Playwrights Industry Day

Sat, 21 September 2024
9.30 – 17.30
£65.00 – £95.00
Professional Development Day
Location: The Old Courtroom, 118 Church Street, Brighton BN1 1UD

Playwrights Industry Day

Our Playwrights Industry Day brings together some of the most exciting people in theatre to offer you invaluable insights into the industry.

Whether you’re an emerging writer or have been at it for years, this day is a must for playwrights. The day will begin with a keynote speech from former Royal Court Artistic Director, Vicky Featherstone, followed by discussions and debates with theatre professionals from venues including Chichester Festival Theatre, The Belgrade, Royal and Derngate, and the Almeida Theatre. Theatre and Literary Agents will discuss how they work with playwrights and other topics covered will include collaborative theatre-making, ethical practices and how to work with venues. The day will conclude with tips from professional playwrights, including Tim Crouch and Testament on making a successful career.

As always, discounted bursary places are available for writers who would struggle to pay full price. Find out more.

Full programme
 

9.30 – 10.00am

Registration with tea and coffee

10 – 10.30am

Opening Keynote from Vicky Featherstone, former Artistic Director at Royal Court.

10.30- 11.30am

The role of literary managers and theatre agents:

This is a chance to hear how literary managers and theatre agents work with playwrights. From how to make an initial approach to a theatre agent, to the role a literary manager plays within a venue, this panel hopes to be enlightening and informative. Come prepared with questions you might like to ask of the panel!

Panelists:

  • Hannah Joss – Associate Literary Director, Chichester Festival Theatre
  • Jessi Stewart Theatre Agent at Independent Talent Group
  • Gurnesha Bola Freelance reader, dramaturg and script editor. Previously worked in Royal Court’s Literary Department. 
  • Chaired by Chris James – Senior Producer at The Lyric Theatre.  

11.30-12pm

Break (tea and coffee available)

12-1pm

How to get your work out there – working with venues and programmers:

Hear from some of the most influential decision makers and programmers in theatre, giving practical tips and hints on how playwrights can work with venues. Whether it’s understanding how different programmers curate a season to support venues give to emerging playwrights, this panel will equip you with the tools you need to understand how venues, programmers and writers can work together.

Panelists:

  • Vicky Featherstone – former Artistic Director at the Royal Court.
  • Corey Campbell – Creative Director at The Belgrade Theatre
  • Holly Gladwell Deputy CEO (Producing & Programming), Royal and Derngate
  • Stephanie Bain Head of Programming and Literary, The Almeida
  • Chaired by Rebekah Jones, Producer

 1-2pm

Break for lunch. 

 2-3pm

Co-creating theatre writing with communities, ethical practice and different models of delivery:

Join these fantastic theatre makers and organisations as they discuss how they make high quality theatre with and for the communities they serve, what is meant by ‘ethical theatre’ and what you need to consider when representing others’ stories on stage. This panel looks at what it is to be a theatre maker today, creating relevant, necessary work.

 Panelists:

  • Chinonyerem Odimba Artistic Director and Chief Executive of Tiata Fahodzi
  • Emma Rees  Executive Director and CEO of Theatre Centre
  • Charlie Josephine – Playwright
  • Jack Parris – Artistic Director of Brighton People’s Theatre
  • Chaired by Inroads Director, Sara Clifford.

3-3.30pm

Break (tea and coffee available)

3.30-4.30pm

How to make it work as a professional
Have you ever wondered how you can make a sustainable living from playwrighting? What does a ‘portfolio career’ look like when a playwright is in between commissions and how do they get their commissions in the first place? At what point does a playwright call themselves a professional and do they still get imposter syndrome? Come prepared with questions to ask our fantastic panellists, Tim Crouch, Suhayla El-Bushra, Rabiah Hussain and Testament as they talk about the reality of working in the industry, find out how and why they do it! Chaired by producer Faith Dodkins.

Panelists:

  • Tim Crouch
  • Rabiah Hussain
  • Suhayla El-Bushra
  • Testament
  • Chaired by producer Faith Dodkins.

Close with performance by Testament.

The event will finish with a short performance by playwright and spoken word artist, Testament. 

4.45- 6pm

Drinks at Theatre Royal’s Colonnade Bar.
Come and join us for a drink and a chat at the theatre pub over the road. The first drink is on us. 

About the participants

Stephanie Bain
Stephanie Bain is the Head of Programming and Literary at the Almeida Theatre, where she plays a key role in the development and imagination of the artistic programme. Prior to her role at the Almeida, Stephanie was a Literary Agent at The Wylie Agency, a freelance script reader for the Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting and the Bush Theatre, and Co-Artistic Director of Babel Theatre. 

Gurnesha Bola
Gurnesha is a freelance reader, dramaturg and script editor based in Northamptonshire. She reads for both subsidised and commercial theatre companies and literary agencies. She is currently reading for the Theatre 503 International Playwriting Award and working as a dramaturg with writers commissioned by Soho Theatre and Tara Theatre. For the past two years she has been working in the development of new writing for stage in the Royal Court’s Literary Department. 
Her previous experience has always been rooted in the planning, development and delivery of public programmes across a range of arts and cultural institutions including; programming international shorts at Leeds International Film Festival, live broadcast production at the National Theatre, and curatorial work for the V&A and Design Museum. 

Corey Campbell

Corey Campbell is the Creative Director of the Belgrade Theatre, having previously been the Theatre’s Co-Artistic Director for 2021. In 2023 Corey, and CEO Laura Elliot, launched the Belgrade Theatre’s restructure and new co-creation model which led to the organisation receiving an uplift in ACE funding during a time where the industry overall was seeing a decline in funding.

Corey is an Honorary Member of the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire for his contribution to the arts and for his realisation and adoption of the future form programme through the process of heutagogy.

Corey was also the Artistic Director of Strictly Arts Theatre Company, formerly supported by the Belgrade’s Springboard talent development programme. Through productions such as Green Leaves Fall and the critically acclaimed, Edinburgh sell-out show Freeman, Corey has used a collaborative, devising process to bring stories from real people to the stage, building long-lasting relationships with audiences through targeted workshops and outreach programmes, with a particular focus on African and Caribbean communities.

Corey’s flagship production for the Belgrade in his tenure as Co-Artistic Director has been SeaView, a new digital television series created, produced, and filmed in the West Midlands using a unique Writers Room project which involved local emerging writers from the region.

SeaView was created using theatrical devising techniques, from an original, pre-pandemic idea by Corey. It celebrates a Black working class aspirational family and all the things they come up against on their journey to achieve great things. SeaView premiered at the Belgrade in 2021 and is now streaming on Amazon Prime.

In 2022 Corey directed the new drama, Fighting Irish, which was a sell-out success and marked Corey’s final project for the Belgrade as Co-Artistic Director for UK City of Culture

2021, before he moved forward to commence projects as Creative Director. Most recently, Corey devised, directed and starred in the acclaimed Belgrade Theatre production, Big Aunty in April 2023.

tim crouch headshot

Tim Crouch 
Tim is an internationally acclaimed, multi-award winning writer and theatre-maker based in Brighton. His plays include My Arm, An Oak Tree, ENGLAND (a play for galleries), The Author, I, Malvolio, Adler & Gibb, Beginners, Total Immediate Collective Imminent Terrestrial Salvation, Superglue, Truth’s a Dog Must to Kennel and (with Andy Smith) what happens to the hope at the end of the evening. Directing credits include House Mother Normal (New Perspectives/Brighton Festival), I, Cinna (the poet), The Taming of the Shrew, and King Lear (RSC), PEAT, (Ark, Dublin) Jeramee, Hartleby and Oooglemore and Beginners (Unicorn Theatre) and The Complete Deaths (Spymonkey). Beginners won the 2019 Writers Guild of Great Britain Best Play for Young Audiences. Tim created and co-wrote Don’t Forget the Driver, a six-part series for BBC2 which won Best TV Comedy at the Venice TV awards, 2019.  timcrouchtheatre.co.uk  @thistimcrouch 

Faith Dodkins
Since 2006 Faith has worked as freelance Producer collaborating with artists and creatives across art forms to conceive and deliver transformative cultural experiences in Brighton & Hove, across the UK and internationally. She is interested in projects that amplify marginalised voices, that have their roots in activism and an ambition to support social change. She has produced work in car parks and concert halls, disused office blocks and ice cream vans, on beaches and online with for organisations including Brighton Festival, Camden People’s Theatre, the Barbican, Shoreditch Town Hall, Soho Theatre, The Lowry, Brisbane Powerhouse and Melbourne Arts House. Currently, She’s Executive Producer with TalkShow and has been working with trailblazing women artists, Abigail Conway, Bryony Kimmings and Victoria Melody on the development of new work for the stage and in the public realm.
She is the co-founder and Co-Artistic Director of The Spire, a performance and development space in East Brighton. Over the last 10 years they have supported artists to develop new performance work within the local community, commissioned internationally acclaimed artists like Tim Spooner and Sheila Ghelani for presentations at Brighton Festival and hosted performances by Scottee, Cassils, Mykki Blanco, Laurie Anderson, Emma Frankland and many others in partnership with organisations including Marlborough Productions, New Writing South and Brighton Fringe. 
She is a Director of the East Brighton Trust and is a member of the Culture Alliance Governance Group for Brighton & Hove. Since 2022 she has led Safe + Equal – a pilot project exploring women’s safety and equality in the cultural workspace.

Suhayla El-Bushra
Suhayla El-Bushra is a UK based playwright and screenwriter. Her plays include a musical adaptation of Roald Dahl’s The Enormous Crocodile (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre), The Long Song (Chichester Festival Theatre), The NW Trilogy (The Kiln) and The Suicide (after Erdman, National Theatre. Her TV work includes Hollyoaks, Becoming Elizabeth and Ackley Bridge, and her feature film, Brides (Neon Films/BFI) is currently in post-production.

Vicky Featherstone

Vicky was Artistic Director of the Royal Court 2013 – 2023. She was the inaugural Artistic Director of the National Theatre of Scotland 2005-2013 and Artistic Director of Paines Plough 1997-2005.

As a director focussing on new writing and living playwrights, Vicky has directed over 50 world premieres by some of the country’s leading playwrights and has been responsible alongside her teams for developing some of the finest and most influential new voices of our time. Her work has toured extensively Internationally and Nationally and has won many awards.

Vicky is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Honorary Professor in Theatre and New Writing from Manchester University and Honorary Doctor of Literature from St Andrews University.

Vicky has served on numerous boards both of educational and arts establishments and has worked extensively in TV as a script editor and development executive in returning drama series. She is currently a trustee of the Citizen’s Theatre, Glasgow.

Vicky played a leading role in the UK theatre movement around Metoo creating the Code of Behaviour which has been used internationally. As a result of this and her leadership at the Royal Court she was named No 1 most influential person in theatre in the Stage.

Holly Gladwell
Holly has worked in theatre for 20 years and is currently Deputy CEO at Royal & Derngate, Northampton, leading the Programming and Producing across its live performance venues and cinemas.
Before heading to Northampton she was Executive Producer for ETT and Paines Plough and also worked for Rifco Theatre Company and the Royal Court Theatre. All of her roles have encompassed the producing and development of new, diverse voices for the stage, ensuring brilliant and inspiring work reaches audiences in every corner of the UK.
Holly trained as a Stage Manager at Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and subsequently stage managed productions in London as well as on tour in the UK and internationally for a whole variety of companies including the Young Vic, Old Vic, Propellor, Royal Court and BBC.

Rabiah Hussain
WORD-PLAY by Rabiah Hussain premiered at the Royal Court Theatre in July 2023.  
Rabiah’s debut full-length play, SPUN, premiered at Arcola Theatre in July 2018 and toured Canada in 2019. 
Rabiah was selected as a writer for the Kudos TV and Royal Court Theatre Fellowship Programme 2019 and wrote on the third edition of the Royal Court Living Newspaper. Rabiah was also commissioned by the Royal Court to write a monologue as part of their One Night Stand programme in 2022.   
Rabiah co-wrote WE ARE SHADOWS, an audio drama tour of Brick Lane for Tamasha Theatre in 2020. Her other plays include WHERE I LIVE AND WHAT I LIVE For written for Theatre Absolute in 2017. 
Rabiah was selected to be part of the BBC TV Drama Writers’ Programme 2020 and the BBC Drama Room programme in 2018.

Chris James
Chris James is Director of Producing & Planning at the Lyric Hammersmith Theatre in London. He was previously at the Royal Court Theatre, the UK’s leading New Writing theatre specialising in producing and developing new plays by living writers. In his time there he worked for nine years in its international team, managing playwright development projects all over the world before moving into producing. He worked on over 30 new plays at the theatre’s Sloane Square home and on national and international tours, before moving to the Lyric in June 2024 to head up their producing team. He lives in rural Surrey with his partner and a miniature schnauzer called Basil.

Charlie Josephine
Charlie Josephine is an actor and writer, committed to creating stories that centre working-class women and queer people. Their most recent play Cowbois, which Charlie also co-directed, enjoyed a successful run at The RSC and the Royal Court. In 2022, their play I, Joan opened to great acclaim at Shakespeare’s Globe. Other work  includes FLIES for Boundless Theatre; Massive for Audible, One of Them Ones for Pentabus; Birds and Bees for Theatre Centre; Bitch Boxer and BLUSH at Soho Theatre and on tour. Charlie Josephine is currently developing a new feature biopic with Salon Pictures. They are an associate artist at the NSDF and board trustee at Cardboard Citizens.

Hannah Joss
Hannah is a theatre director. Currently she is Associate Director (Literary) at Chichester Festival Theatre, where she focuses on the development of new work including; dramaturgical support to writers, commissioning and supporting the Artistic Director Justin Audibert in programming the Festival and Minerva Theatres. She was previously Resident Director at the National Theatre Studio, a director in the most recent Old Vic 12 cohort, Resident Director at the Almeida Theatre and Baylis Assistant Director at the Old Vic. She is also an Open Door mentor.



Chinonyerem Odimba

Chinonyerem is a Nigerian British playwright, screenwriter, and poet. Her recent work ranges from Medea at Bristol Old Vic, We Too, Are Giants for Kiln Theatre, Unknown Rivers at Hampstead Theatre, Prince and the Pauper at Watermill Theatre, The Seven Ages of Patience at Kiln Theatre, and Princess & The Hustler which toured across the UK for Eclipse Theatre/Bristol Old Vic/Hull Truck. She is currently working on commissions for Young Vic, RSC, and Paines Plough. She was the inaugural Writer-in-Residence at Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in 2020/2021. 

Jessi Stewart
I’m an agent at Independent Talent Group. I represent writers, directors and producers working across theatre, television and film. 

Testament 
Testament is a playwright, poet, rapper and world record breaking human beatboxer. Theatre work includes writing for the Royal Court, Leeds Playhouse, Royal Exchange Theatre Manchester, Opera North and The Roundhouse. Television work includes work for BBC, Channel 4, Netflix and Disney Plus. His work as a musician includes the celebrated Hip-Hop album Homecut: No Freedom Without Sacrifice.

Testament is the writer of the UK Theatre Awards nominated 2018 play Black Men Walking (Eclipse Theatre/Royal Exchange Manchester/Royal Court) and more recently Testament’s BBC Radio 4 drama Daughter was nominated for the Prix Europa and won special commendation for Best Single Audio Drama at the BBC Audiodrama Awards 2023. Testament wrote, composed and performed in acclaimed show Orpheus In The Record Shop (Opera North/Leeds Playhouse) which was televised on BBC Four. 

Testament is writer on the Netflix anime series Castlevania Nocturne which was nominated for Best Adaptation at The Game Awards 2023. Testament was 2019 write-in-residence at The Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester, and a supported artist of the theatre’s Open Exchange in 2018. He is currently the 2024  Black Nature Writer-In-Residence for The Yorkshire Dales National Park. www.testamenthomecut.com