writing journey? I began writing at seventeen, forming ‘Wyldwood Theatre Company’ with friends. Over three years we produced six plays, and it was a beautiful adventure. Somewhere along the way, I realised I was entirely addicted to sewing costumes at ridiculous hours of the morning and wholly in love with the process of watching my writing grow into theatre. I couldn’t imagine living my life any other way, so I decided to start a new journey and made steps towards founding a travelling theatre company; ‘Wayfarers Theatre’. So far this hasn’t exactly gone to plan, with some impressive hiccups cropping up along the way, but I am by no means deterred, and I eagerly await the day I can officially get things off the ground.
What encouraged you to enter a submission for Come To Where I Am/ what attracted you this project? Recently I have had a rather hefty dose of writer’s block, so I was quite surprised when I found myself tapping away at my submission for ‘Come to Where I am’. I was inspired by the idea of writing about the place I call home; I grew up in the Embleton Valley and I can’t imagine living anywhere very far from the North Lakes. (I’ve also always been rather in awe of Theatre by the Lake, so the idea of sending them a submission was very appealing). My piece is inspired by a very moving encounter I had while working in a Keswick café, ‘Daisy’ has already made her way into the first draft of a script but this project has been an opportunity to present a more in-depth exploration of the event.
What advice or tips do you have for other aspiring writers? If I have any advice for other aspiring writers, particularly those who are struggling to put pen to paper, it’s to not give up. Even if you’re feeling uninspired, or life just keeps getting in the way, think of if it as space to think, to breath. You never know when you might stumble upon something that sparks a new idea or rekindles an old one. The most important thing is at no point should you stop considering yourself to be a writer!
Please could you introduce yourself in a couple of sentences? Hi! I’m Matt. I’m a writer (mostly a poet) from Cumbria, sometimes living in Birmingham. I also do odd bits of activism. I’m 19 years old.
Where in Cumbria are you from? I’m from Kirkby Lonsdale, but my family have farmed around Crooklands for generations.
Could you tell me a bit about your writing journey? I spent a long time failing to write novels, then changed to failing to write poems. Eventually I started failing a little less. I managed to perform in Parliament, write a play, do a TEDx Talk and win the National Youth Slam Championships in 2018, as well as (somehow) passing my A Levels last year. Today I’m studying at the University of Birmingham.
What encouraged you to enter a submission for Come To Where I Am/ what attracted you this project?Leaving Cumbria for University really got me thinking about my relationship to the area I grew up. I thought the project would be a great way to explore my relationship TO the physical and political landscape from which I grew, and the people who made me who I am.
Could you tell us a bit about the process? The process was really rewarding because I got to find out lots about my family farm and my grandparent’s story. I asked them to give me a tour of the farm, telling me the memories they had of the different buildings. Having these conversations, recording their voices and listening to them was very eye opening.
What advice or tips do you have for other aspiring writers? Introduce yourself as a writer. Put the work in. Put work out. Play nice.
Please could you introduce yourself in a couple of sentences? Hi, I’m Nina, I’m 27 and I’m a writer from Cumbria. I have a passion for physics which plays a large part in inspiring the stories I chose to write and I’m also really interested in exploring the relationships between people and place.
Where in Cumbria are you from? I grew up in Dubwath near Bassenthwaite Lake but I currently live in Blindcrake.
Could you tell me a bit about your writing journey? Alongside studying for my degree in English Literature and Creative Writing at Northumbria University I worked front of house at Live Theatre in Newcastle which very quickly became like a second home to me. I’d always loved theatre and grew up watching plays at Theatre by the Lake (which, growing up in such a rural place I was very lucky to have access to) but at that point it never even occurred to me that you could write for a living. There was something about working at Live, the people, the place, the stories that unfolded on stage, there were no rules to it, theatre could do, be or say anything, the possibilities were endless and the whole experience of it really got under my skin. I started blogging for the theatre and I signed up for their Introduction to Playwriting Course. From there I started writing comedy sketches for Mixtape Theatre and short plays for Live. It was around the time that I graduated that Graeme Thompson became Creative Producer and their Live Lab program launched featuring further opportunities for emerging local writers, actors and directors. Graeme and the rest of the creative team were enormously encouraging of me which really helped with my confidence and gave me the courage to stay in Newcastle and keep writing. In 2016 I became an associate artist of the theatre which led to my first full length commission. The play The Terminal Velocity of Snowflakes is a quantum love story about growing up and finding a singularity among infinity. Graeme and Max Roberts, Artists Director at that time had championed the idea from its inception and I worked closely with Graeme as dramaturg and director of the play. As an emerging artist it’s so important to find people who believe in you and the stories you want to tell so I was incredibly lucky to find that so early in my career. The play returned in 2017 following a sold out run and a five star Guardian review and led to me signing with Independent Talent. Since then I’ve been a resident writer in Oxford and Denmark and I’m currently adapting The Terminal Velocity of Snowflakes to screen with support from the BFI Network and Lunar Lander Productions as well as working on another commission for Live.
What encouraged you to enter a submission for Come To Where I Am/ what attracted you this project? Writing for Theatre by the Lake and Paines Plough have been part of my ambitions since I first began writing, they’ve both played a huge part in inspiring my journey as a writer so it was brilliant to see a collaboration between the two of them. As I mentioned earlier, I’ve always had a fascination with the relationship between people and place so naturally it was a project I gravitated towards. It was also amazing to see how theatre’s have adapted so quickly to the world we’re currently living in and the outreach program alongside the CTWIA project was something that I felt really passionately about, it’s a way to keep theatre live, intimate and most importantly provide culture for those who are digitally isolated and unable to access theatre online.
Could you tell us a bit about the process? I tend to free-write first thing in the morning, sometimes it’s related to a project, theme or idea, sometimes it’s just whatever’s going on in my head or in my eyeline and at the time of being commissioned I’d already found myself writing about my immediate surroundings and close proximity with nature. I then started writing the outlines of memories I have of growing up which are punctuated by the landscape and combined them with a picture of my physical surroundings of home in the present in Blindcrake. I have a natural tendency to view certain human situations through a scientific lens which I owe to my dad and that’s where the overriding themes of chemistry and creation came from. I’d say the piece is an amalgamation of real life experience, emotion and fiction condensed into a short period of time. I’m also lucky to have been in lockdown with my brother Jack who is an aspiring director and filmmaker so credit for the recording and editing process goes straight to him!
What advice or tips do you have for other aspiring writers? Write the stories that only you can write. Most writers want their work to be universal and appeal to the majority, that’s natural but sometimes I think it’s only by being so specific that you can achieve universality. I think writing, acting or directing, any creative process really, requires a certain amount of vulnerability which can be terrifying even at the best of times but there’s also strength and a power in allowing yourself to be vulnerable. The short winded version of that would be FEEL THE FEAR AND DO IT ANYWAY. Collaborate and share your writing with the people you trust the most because they are almost always the people who will keep on believing in you even when you don’t believe in yourself.
Paines Plough set up a Small Scale Touring Network in 2018 – a network of 30+ venues across the UK to which we tour a production every year. In 2018 we toured Anna Jordan’s POP MUSIC, and in 2019 we took Zia Ahmed’s I WANNA BE YOURS on tour cross-country.
This project aims to strengthen and broaden connections between touring companies and small scale venues. It will also form the beginning of a conversation between established and emerging touring companies from which we all hope to learn from you what better support we can provide over the coming months / year.
How it will work:
STAGE ONE: On Friday 19 June 2pm – 3.30pm:
Paines Plough and ETT will co-facilitate a Zoom session sharing some of the useful discussions they have been having with the NPO touring network and hear from emerging companies. This will form the basis of the discussion the following week.
STAGE TWO:Wednesday 24 June 3pm – 4.30pm:
We will then invite attendees to join a Zoom with representatives from established touring companies, where we will facilitate breakout rooms for discussion around more specific topics on the future of touring theatre.
STAGE THREE: Attendees will then be able to share details, plans and work with Paines Plough’s network of 30+ small-scale venues across the UK.
If this all sounds up your street, then please fill out this form.
COME TO WHERE I AM – Series 4: Peterborough, is in partnership with Eastern Angles Theatre Company, who are based in Ipswich and Peterborough. Their mission is to provide high quality theatre, maintain and promote regional identity, tour to theatre, non-theatre and community venues, and to develop and produce new and original work. COME TO WHERE I AM Series 4 will be available to watch on our YouTube Channel from 7pm on Wednesday 10 June. The writers are:
Aisha Zia Aisha Zia is an award-winning playwright from Peterborough, former resident artist at Somerset House Studios in London and Theatre 503’s 503Five alumni. She has toured site- specific plays across the UK having had huge success with her plays NO GUTS, NO HEART, NO GLORY (Winner of Scotsman Fringe First Award, shortlisted for the Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Awards) and OUR GLASS HOUSE (Winner of the Special Commendation from Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Awards) with Common Wealth. Aisha’s work engages young and diverse participants across the UK. Her work is dedicated to non-theatre audiences and has a strong proven track record of working in communities to deliver high-quality artistic work, using her unique approach to testimonial theatre. She is interested in real people and real stories that impact our lives today. Her work with Good Chance Theatre led her to set up a new art gallery and social platform in Peterborough, 62 Gladstone Street, showcasing the work of British Muslim artists to explore the themes of a new piece of work she will be presenting at the HighTide Festival in 2021. Currently under commission from Contact Theatre in Manchester, Aisha is also developing new work with Fuel in London and Ripe Time in New York. As well as conceiving original ideas for theatre, film and TV, Aisha also works as a freelance photo editor for the Financial Times and the New Statesman, having previously worked for The Independent and Reuters.
Phil Ormrod Phil is a playwright and screenwriter. He originally trained as a director at LAMDA and the NT Studio, before working at Northern Stage on an RTYDS Bursary. Theatre credits include ISAAC CAME HOME FROM THE MOUNTAIN (Theatre 503), EXILES (Alpine Fellowship), LUCY AND THE HAWK (Northern Stage/Ovalhouse) and MARY WHITEHOUSE LOOKS DOWN FROM WHEREVER (CPT). He is currently developing an original series with STV.
Clare Currie Peterborough Poet Laureate 2017-19, Clare Currie is an associate artist of Jumped Up Theatre and a founding member of Syntax Poetry Festival. Clare’s work ranges from writing for and performing at events to facilitating workshops and writing for the stage. She was writer-in-residence at Metal Southend, performing there as part of the Essex Book Festival. She has been a judge in the poetry section of the Young Muslim Writers Awards and has performed alongside artists such as Ross Sutherland and Carmina Masoliver. Clare has worked on a number of theatre projects, including pieces for Eastern Angles and Jumped Up Theatre, in collaboration with Battersea Arts, and was awarded Arts Council funding to develop her creative practice, developing a solo theatre piece, COLD SNAP, which was previewed at Cambridge Junction. Clare’s writing has been described as image-packed and lyrical and often centres on the visceral nature of being embodied as a female.
Marianne Habeshaw Marianne Habeshaw is a Teaching Assistant and Poet/Playwright from Hackney (London) and is originally from Peterborough. Marianne’s poem REFUSING TEA is published on the LADA SOMETHING OTHER website. Marianne wrote the play SNOWFLAKES IN THE SLOWCOOKER with ‘Eastern Angles Young Writers’ group in June 2019.
Introducing the writers behind Series 3: Sheffield, presented by Paines Plough and Sheffield Theatres, which will be available to watch on our YouTube Channel from 7pm on Wednesday 3 June:
Chris Bush is an award-winning playwright, lyricist and theatre maker, and Artistic Associate at Sheffield Theatres. Past work includes FAUSTUS: THAT DAMNED WOMAN (Headlong/Lyric Hammersmith/Birmingham Rep), THE ASSASSINATION OF KATIE HOPKINS (Theatr Clwyd), PERICLES (National Theatre: Olivier), THE CHANGING ROOM (NT Connections), and STEEL (Sheffield Theatres). Her hit musical STANDING AT THE SKY’S EDGE returns to the Crucible this Christmas before transferring to the Olivier in 2021.
Ella is a writer and artist with a background in contemporary performance and verbatim theatre. Ella has recently completed her MA in Theatre and Performance at the University of Sheffield, she is a previous resident artist with Theatre Delicatessen, and she is currently part of Sheffield Theatre’s Bank cohort of supported artists.
John is currently one of six writers on a year-long development program with Sheffield Theatres’ artist support scheme. His writing background is primarily in theatre, most often working with Slung Low Theatre Company with work performed at the Crucible Studio, The Lowry, Barbican and Singapore Arts Festival. He has also developed narratives for browser games and other digital amusements and, by day, works as a scriptreader for a number of TV and Film production companies.
Kat started as an actor working for Northern Broadsides, Shakespeare’s Globe, Hull Truck, York Theatre Royal. Born and based in Bradford Kat works on a slate of projects and ideas across film, theatre and television. She made it to the final 4% of 2019 BBC Writers Room for Drama and the Top 10 in BAFTA Rocliffe TV Drama. Her show THE CROSSLEYS is in development with Rockerdale Studios. Kat is the writer in Residence at Sneaky Experience (experiential theatre & cinema). Out of Joint workshopped her play £1 Thursdays. The Bronte Society commissioned her co-written play JANE HAIR. She is currently working on a commissioned audio series with Audible as well as MyDG, online content with BBC Children’s. Kat was commissioned by Shakespeare’s Globe to write and perform her monologue APHRA BEHN and her play Pick and Mix is in development with Freedom studios. Kat is currently on The Bank at Sheffield Theatres, a 14-strong cohort of writers, directors and producers who are supported and mentored by the theatres. In 2020, Kat was announced as the inaugural winner of the Kay Mellor Fellowship, giving her the unique opportunity to develop a stage play at Leeds Playhouse and a TV project at Rollem Productions. She is also currently on the BBC Writersroom Northern Voices, a year-long development programme with the BBC.
Laura is a writer, actor and theatre-maker based in Sheffield. Since graduating from actor-training in 2010, she has worked extensively on new writing and devised productions. Laura wrote and produced two full-length plays, HIDDEN (2013) and PARALLEL (2016), which toured nationally to studio theatres. She was selected for the inaugural cohort of Sheffield Theatres’ Artist Development Scheme – The Bank – and is currently developing her third play, entitledJUST. As an avid fan of Paines Plough’s work, she is thrilled to be working on this commission alongside the company.
Tim is a writer, performer, and director from Sheffield. His writing often explores mental illness and trauma, using a funny and intimate approach to make it safe for the audience.His work includes Arts Council England-supported APOCALYPSE OF THE MIND (DINA Venue 2017) and NOT YOUR KIND OF TRAUMA (UnShut Festival 2019). He’s currently working on IT’S OK TO BE NAKED (Festival of the Mind 2020). He’s been supported and mentored by Theatre Delicatessen Sheffield, Third Angel, and Forced Entertainment, and is part of the writer’s strand of Sheffield Theatres’ supported artist scheme, the Bank.
Todd is a Sheffield-born actor & writer, who trained at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, and has worked at theatres including Bristol Old Vic, Cheltenham Everyman, Hull Truck, the Finborough, Eastern Angles and the Polka, and has worked as a voice actor for the BBC, in a Doctor Who episode with Big Finish, and in commercials for Twitter UK and Anthony Nolan. His first play was long listed for the Papatango Prize 2018, and he is currently a supported writer on The Bank at Sheffield Theatres, a 14-strong cohort of writers, directors and producers.
Introducing the writers behind Series 2: Newcastle, presented by Paines Plough and Open Clasp Theatre Company, which will be available to watch on our YouTube Channel from 7pm on Wednesday 27 May:
Christina is an actor and writer. She co-directed and dramaturged CHILDREN OF THE NIGHT , written by Lee Mattinson, which was due to open at Live Theatre this year. She has previously performed in Open Clasp’s productions of KEY CHANGE and RATTLE SNAKE.
Abigail is an actor and writer. She and her mum performed in Open Clasp’s production of DON’T FORGET THE BIRDS. You can read more about that production here.
Kay is is a 20-year old hip hop artist rapper from Tyneside in Newcastle. She is devoted to youth work in her local community. You can check her out here.
Charlotte is a new writer and recently returned to her home town after leaving home at a young age. She attended a Writing for Social Change Masterclass at Newcastle University with Open Clasp Artistic Director and Writer, Catrina McHugh MBE. Open Clasp knew she had a passionate voice and a story to tell.
ABOUT OPEN CLASP:
Open Clasp’s aim is to Change the World, One Play at a Time by placing theatre at the heart of transforming the lives of disadvantaged women and girls. Open Clasp are an award-winning women’s theatre company and a leading force in the North of England with a national and international reach. They make truthful and risk-taking work informed by the lived experiences of women disenfranchised in theatre and society, those from minority communities and women affected by the criminal justice system.
Open Clasp are proud to support new and emerging female writers from Newcastle-upon-Tyne. For 22 years, they have been rooted in their community, creating the best theatre they can to make social and cultural change a reality. They are excited for audiences to hear female voices from the city they all love as they share their stories about the place they call home.
As theatres around the world were forced to close their doors in March, Open Clasp Theatre Company’s award-winning prison drama Key Change was made available to watch online for free. Devised with women in HMP Low Newton to tour to male prisons, critically-acclaimed Key Change carries their voices over the razor wire in a raw, illuminating and very funny portrayal of women in prison.
“In these uncertain times, it’s more important than ever for us to find ways to connect – with our audiences, partners and the women we’ve worked with for more than 20 years. We’ve seen first-hand the power of theatre to bring people together and make change happen, so it’s more important than ever that we continue to reach out to those who need our support most in these unsettling times, even if it’s digitally rather than physically.”Catrina McHugh MBE, Artistic Director and Writer of Key Change
In partnership with theatres across the UK, we have already commissioned 30+ new short plays from writers about the places they call home and their relationship to home at this time. These will be shared with you as visual-audio pieces and then performed at our partner venues when they reopen.
The self-filmed pieces, from a different part of the country each week, will be available on our YouTube channel with a request for donations.
All donations made to this project will go directly towards employing writers to deliver more excellent new writing during COVID-19.
Please consider donating anything you can afford to this very important cause. We need to keep telling stories.
Today we’re excited to announce new digital projects, connecting you with new work from national and international playwrights.
With freedom of travel currently restricted, we hope you will join us in experiencing the different places people call home, across counties and countries in isolation.
COME TO WHERE I AM
In response to a rapidly changing world, where all touring and live performance is currently on hiatus, we are launching COME TO WHERE I AM – that’s right, a spin-off of our flagship project COME TO WHERE I’M FROM.
In partnership with theatres across the UK, we have commissioned 30 new short plays from writers about the places they call home and their relationship to home at this time will be shared with you as visual-audio pieces and then performed at our partner venues when they reopen.
All of the new plays will be made available online and, for certain groups who may find it more difficult or even impossible to access digital content, we are offering a caller service – live readings of the plays over the phone, allowing people with little or no online access to experience these plays. We are working with some exciting TV celebs to provide this caller service including David Bradley, Julie Hesmondhalgh, Lisa Hammond andSally Dynevor – with more still to be announced.
THE PLACE I CALL HOME
Our second digital initiative we’re launching today (and a further spin-off of COME TO WHERE I’M FROM) is THE PLACE I CALL HOME, a brand-new programme connecting international writers to create new work together, in isolation, across borders.
Presented in collaboration with theatres across Europe, two writers will be paired up to co-author a new bilingual play about the place they call home. These plays will then be realised with digital artist collaborators, performed by British Drama school students who have had projects postponed and shared across digital platforms.
Partnerships so far:
· Theatre Dortmund (Germany), with German playwright Calle Fuhr (INTO THE STARS) and UK playwright Dipo Baruwa-Etti (AN UNFINISHED MAN)
· Theatr Ludowy (Krakow) with Polish playwright Magda Węgrzyn and UK writer Travis Alabanza (BURGERZ)
· Elsinor Theatre Milan (Italy) with Italian playwright Giuditta Mingucci (I WISH) from and UK playwright Rosie MacPherson (WHERE WE BEGAN), in partnership with Yorkshire-based company Stand and Be Counted (the UK’s first Theatre Company of Sanctuary)
TRAINEE DIRECTOR: Kaleya Baxe
Kaleya Baxe is a writer, director and facilitator whose directorial debut play PATRICIA GETS READY (FOR A DATE WITH THE MAN THAT USED TO HIT HER) had a sold out run at The White Bear and won the VAULT Festival Show Of The Week Award. As well as working on outreach projects with the Young Vic, Kiln and Arcola Theatre, she has directed short pieces at leading fringe venues such as The Bunker, Theatre503 and the Roundhouse. Her most recent project was WRITTEN by Alex Cooke, a new play that toured to schools, pupil referral units and other youth settings.
BIG ROOM PLAYWRIGHT FELLOW: Vickie Donoghue
Vickie is a playwright and writer for TV and radio.
Her debut full-length play, MUDLARKS, was developed through High Tide’s Escalator Programme and produced by The Bush, following its premiere at the 2012 High Tide Festival. The play garnered wide spread critical acclaim. In Lyn Gardner’s words the play ‘sings with promise’ and Libby Purves described it as ‘stunning… unforgettable’.
Vickie has also collaborated with Theatre Royal Portsmouth, the Mercury Theatre, the Royal Court and Paines Plough as a writer-on-attachment. Her work is published by Methuen Drama.
Other work includes THE GIFT, for BBC Radio 4 and she is currently working on an original series with Natalie Mitchell, THE PIPER, for BBC Sounds.
Introducing a new PLAYWRIGHT BURSARY: Ric Renton
Ric Renton is an actor and writer. He recently finished his debut play, NOTHING IN A BUTTERFLY, which had been planned to premiere this summer. Ric will use the bursary to write a play about his time as a teenager in Durham Prison and an intimate friendship struck up with a prison guard over two years across the cell door. The bursary and support from Paines Plough will allow for development of the project, and for Ric to further his own writing by spending more time at the theatre.
Charlotte and Katie said:
‘We are delighted to share our new digital plans which expand on our existing app and project COME TO WHERE I’M FROM. We recognise that these are challenging times and we hope that this new programme which celebrates homes and places will enable audiences to be momentarily transported somewhere else – whether that be spending ten minutes in Derby or half an hour in Milan. Collaborating with our excellent national and international partners we are pleased to be providing employment for artists to still create thrilling new theatre for audiences.
We are also excited to announce our ongoing commitment to developing extraordinary artists through the appointment of our playwright fellow and trainee director and to also introduce our new playwrighting bursary. These three artists are incredibly gifted and we look forward to supporting them over the next year to develop and thrive.’
COME TO WHERE I AM: Series 6: Dery is in partnership with Derby Theatre.
‘Derby Theatre…increasingly the most crucial theatre in the region because of its emphasis on learning, nurturing and nourishing.’ Lyn Gardner, The Guardian
Derby Theatre is reimagining what a regional producing theatre can be. Through its unique relationship with the University of Derby, the theatre has placed learning, mentoring and artistic excellence as its heart, bringing together creative professionals with diverse audiences, to tell compelling stories.
Jane Upton’s plays include FINDING NANA (Pleasance Edinburgh Festival, 2017 and UK tour 2018, directed by Katie Posner, New Perspectives), ALL THE LITTLE LIGHTS (Fifth Word, UK tour, Arcola Theatre autumn 2017), WATCHING THE LIVING – an adaptation of two short stories by Daphne Du Maurier (New Perspectives, UK tour), SWIMMING (Menagerie Theatre, Hotbed Festival, Soho Theatre and Edinburgh Festival), and BONES(Fifth Word, Edinburgh Festival and UK tour). Jane is currently writing a new play for Nottingham Playhouse.
ALL THE LITTLE LIGHTS was nominated Best Play for the 2019 OFFIES and for the 2017 Writers’ Guild of Great Britain Awards; it was joint winner of the 2016 George Devine Award for Most Promising Playwright. The play is published by Nick Hern Books. Jane attended Stephen Jeffreys’ Advances in Scriptwriting RADA, received a bursary from the Peggy Ramsay Foundation and was shortlisted for CBBC New Voices Initiative.
Jane is a writer for theatre, television and radio. Her newest radio play, THE LIFE CYCLE OF OSPREYS,debuted in May 2020 on BBC Radio 4. Her first radio play, WIDE OPEN SPACES (BBC Radio 4), was shortlisted for the Mind Media Awards and Imison Award. Other radio includes LOVETRAIN (Pilot for BBC Radio North).
Theatre includes JINNY(Derby Theatre), HOW I SKINNED MY SISTER, LEFTOVERS and CONCRETE SUPERNOVA (Soho Theatre, Rich Mix, Bush Theatre, and Milano Teen Writing Festival, Milan), BARROW HILL(published by Oberon Books), INWORLD (Finborough Theatre), PHOTOS OF YOU SLEEPING (Runner up for the Papatango Prize), A BITE OF THE APPLE (TBG Theatre, New York City), A GUIDE TO REMOVING CORPSE STAINS(Company of Angels at Theatre Royal York), PINOCCHIO GETS LAID OR THE TASTE OF US (HighTide Festival) and PET’S CORNER (Miniaturists at the Arcola Theatre).
A member of the Channel 4 Screenwriting course, she is currently developing a new television series with CBBC, and currently writes for the award-winning HOLLYOAKS (Channel Four).
John Booker is an actor and writer trained at The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. John is currently developing his play’s OLD COKE and WHISKY, EGGS & LEMONADE. As an actor, John performed in WONDERLAND at Nottingham Playhouse directed by Adam Penford and featured in the film THE TIDE directed by Harjinder Grewal.
Simon Marshall is a Derbyshire-based playwright, poet, facilitator and producer. His writing focusses on rural communities, LGBTQ individuals & his work with care-experienced people. He is a New Associate of New Perspectives and regularly works in participation for Déda and Derby Theatre.
He is developing his play BONFIRE, on the rural queer experience online, with support from ACE & In Good Company. He is currently writing a new play KILLBURN (NOT LONDON) on the relationships of young people in care.
Recent work includes ISLAND NATION at the Space, London with Little Pieces of Gold, and SPECIMEN for Theatre503.
Come To Where I Am – Series 5: Reading, is in partnership with Reading Rep. Reading’s resident professional theatre combines high-class productions with ground-breaking education and community engagement to help transform Reading and the surrounding area’s cultural landscape. Produces diverse new voices on the stage. Working with new directors, new playwrights and new practitioners, we present plays from classics to new writing, revivals to musicals; producing outstanding productions of world class plays for the widest possible audience.
Sam was born in Denbigh in North Wales but did most of her growing up in Reading surrounded by her 6 siblings and the many foster siblings they shared their home with. She is a writer and an artist and a mother.
She has been co-artistic director of Fevered Sleep since graduating in 1996. Fevered Sleep works across artforms making performance, installation, books, films and digital art. They work in galleries, theatres, cinemas, schools and other community sites; as well as online, in people’s homes, or on their phones. They try to open up new spaces to enable as many people as possible to engage with them. Their practice invites all sorts of people, to come together and explore thought provoking, challenging and experimental ideas. Their mission in everything they make and do is to try to make the world a more caring, curious and compassionate place. Sam has many years’ experience of leading workshops with adults and with children, mentoring artists and companies and teaching both in the UK and internationally including Banff: Centre for the Arts and Creativity (Canada), Skånes Dansteater (Sweden), Young Vic Theatre (UK), Beijing People’s Arts Theatre (China), Taipei International Children’s Festival (Taiwan), Dansehallerne (Denmark).
Adrian is a Berkshire-based theatre maker. He is the Artistic Director of Exit Pursued By Panda, a theatre company promoting the interests of East Asian writers, directors, actors and other creatives. In 2019, he directed and co-produced TULIPS by Michael Beakhouse, a touring show about male domestic abuse supported by the Arts Council and ManKind Initiative. In February 2020 he directed UNBURIED as part of the Takeover Festival produced by The Upsetters at the Bunker Theatre.
Ali is a playwright and teacher. His plays include: CATHY (Cardboard Citizens, UK tour/Edinburgh/Soho Theatre), CONSPIRACY (RWCMD, Gate Theatre), UNDER MY SKIN (Pegasus Theatre, tour), FAULT LINES (Hampstead Theatre), STICKS & STONES (Polka Theatre), A LITTLE NECK (Goat & Monkey), COTTON WOOL (Theatre503, Berliner Festspiele) for which he won the 18th Meyer-Whitworth Award, OVERSPILL (Churchill Theatre Bromley/Soho Theatre) and THE MACHINE GUNNERS (Polka Theatre).
Radio plays include EIGHT FEET HIGH AND RISING and CINDERS for Radio 4’s Afternoon Play.
Camille is a writer, comedy performer and actress from Reading, who recently starred in Sky One’s CINDERELLA: AFTER EVER AFTER alongside Celia Imrie and Sian Gibson. She also played the leading role of Nikki in both series of critically lauded improvised sitcom, LEE AND DEAN for Channel 4.
Camille recently hosted the CBBC show A WEEK TO BEAT THE WORLD and has also been seen in ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS, BBC1’s comedy drama TRUCKERS, Matt Lucas’ silent comedy POMPIDOU AND GITTINS for C4, to highlight some of her favourites.
Camille is one third of comedy sketch group Birthday Girls, whose podcast BIRTHDAY GIRLS HOUSE PARTY was nominated for best comedy at the British Podcast Awards in 2019.
Camille writes for various children’s TV shows including Children’s BAFTA nominated sketch show GIGGLEBIZ, THOMAS THE TANK ENGINE, and SCRAMBLED! for CITV, to name a few.
Her theatre credits include OUTINGS, (a collection of monologues about coming out), and an adaptation of Gogol’s MARRIAGE, both among a comedic ensemble cast and whose productions first started at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, with OUTINGS culminating in a UK wide tour.
She is currently living in London and developing various TV, film and theatre scripts.
We are delighted that Keiren will be joining PP as part of the #FreelanceTaskForce.
Keiren is a Birmingham Native, born and raised in Newtown. He is an Actor/Movement Director and one piece of the International acclaimed Strictly Arts theatre company. He is Former Artistic Lead of Lightpost Theatre company, a company dedicated to Young black men and Mental health. A writer, a director, Facilitator and all-round creative.
About the Freelance Task Force:
As of Friday 22 May 2020, Paines Plough is working with more than 100 arts organisations and venues to create a Freelance Task Force. If you missed it, you can read the Open Letter to Theatre and Performance Makers here.
As signatories of this letter, Paines Plough committed to engaging a freelancer for one day a week throughout June, July and August (13 weeks) to be part of the Freelance Task Force.
Aims of the Task Force
The aim of the task force is to strengthen the influence of the self-employed theatre and performance community. It will create ongoing points of connection between freelancers, organisations, funders and government and amplify the voice of the self-employed in the conversations to come about how we manage the response to and recovery from the Covid 19 crisis in the performing arts sector.