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Five disabled playwrights win their ‘write to play’

Five disabled playwrights win their ‘write to play’
13th November 2013 developer

Five disabled writers have won the chance to work with three of the UK’s best-known theatre venues.

The writers have been selected by the disabled-led theatre company Graeae to create full-length plays, working over a year with the National Theatre Studio, the Royal Court Theatre – described by the New York Times as “the most important theatre in Europe” – and Soho Theatre.

The Write to Play programme aims to introduce “a new generation of Deaf and disabled playwrights” – all of whom are at different stages in their careers – to a wider audience.

For the first year of its new programme, Graeae has selected the author, playwright, poet and film-maker Sean Burn; the Bristol-based writer Amy Beth Evans; Rosaleen McDonagh, a writer and leading feminist within the Traveller community; the playwright and Disability Arts Online reviewer Tom Wentworth; and Nicky Werenowska, a playwright who also works as a workshop facilitator and mentor for neurodiverse students.

Among those working with them as mentors and tutors will be the disabled writer, teacher and performer Alex Bulmer, and the playwright, musician and teacher Paul Sirett.

The five will take a refresher course in the art of playwriting, as well as workshops and mentoring sessions.

They will also have short pieces of their work showcased at the three venues, with the full plays to be shown at Graeae in late 2014.

Amit Sharma, associate director of Graeae, said: “The potential of this programme, to see five writers grow under the guidance of some brilliant and innovative artists, is extraordinary and I am very excited to launch Write to Play.

“The experience of our partners combined with the talent of our writers fills me with great hope that by the end of the year we will have exhilarating stories to share.

“I truly believe that the Write to Play programme will give a platform for Deaf and disabled writers to challenge, change and champion their own work as well as the next generation too.”

Vicky Featherstone, artistic director of the Royal Court Theatre, said: “Any programme that aims to support, develop and nurture Deaf and disabled writers is vital to the overall health of theatre and a wonderful opportunity to unveil new writers and stories for our audience.”

News provided by John Pring at