Theatr Clwyd’s Writer in Residence Scheme
Part of TYFU | GROW
Our Creative Development Programme
Generously supported by the Gladstone’s Library
We are a home for writers in Wales, offering the time and space to write within a community of fellow artists without the pressure of ‘showing’ or producing something. We offer residencies connected to our in-house productions so that writers can get to know other artists working here, spend time observing rehearsals and develop ideas in a supportive environment. The Writer in Residence Scheme is generously supported by Gladstone’s Library.
If you’re interested in further opportunities like this, then please keep an eye on this page – applications will open again in the Autumn.
We’re really looking forward to welcoming our new Writers in Residence for 2019!…
Sami Ibrahim (Mar – Apr ’19)
Sami’s most recent full-length play, Wind Bit Bitter, Bit Bit Bit Her, had a run at VAULT Festival 2018 – after it was shortlisted for Soho Theatre’s Tony Craze Award and published by Nick Hern Books. His most recent short play The Palestinian in the basement is on fire was performed at Pint Sized’s October Fest at The Bunker Theatre. His piece Iron Dome Fog Dome was staged at The Yard during their last First Drafts season.
More about Sami...
He’s also worked at the Almeida as a Creative Board member, where he produced and was dramaturg on From the Ground Up. This was an immersive piece, set in Shoreditch Town Hall, which was created with a group of 16-25 year olds, and which transferred up to Edinburgh last summer. Other writing credits include Force of Trump, which had runs at Theatre N16, The Space and the Brockley Jack Theatre – where his short play, Carnivore, was also performed during the Write Now 7 Festival. He is currently a member of Tamasha Writers Group and the Oxford Playhouse’s Playmaker Scheme.
Carys Lewis (Mar – Apr ’19)
Carys Lewis is Welsh-Canadian writer and director. She is currently the Filmmaker in Residence at the Welsh National Opera where she has created trilogy of films (Gram Girl, Alt, Fluorescence), each responding to the theme of ‘revolution’. As a writer, she is co-writing a feature film with playwright Trey Anthony, How Black Mothers Say I Love You, supported by TeleFilm Canada & Ffilm Cymru Wales, optioned by Conquering Lion Productions (Clement Virgo).
More about Carys...
Carys is also developing a one-hour drama with the CBC and is currently developing a feature screenplay with support of Ffilm Cymru Wales called Off Trac. Her Welsh-language short film, Afiach, premiered at the Iris Prize Festival and was screened on S4C. Her latest documentary short, Ernest, premiered at the Wales International Documentary Festival and is now making the festival circuit. Carys has recently completed post-production on Stuffed, a BFI funded short film, which she wrote and directed.
As an advocate for equal representation of women in front of and behind the camera, Carys is the founder of two organizations – FEM Script Lab, a writing lab for female and non-binary screenwriters in Toronto, and has launched the sister branch of the lab; SHIFFT Script Lab in the UK.
Louise Osborn (Jul ’19)
Trained originally as an Actress, Louise has worked as a Writer and Director in Theatre, Television and Radio. She has worked with Mersey T.V and Channel 4, B.B.C Radio 4, Theatr Powys (Artistic Director), Sherman Theatre Cymru (Writer and Director),The National Theatre of Wales, Hijinx Theatre (Associate Director), Pontardawe Arts Centre (Artistic lead on Chrysalis Theatre Artist Development Programme) Gwent Theatre, Welsh National Opera and The Forget me Not Chorus, Welsh Refugee Council, JUKEBOX Collective, Theatre Iolo, Likely Story Theatre, A.C.W Lead Creative Schools, and many smaller companies.
More about Louise...
Particularly known for her work for young people, Louise has had twelve of her plays produced by different companies. Earlier in her writing career she wrote over 40 episodes of serial drama ‘Hollyoaks’. Louise tutors regularly at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Acting, Improvisation and Storytelling with Young Actors Studio. She has her own award winning company The Roar Ensemble. Her play Maudie’s Rooms won best production for Young People, Wales Theatre Critics Awards.
Samantha O’Rourke (Jul ’19)
Samantha O’Rourke is a playwright and dramaturg living in North Wales. She is currently Writer on Attachment with Liverpool’s Everyman Playhouse. Recent projects include No Persons Only Women (Volcano Theatre, Swansea), Quantum (YEP, Everyman Playhouse) and Unbind the Wing (Pigtown Theatre/ National Trust). She is currently writing Bluebeard for Camisado Club and developing short film Jelly as part of Ffilm Cymru’s Beacons. Sam is also a Writer at Work with Literature Wales and Hay Festival.
Ming Ho (Aug – Sept ’19)
Ming began her career in TV drama development, script editing series such as Hamish Macbeth for BBC and Bodyguards for ITV. She subsequently wrote for EastEnders, Casualty, Heartbeat and The Bill. Her debut BBC Radio 4 play, The Things We Never Said, starring Lia Williams and Siân Phillips, won Best Radio Drama in the Writers’ Guild.
Awards 2018. For Radio 4, she also wrote comedy drama Riot Girls: Male Order.
More about Ming...
Film projects have won her places on BFI/Bird’s Eye View Filmonomics 2016 and Maison des Scénaristes International Screenwriters’ Pavilion, Cannes 2015. Stage play Exhumation was workshopped at the Royal Court Theatre, London, directed by Lucy Morrison; for Leeds Playhouse, Ming co-created a verbatim play with members of the Leeds Hamari Yaadain Memory Café (Every Third Minute Festival & tour, 2018); and her live audio drama, Citizens of Nowhere?, commissioned by Chinese Arts Now for London Southbank Centre in 2018, returns to Chinese Arts Now Festival 2019 and on tour.
Of mixed British-Chinese heritage, Ming looks forward to exploring stories inspired by her Welsh mother’s family during her residency at Theatr Clwyd.
Hefin Robinson (Aug – Sept ’19)
Originally from Carmarthen, Hefin is a bilingual writer who works in English and Welsh. He attended Aberystwyth University and pursued further training at LAMDA. As a playwright, he has worked with a number of Welsh theatre companies including Dirty Protest, Mess Up The Mess and The Other Room. His prize-winning play Estron (Alien) toured Wales during spring 2018 in a production by Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru.
Take a look at some of the past Writers in Residence and their thoughts on the experience:
Past Writers in Residence:
Manon Wyn Jones (Sept '17)
For some years Manon has been writing mainly for television, specifically on the Pobol y Cwm and Deian and Loli series, as well as adapting cartoons such as Paw Patrol and Bear Hunt into Welsh. In earlier years she has been co-author on the stage production, Drws Arall I’r Coed for Sgript Cymru and Dominos for Theatr Genedlaethol. She also staged her first full length drama Dau Un Un Dim for the same company. She is the mother of three children.
“Roedd penderfyniad Theatr Clwyd i gynnig y cynllun preswyl arbennig hwn i awdur benywaidd, Cymraeg ei hiaith, yn teimlo fel pe bai wedi ei greu ar fy nghyfer i. O’n i’n ysu am ysgogiad i fentro’n ôl i fyd theatr ers tro – a hwn oedd o. Yn wir, bu’n gyfle amhrisiadwy. Roedd y fraint o gael gweithio o fewn muria’ theatr brysur, â sawl cynhyrchiad ar waith, yn creu cynnwrf a chymhelliad i sgwennu, yn ogystal â’r cyfle i gael picio i mewn ac allan o’u hymarferion. Roedd Llyfrgell Gladstone yn encil hyfryd gyda’r nos, yn ddihangfa prin o brysurdeb arferol bywyd! Roedd yr holl brofiad yn wych. Diolch, Theatr Clwyd, am y cyfle.”
Tracy Harris (Aug '17)
Tracy Harris is a writer, performance artist and filmmaker. Her plays include Past Away (Sgript Cymru) The Cloak Room (Sherman Cymru/ Mighty Theatre, Washington) and No Vacancies (Sherman Cymru) which has been commissioned by spinning head films as a feature film that is being produced in 2018. Along with Chris Rushton, she produced BBC Bafta nominated documentaries Swansea Living on the Streets and Selling Sex to Survive. Her first one-woman show Lost, Found, Stolen was developed through NTW’ WalesLab programme and was performed at Sprint Festival at Camden’s People’s Theatre and Volcano Theatre. Her second show Bottled developed with Greg Wohead and Justin Cliffe was at Experimentica, Chapter and Bristol Ferment. She was the recipient of the 2015 Creative Wales award and recently devised and created Twenty16 with Theatre Iolo and her recent play came runner up in the Richard Carne playwriting award at Sherman Theatre.
“I loved having a week at Theatr Clwyd and Gladstone’s library. I felt very lucky to have the time and space to work on a new play and be completely open to new ideas. I felt inspired by a caring and welcoming team. Being free to be able to go in and out of rehearsals for Uncle Vanya was a real privilege and the creativity and buzz really influenced my writing. A brilliant scheme – loved every minute!”
Keiran Lynn (Apr '17)
Kieran Lynn’s play AN INCIDENT AT THE BORDER was performed at the Finborough Theatre, before transferring to the West End. It has subsequently been performed around the world and broadcast on BBC Radio 4. His other plays include BUNNIES (Bike Shed Theatre), THE RECURRING RISE AND FALL (Hampstead Theatre), PUSHING POPPIES (Theatre 503) BREAKING THE ICE (Traverse Theatre/Oran Mor Theatre) and THE TRAP (Omnibus Theatre). His plays are published by Oberon Books.
“Theatr Clwyd is a theatre with big ambitions and it was an incredible experience to see this up close and to begin a relationship that I hope will have a bright future. I loved my time as Writer in Residence, which was part spent writing at (possibly the most perfect place for it) Gladstone’s Library and part at the theatre, a bustling, multidisciplinary hub for the arts. Both parts were equally inspiring and exciting, and I left full of new ideas for plays and beyond. Even now as I meet with theatre producers and artistic directors around the country, everyone always asks about my engagement with Theatr Clwyd and I’m more than happy to tell them how much I enjoyed my time there and respect it as a theatre. Wherever you’re at in your writing career, I can’t recommend this programme enough.”
Ben Norris (Jan '17)
Ben is an actor, writer and spoken-word artist, and trained at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. His work has been broadcast across BBC radio, his debut short film for Channel 4 was shortlisted for a Royal Television Society Award, and his first solo show, ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Family’, won the IdeasTap Underbelly Award at the 2015 Edinburgh Fringe before touring the UK to huge acclaim. It has since been nominated for the Ted Hughes Award. Other writing for the stage has been performed or workshopped at Nottingham Playhouse, Theatre 503, Leicester Curve, Derby Theatre, and the Royal Court.
“Being writer-in-residence at Theatr Clwyd was an incredibly restorative experience for me, both as an artist and as a human being. Having the time and space to write and to think, away from the pressures and distractions of everyday freelance life, is such a rare and special gift, and evidence of Clwyd’s genuine commitment to the development of new writers. Working without the obligation to produce something ironically meant that I had one of the most productive fortnights of my professional life so far, facilitated no end by the quiet focus of both the writers’ room at the theatre and the beautiful Gladstone’s library. Having access to the rehearsal room was also very inspiring, especially on the days when I felt my focus slide a little; I would pop in for an hour, or half a day, and leave feeling re-energised by Tamara and the ‘Skylight’ cast, and attack my writing with renewed vigour.
Opportunities like this are increasingly rare, and increasingly vital. I am very grateful for the time I spent in Mold, and hope many more writers have the chance to do the same.”
Matthew Bulgo (Nov '16)
Matthew is an actor and playwright. His debut play, Last Christmas, was originally co-produced by Dirty Protest and Theatr Clwyd before receiving critical acclaim at the Edinburgh Fringe and the Soho Theatre. It will be returning for a run at the Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh in December ’16. Other work includes Constellation Street (The Other Room) and #YOLO (National Theatre Connections). He was the recipient of the Best Playwright (English Language) award at the Wales Theatre Awards 2015.
“I wouldn’t be exaggerating if I said that I got more work done during my time as Theatr Clwyd’s Writer in Residence than I did during the previous three months. The scheme provided me those two things that are so often lacking – time and space in which to create – whilst at the same time removing the immediate pressures of a deadline or having to share work at the end of the attachment. I’m massively grateful for the opportunity given to me by both Theatr Clwyd and Gladstone’s library.”
Catrin Fflur Huws (Sept '16)
Catrin is the author of To Kill A Machine (which was nominated for 4 Wales Theatre Awards in 2016), Rain of Blood as well as shorter plays for Scriptography Productions EarCandy, PlayPen and Response Time projects.
“Theatr Clwyd and Gladstone’s Library’s writer in residence scheme is an excellent initiative. I learned such a lot during my two weeks there, and having the opportunity to talk to so many of the people who make a show what it is was extremely enlightening and helpful. I was very privileged to be able to see what happens when you put Wales Drama Awards 2016’s best director, best actor and best actress together in rehearsals – it has really raised the bar for me in terms of what good theatre ought to look like, and what I want to aspire to. Gladstone’s Library was a lovely, quiet place to work – that’s a very rare and precious thing these days where so many libraries have become places for talking. The staff at both venues were extremely helpful and kind and very welcoming. I had a very good time indeed. Thank you ever so much Theatr Clwyd. Thank you ever so much Gladstone’s Library.”
Neil Bebber (Jun - Jul '16)
After winning Script Slam with SEVEN PEOPLE at Sherman Cymru, Neil went on to receive Guardian reviews for his plays CUL DE SAC (Exeter Bikeshed) and STRAIGHT (Tactile Bosch, Cardiff). He’s since had work performed at Sherman Cymru, The Other Room, Chapter and Dirty Protest, Cardiff, as well as at Riverside Studios, Old Vic Tunnels and Almeida Theatre, London.
“Somewhere between inspiring visits to two different plays in rehearsal and regular visits to the designated Writer’s Room, I was able to fashion a new play which felt different to anything I’ve written previously. All this provided by an incredibly friendly, encouraging and accommodating team. When can I come back?”
Alun Saunders (Apr - May '16)
Alun’s play, A Good Clean Heart, was The Other Room’s first piece of new writing – the new production for 2016 visits Edinburgh Fringe before touring venues across Wales.
“Writing time is precious, and is impossible to put a ‘price’ on. The opportunity given to me by Theatr Clwyd, the time and space to write for a week on an unspecified piece, with no pressure to deliver on a commission, or ‘performance’ was utterly invaluable. Diolch yn fawr iawn.”
Kelly Jones (Mar - Apr '16)
Winner of the BBC Wales Drama Award 2014, Kelly is originally from the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham and has been working in Wales since 2007.
“Time and space to write without the pressure of a deadline is a luxury. It’s the main reason that this program is integral to writer development. I had a very productive time at Theatr Clwyd and felt supported by all the core team and the JUMPY Company.”
Lucy Rivers (Feb - Mar '16)
Lucy is a writer, composer, actor and musician, and is co-founder of the multi-award-winning company Gagglebabble.
“I was lucky enough to spend a week at Theatr Clwyd early this year as their Writer in Residence. It gave me a great opportunity to start working on a new gig-theatre idea and since then I’ve continued to develop this show with the help of Arts Council of Wales funding and The Other Room. Staying at the beautiful Gladstone Library and having a room to write in, away from everything but surrounded by other artists working in the theatre, was a valuable experience.”