COME TO WHERE I AM – Australia (Part four) in partnership with Critical Stages Touring, Australia

Here’s a look at the writers we have lined for you in the final volume of COME TO WHERE I AM – Australia, in partnership with Critical Stages Touring, Australia.

Merlynn Tong – Brisbane, QLD | Turrbal and Chepara-Yugarapul country
Merlynn is an actor and playwright whose writing credits include ANTIGONE (adaptation, Queensland Theatre), GOOD GRIEF (Queensland Theatre), SKIN (Dear Australia, Playwriting Australia), and THE BIG MAC (co-writer, development, Black Swan Theatre Company). Her one-woman-show BLUE BONES won 6 Matilda Awards including the Lord Mayor Award for Best New Australian Work and Best Mainstage Production, and Merlynn was also awarded Best Female Actor in a Leading Role. She is also the prize recipient of Screen Queensland’s Screen to Stage pitch, The First 10 Pages 2.0.

Mary Anne Butler – Darwin, NT | Larrakia country
Mary Anne is a multiple award-winning writer and artistic director. Her play BROKEN won the 2016 Victorian Prize for Literature, a Victorian Premier’s Drama Award and the NT Chief Minister’s Book of the Year. Four of Mary Anne’s plays have won NT Literary Awards for Best Script (2010, 2014, 2018 & 2019) and her work Lost Hearts is on the NSW HSC Theatre Curriculum list. She is a Sidney Myer Creative Fellow, Arts NT Fellow, Winston Churchill Fellow, Regional Arts Fellow and Asialink Fellow. Mary Anne is currently co-Artistic Director of Knock-em-Down Theatre.

Ian Michael – Perth, WA | Whadjuk Noongar country
Ian is a proud Wilman Noongar man, writer, actor director and producer. He has worked extensively with companies across screen, theatre and cabaret including Malthouse Theatre, Yirra Yaakin Theatre Company, Ilbijerri Theatre Company, Melbourne Theatre Company, and Sydney Festival. Ian was awarded Melbourne Fringe’s Most Outstanding Actor in 2013 and 2015, Best Emerging Artist at Adelaide Fringe and received a Green Room Awards Association nomination for Best Independent Production in 2016 for HART. Ian is a Resident Artist at Black Swan State Theatre Company (2018-2020), is curating the Maali Festival, and co-writing the world premiere of YORK for Black Swan State Theatre Company of WA.

Ross Mueller – Geelong, VIC | Wadawurrung country
A graduate of the Victorian College of the Arts masters program, Ross has been a writer in residence with the Royal Court Theatre in London (2002); a guest lecturer at VCA; and is the Fresh INK tutor for ATYP in Victoria. His works have been shortlisted for an AWGIE Award, the Patrick White Award and nominated for five Green Room Awards. He is a recipient of the New York Dramatists Playwright Exchange (CONCUSSION), and winner of the 2007 Wal Cherry Play of the year (THE GLORY). His most recent works include A TOWN NAMED WAR BOY, I CAN’T EVEN (Malthouse) and A STRATEGIC PLAN (Griffin).

Join us on Wednesday 30 September at 10:30am (BST) for a live Facebook premiere event to celebrate the fourth and final installment of new plays for COE TO WHERE I AM – Australia. Hosted by our partners, Critical Stages Touring and joined by our one of our Joint Artistic Directors, Katie Posner. Hear from each of the artists as they introduce their stories of belonging, connection, and home, before we see them read their beautiful new work. It’s going to be powerful and moving storytelling, and we’re thrilled to be sharing these next four artists with the world for our final installment of COME TO WHERE I AM.

The livestream will be on the Critical Stages Touring Facebook Page.

Catch up on the rest of COME TO WHERE I AM on Paines Plough’s YouTube Channel.

COME TO WHERE I AM – Australia (Part four) will be available to watch on Wednesday 30 September

Finn Anderson and Kirsty Findlay on ISLANDER Original Cast Recording

Image credit: Ali Wright – ISLANDER: A NEW MUSICAL – Presented by Helen Milne Productions

With a national Autumn 2020 tour postponed, the team behind ISLANDER have, instead, released the stunning original cast album, available now through Spotify, iTunes, Amazon and all major online music distributors.

The production had its first, and completely sold out, run last year in 2019 as part of our Edinburgh Fringe Festival programme in ROUNDABOUT at Summerhall before a three week season at London’s Southwark Playhouse last October. With national touring plans currently on hold, the album aims to give Islander fans a welcome opportunity to listen to the complete soundtrack anywhere and at any time.

The critically acclaimed show, performed by Kirsty Findlay (Olivier Award Nominated, OUR LADIES OF PERPETUAL SUCCOUR) and Bethany Tennick (Stage Debut Award Nominated, ISLANDER at Southwark Playhouse) follows the story of Eilidh who stares out to sea and dreams of a new life beyond her lonely island. Myth and reality collide when the tide washes a mysterious stranger onto her beach, changing her life forever.

Epic storytelling intimately staged with a contemporary Scottish folk-inspired score, by award-winning composer, writer and singer-songwriter, Finn Anderson, while Kirsty and Bethany perform a whole host of characters, weaving, building and layering their voices using looping technology to create an expansive, ethereal soundscape. Exploring themes of loss, identity, migration and home, Islander was created on the Isle of Mull and is inspired by the sights, sounds and smells of the wind-beaten and wave-struck Western Isle.

To celebrate the launch of the cast album, we caught up with Finn and Kirsty, and asked them some questions about their run in ROUNDABOUT last year and what it was like to record this album instead of taking their show on tour.

What is your favourite memory from last year’s Edinburgh Fringe?
FINN: Climbing Calton Hill to watch the fireworks on the final night, feeling grateful that our story had reached so many people over the month of August.

How would you describe your experience of performing in ROUNDABOUT?
FINN: As a composer and sound designer working in ROUNDABOUT it was a joy to work with the surround sound. As a show that centres around music and sound, Islander felt really at home in the immersive in-the-round setting. Although it’s also a tent and our tech was on a hot July day… so pretty sweaty! 

KIRSTY: ROUNDABOUT is one of my absolute favourite venues so performing there was a dream. I always try and see shows there when I’m at the fringe because it gives every show such immediacy and intimacy that it always reminds me why I do theatre in the first place. You can see every nuance
which is amazing.

What have you been up to since the festival?
FINN: I released my solo album ‘Until the Light’ last year, and have been working on a bunch of theatre and circus shows. Highlights have included 5 weeks in Chicago earlier this year working on a new Scottish-Appalachian folk musical, and a new bilingual musical with Brazilian songwriter Siba and Portuguese director Tania Azevedo which we’re developing with support from National Theatre of Scotland. 

What made you decide to record this album, and what was your experience like?
FINN: Theatre is a one-off experience and it’s never the same twice. That has its own kind of magic, but it’s been exciting and challenging to take something that was made for a live audience, and transform it into an audio-only experience that people can go through in isolation. I wanted to give people a chance to revisit the show, and capture the music for those who didn’t see the live event. 

KIRSTY: It was great to come back together and record the album but it was a bit mind bending. We’re so used to recording the music live all the way through so recording it in sections without the loop station was really hard. I had to physically pretend I was pushing buttons just so I could remember what came next!

Can you describe this album in three words?
FINN: Intimate. Otherworldly. Playful. 

KIRSTY: Enchanting, Intricate, and SCOTTISH.

Why should people listen to this album?
FINN: I think the album offers a short escape from the noise that surrounds us in the media and in our heads right now. I hope it transports listeners into the mythical world of the show and offers a bit of perspective and magic – both for those who saw Islander, and those who are new to it. 

What is your favourite song on the album, and why?
FINN: Same But Different – I really enjoy the use of the loop station in this one, and I think Kirsty and Bethany’s voices really soar on it. It’s joyful, but also takes the audience on a real emotional journey with the two central characters.  

KIRSTY: I think Answerphone is my favourite song on the album (although I’ll probably have a different favourite next week!) The harmonies that Finn made for that song are just SO good that being able to hear them out of the performance setting is so satisfying. It was also one of the hardest to learn and perform so it’s nice to listen to it in a more objective way.

What would you say the best way to listen to this album is?
FINN: On a good pair of headphones, preferably near the water. Or lying on the floor after a long day.

KIRSTY: A friend of mine said she was going to download the album and listen with a pair of headphones on on the beach. THAT would definitely be the best way to listen to it. Although through a good pair of headphones would also do the trick!

ISLANDER Original Cast Recording is now Live. Here’s the streaming link to listen on Spotify:

Introducing the writers behind COME TO WHERE I AM – Australia (Part three)

Jon Bennett – Pinery, SA | Kaurna country
Jon is a multi-award winning comedic storyteller. His one-hour productions have been seen at over 120 festivals worldwide. He has written and performed eight comedy specials drawing on his experience growing up in South Australia and his many travels. His work has been selected for the 2019 New York Times Best Seller List (THE MOTH OCCASIONAL MAGIC), an Outstanding Storyteller Award (London Fringe, Victoria Fringe), and nominated for countless awards including seven nominations for a Just For Laughs Award at Montreal Fringe.

Margaret Davis – Blackheath, NSW | Gundungurra country
A performer, director and writer, Margaret has been creating stories since the 1980s. She was Assistant Director of the State Theatre Company of SA and Artistic Director of Riverina Theatre Company, and has directed productions in theatres around Australia. Margaret works extensively with local artists to craft new stories and experiences. She draws inspiration from her many projects including artist and performance groups in the Blue Mountains and recently as Guest Director at the Originate Project at Q Theatre Penrith producing PUSH ME, PULL ME.

Kathryn Ash – Cairns, QLD | Bama country
Kathryn is an award-winning playwright, dramaturg and actor. She is a co-founder of JUTE Theatre Company, where she has worked on projects for over 25 years. Kathryn has had over 12 professional productions of her work, including BAG O’ MARBLES for Queensland Theatre Company directed by Michael Gow, winner of the ANPC New Dramatists Award in 2001. Her work has been workshopped at three national conferences, and she has currently four published works. She is currently full time Creative Producer for JUTE’s writing programs and dramaturg-in-residence there.

Samah Sabawi – Docklands, VIC | Kulin nation (Boon Wurrung and Wurundjeri)
Samah’s critically-acclaimed work has won multiple awards including a Green Room Award for Best Writing for THEM, and two Drama Victoria Awards for TALES OF A CITY BY THE SEA. Both works were selected for the Victorian Certificate of Education drama playlist. Sabawi is co-editor of DOUBLE EXPOSURE: PLAYS OF THE JEWISH AND PALESTINIAN DIASPORAS, winner of the Patrick O’Neill Award and co-author of I REMEMBER MY NAME: POETRY BY SAMAH SABAWI, RAMZY BAROUD AND JEHAN BSEISO, winner of the Palestine Book Award. She is currently a Virtual Writer in Residence at Melbourne University’s Union House Theatre.

Join us for our next Facebook premiere event to celebrate the third installment of stories at the COME TO WHERE I AM – Australia – Volume 3 live event hosted by our writers and partners Critical Stages Touring on Wednesday 16 September at 10:30am.

COME TO WHERE I AM – Australia (Volume three) will be available to watch on our YouTube channel on Wednesday 16 September

The Women’s Prize for Playwriting Finalists

Today we are delighted to announce the seven finalist scripts for the inaugural Women’s Prize for Playwriting 2020, selected from 1,169 entries. We created the Prize to celebrate and support exceptional UK and Ireland-based playwrights who identify as female. The winning playwright will receive £12,000 in respect of an exclusive option for the lead producers of the Prize to co-produce the winning play. The finalists plays will now be read and discussed by our judging panel, and the winner will be announced later in the autumn.

…blackbird hour

by babirye bukilwa

…blackbird hour is a call to arms to loving oneself when love has evaporated from the body.

babirye bukilwa is a writer, actor, model, poet, podcaster and songwriter. She was shortlisted for the Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting Shortlist 2019 with her debut play …blackbird hour, and is currently an artist in residence at Theatre Peckham 2020 with her second play …cake. bukilwa was invited to join the BBC London writers room 2018, as well as the Royal Court Introduction to Playwriting writers room 2019. As an actor, she was most recently seen in When We Have Sufficiently Tortured Each Other (National Theatre). bukilwa co-founded the award nominated podcast ‘SISTREN’; a podcast and collective founded in 2015 to amply the Black, femme Queer British experience.


By Liv Hennessy

Set during calving season on a West Midlands farm, three people navigate their pastoral duty to the land, to the animals, and to each other.

Liv Hennessy is a writer from the West Midlands, interested in regional voices and stories. She has written several short pieces during her time as a Pentabus Theatre young writer, and with the Royal Exchange Young Company. She currently works as the Story Editor for ITV Emmerdale, and COLOSTRUM is her first full length play. 


By Chinonyerem Odimba

This is a story that takes in the shifts of both attitudes and violence in a new folklore style, it confounds any ideas of Black British presence, and follows the hopes, dreams, and fears of generations of Black women starting with a girl called Gabe.

Chinonyerem Odimba is a playwright, screenwriter, theatre director and poet. Her work for theatre includes Joanne and Amongst the Reeds (Clean Break / The Yard), a modern retelling of Twist (Theatre Centre), and Medea (Bristol Old Vic). She has also received commissions from Hampstead Theatre, Kiln Theatre, Live Theatre, Watermill Theatre, Radio 4, and Channel 4. She is currently working on commissions with RSC, BBC and Jermyn Street Theatre. Odimba has also worked as an Assistant Director/Director for Bristol Old Vic and Theatre503, and was due to direct Braids at Live Theatre Newcastle in April 2020.


By Amy Trigg

Juno was born with Spina bifida and is now clumsily navigating her twenties amidst street healers, love, loneliness and the feeling of being an unfinished project.

Amy Trigg is a writer and actor from Essex. Trigg’s essay An Ode to Improvisation (and Poehler and Fey) features in the book Feminist’s Don’t Wear Pink (and other lies) curated by Scarlett Curtis. She wrote two short digital plays for the Royal Shakespeare Company and Midsummer Festival in 2020, and her one-woman sketch The Rebrand won Colchester New Comedian of the Year 2016. As an actor, Trigg’s credits include The Taming of the Shrew, Measure for Measure (RSC), Shakespeare within the Abbey, The Sonnet Walks (Shakespeare’s Globe), and Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again. Born with Spina bifida, she was the first wheelchair user to graduate from a performance course at Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts.

REASONS YOU SHOULD(N’T) LOVE ME is Amy Trigg’s first full-length play.


By Eve Leigh

Red Sky at Night is about living as an immigrant in London, capitalism, aliens, and other things that are probably going to kill us.

Eve Leigh is a writer for performance.Her previous plays include Midnight Movie (Royal Court/Berlin Theatertreffen Stueckemarkt 2020), While You Are Here (The Place/Dance East), The Trick (Bush Theatre, national tour), Spooky Action At A Distance (Royal Court/RWCMD), The Curtain (Young Vic Taking Part), and Stone Face, Silent Planet (Finborough Theatre). She has also received commissions from National Theatre Connections, Bush Theatre, Royal Shakespeare Company, Sheffield Theatres, and PappyShow. She was artist-in-residence at the National Theatre of Greece 2017. Leigh was awarded the Jerwood/Royal Court New Playwright Award in 2019 (with Jasmine Lee-Jones), and the Berlin Theatertreffen Stueckemarkt Selection 2020, and was shortlisted for the 2019 Bruntwood Prize.


By Miriam Battye

Over one evening, four virgins and two non-virgins try to answer the question that has been repeatedly asked of them, ‘What do you want?’

Miriam Battye is a writer from Manchester. Her previous plays include Scenes with girls (Royal Court), Trip The Light Fantastic (Bristol Old Vic), Pancake Day (Bunker Theatre/PLAY Theatre Co) and All Your Gold (Theatre Royal Plymouth), and she has written extensively for community and youth groups in Manchester and the South West.  She also has recently started to write for television and was the 2018 Sister Pictures Writer In Residence.


By Ahlam

The play is about love and resistance in Cairo.

Ahlam has submitted YOU BURY ME under a pseudonym.

Ahlam is an occasional writer, she tries to fit it between her anxiety about the end of the world and her anxiety about what her parents would think. When she’s not writing plays, she spends her time teaching herself how to put on liquid eye-liner, wondering why koshari isn’t the most popular dish in the world and contemplating who she would have been if she had grown up in Blacksburg (VA) instead of Cairo (Egypt).

Charlotte and Katie said:

“We are ecstatic to be sharing these seven plays as the finalists for the prize. They represent some of the most extraordinary new writing we have come across in our careers. Each story has been crafted with passion, vision and a bursting political heart. Reading them was an absolute privilege, and every one is a deserving winner. We want to thank every writer who submitted a play for sharing a bit of themselves with us. It was an incredibly competitive process that highlights how many amazing women playwrights there are working today.”

Introducing the writers behind COME TO WHERE I AM – Australia (Part two)

Tahli Corin – Kyneton, VIC | Taungurung country

Tahli Corin

Tahli’s writing credits include BUMMING WITH JANE (2008 B Sharp, Belvoir) which won the 2009 Philip Parsons Young Playwright’s Award. Her second play, ONE FOR THE UGLY GIRLS was presented in Sydney (Old 505 Theatre), Melbourne (La Mama) and Adelaide Fringe (Tuxedo Cat). For Sydney Theatre Company, Tahli wrote THE ARCADE, which was presented as part of Money Shots, and GIRL IN TAN BOOTS was developed through STC’s Rough Draft program before being presented as part of the Griffin Independent Season, and at The Basement in Auckland, New Zealand.

Joshua Tyler – Kyneton, VIC | Taungurung country

Joshua Tyler

Joshua is a writer, actor and dancer. He co-wrote the hit film TOP END WEDDING with Miranda Tapsell. The film premièred at the Sundance Film Festival and was nominated for Best Film at the AACTA Awards. He has written for a number of Children’s Television shows including TASHI and 100% WOLF. Joshua starred in and co-wrote two seasons of the comedy series PLONK (STAN). In 2019 he won the Screenworks’ inaugural Regional Screen in LA Scholarship.

Alison Mann – Hobart, TAS | Nipaluna country

Alison Mann

Playwright and performer Alison Mann has been the recipient of several awards including a First Draft Award from Playworks and a Melbourne Dramatists Emerging Playwright Award. She recently completed mentorships with Maude Davey and Tom Holloway, and is a part of the Blue Cow Theatre’s script development program The Cowshed. Her most recent works include THE SURGEON’S HANDS (Theatre Royal Hobart), SHE’S NOT PERFORMING WELL (Tasmanian Theatre Co, La Mama) and THE ILLUSTRATED GIRL for MONA’s Dark Mofo Festival 2017. She is currently Blue Cow Theatre’s playwright in residence and is a mentor for their young writers’ program – Future Proof.

Jeanette Cronin – Caloundra, QLD | Kabi Kabi country

Jeanette Cronin

A graduate of NIDA, Jeanette is an actor, writer and dramaturg. She was the recipient of the inaugural Mike Walsh Fellowship. Jeanette’s first play TELL ME AGAIN premiered at The Old 505 Theatre in December 2014 and in July 2019 received a workshop and rehearsed reading at the Arcola Theatre in London. Her one-woman show QUEEN BETTE co-devised with director Peter Mountford has been produced multiple times for Mardi Gras Sydney (Old 505), Hunter Valley Festival and at Gasworks Arts Park for Midsumma Festival. Her most recent works include I HATE YOU MY MOTHER (Old Fitz), and I LOVE YOU NOW (Darlinghurst Theatre Co).

Tessa Rose – Palmerston, NT | Larrakia country

Tessa Rose

“Sharing a little bit about our place in the Top End of Northern Territory Australia, our family, gave us a shared happiness and sense of pride.”

Tessa is a writer and performer from the remote Indigenous communities of the Daly River and Peppimenarti in the Northern Territoru. Her most recent work includes her one-woman show THE DALY RIVER GIRL, created for the Adelaide Fringe Festival 2020. The work received the weekly theatre award laurel. Tessa is currently working on a German-Australian telemovie, BAREFOOT THROUGH AUSTRALIA. Her film and television credits as a performer include TOP END WEDDING; BLOOM; KIKI & KITTY; GLITCH; CLEVERMAN and REDFERN NOW.

COME TO WHERE I AM – Australia (part two) will be available to watch on our YouTube channel on Wednesday 2 September

Introducing the writers behind COME TO WHERE I AM: Australia – Series one – in partnership with Critical Stages Touring, Australia

Critical Stages Touring’s goal is to make outstanding live theatre accessible to audiences throughout Australia. Their vision is to enable regional communities to have the same access to high quality theatre as metropolitan audiences, and to foster a sustainable and diverse national independent theatre sector. They support outstanding theatre artists to achieve their touring ambitions and regional presenters to achieve their audience development goals.

COME TO WHERE I AM: Australia – series one goes live this Wednesday 19 August at 10:30am (BST). This is a four part series which will be released fortnightly on our YouTube channel.

To celebrate the launch of this international project, our Joint Artistic Directors, Charlotte and Katie will be joining Critical Stages Touring for their live Facebook event just before series one goes live. You can tune in to the free Facebook event here.

Here’s a look at the fantastic writers we have performing their pieces this week.

Alysha Herrmann

Alysha Herrmann (Berri, South Australia)
Alysha Herrmann is a parent, daughter of regional Australia, writer, theatre maker, creative producer and community organiser. As a creative practitioner, Alysha makes performances, installations, experiences, presentations, poetry, essays, digital exchanges and small moments of connection in public places. She has won numerous awards for her work using the arts to interrogate and explore community concerns and aspirations, including the 2017 Arts South Australia Geoff Crowhurst Memorial Ruby Award and the 2015 Australia Council Kirk Robson Award. Alysha writes about vulnerability, community, hope, grief and forgiveness.

Peter Matheson

Peter Matheson (Maclean, New South Wales)
Peter’s experience with Australian stories extends back over a 20+ year career of dramaturgy and writing. He has assisted some of the country’s most respected and innovative theatre makers to bring to life stories from emerging and established authors alike. He has worked dramaturgically with companies including Belvoir, Darwin Theatre, La Boite, NORPA, Riverside Theatres, Yirra Yaakin and QTC amongst many more. The covid-19 period has inspired Peter to return to his playwriting roots.

James Elazzi

James Elazzi (Western Sydney, New South Wales)
James’ writing seeks to find a balance between his experience of Australian culture and his Lebanese heritage. A catalyst in James’ work is the universal idea of obstacle and transition where characters ebb and flow through themes of family, culture and nudging the status quo. He has been a finalist for the Silver Gull Play Award for SON OF BYBLOS; is currently part of Sydney Theatre Company’s Emerging Writers Group; and his play LADY TABOULI enjoyed sell-out seasons as Griffin Theatre Company’s Batch Festival and the National Theatre of Parramatta in 2019.

COME TO WHERE I AM: Australia – series one will be available to watch here on Wednesday 19 August at 10:30am

The Women’s Prize For Playwriting Shortlist

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


When the Sea Swallows Us Whole by Natasha Collie

White Tuesday by Eve Leigh

YOU BURY ME by Ahlam

The Women’s Prize for Playwriting longlist

Today we announce the longlist of writers for the inaugral Women’s Prize for Playwriting.

We were delighted to receive 1,169 submissions to the Prize. Since the deadline on 2 March, our team of readers have read each play at least 3 times.

The writers on our longlist are:

Afsaneh Gray


Alice Allemano

Alison Carr

Amanda Wilkin

Amy Rhianne Milton

Amy Trigg

Babirye Bukilwa

Bisola Elizabeth Alabi

Caitlin McEwan

Camilla Whitehill

Caroline Loncq

Charlotte Thompson

Chinonyerem Odimba

Chloe Yates

Ciara Cassoni

Ciara Elizabeth Smyth

Deborah Acheampong

Eilidh Nurse

Elizabeth Chan

Elspeth Penny

Eve Leigh

Francis Grin

Gaia Sorcha Fenn

Georgina Burns

Holly McKinlay

Isley Lynn

Jacqui Honess-Martin

Jane Bodie

Janine McEwan

Jennifer Lunn

Jenny Knotts

Jessica Luxembourg

Jessica Norman

Julia Grogan

Julie Tsang

Kim Taylor

Lao Lee

Laura McGrady

Lisa Carroll

Lorna French

Lucy Bell

Madeleine Accalia

Miriam Battye

Naomi Obeng

Naomi Sheldon

Natalie Mackinnon

Natasha Collie

Olivia Hannah

Olivia Hennessy

Rosie MacPherson

Sam Potter

Sandy Foster

Sarah Gordon

Saskia Livingstone

Selma Dimitrijevic

Shaan Sahota

Silva Semerciyan

Sonali Bhattacharyya

Sophia Chetin-Leuner

Sorcha McCaffrey

Stefanie Reynolds

Stella Green

Tife Kusoro

Tutku Barbaros

Victoria Barclay

Yolanda Mercy

Congratulations! The next stage is for our team is to read the 70 longlisted plays in consideration for the shortlist in the next few weeks. We’ll keep you updated.

Paines Plough: Pull Up or Shut Up

PP equality data Twitter banner


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.




Introducing the writers behind Series 8: Rural

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 Beardmore

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 Hodgkinson

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

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 Preye

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.

Tash Marshall

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

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 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 1 – 7 – Available to watch now on our YouTube channel