Hello, my name is Fatima and I own two ring lights.
I was named after my two grandmothers, both called Fatima. They had the most extraordinary Amazigh (Berber) tattoos on their faces. The ancient Berber tradition of facial tattooing of women was a mark of cultural identity, womanhood and beauty, but is fast dying out in today’s Morocco. Fast forward to me…Fatima generation 2022… to be honest, I sometimes spend more time at my vanity desk with my ring lights obsessing over skincare than I do at my writing desk.
That said, I love plays, I could read plays for days on days, talk about plays for days on days and watch plays for days on days.
I wanted to join Wellspring so I could be with a group of people who also wanted to talk about theatre. And write plays for days on days and more importantly, to be encouraged to spend more time at my writing desk.
The biggest highlight of the programme for me has been my mentorship with Paines Plough. I was already a huge fan of some of the writers they had worked with in the past. I watched I Wanna Be Yours at the Bush Theatre in 2019 and was so excited and in love with Zia Ahmed’s writing. I recently finished reading Sabrina Mahfouz’s 2018 play, With a Little Bit of Luck, and feel so inspired and energised by her work. I was over the moon to be paired with Paines Plough. Dream. Come. True.
My three top tips to playwrights looking for professional support, is read – read – read – plays. I have learnt so much from reading, I have been moved to the brink of tears and made to roar with laughter. Last year I read, You for Me For You, by Mia Chung, and learned so much about magical realism that I started to use it in my own work. My second tip is to watch plays when you can and watch different plays, not just ones you like. Finally, it’s not a race, there will always be another job, another submission rolling around, so you can take your shot as many times as you like!
My piece for Wellspring is inspired by my father’s and my late uncle’s time in Billy Smart’s Circus. It was a very big circus in the 60’s – a 6000 seater tent, the largest in Europe and for some years the largest touring tent show in the world.
Moroccans were always present in large numbers – always as tumbling artistes and often working in the stables and as “Ring Boys” – responsible for taking props in and out of the ring during shows. They were always there in the thick of it during build up’s and pull down’s. My play, Rock the Casbah, is a love story of twin brothers who become estranged. It explores themes of class, race and love.
When I’m not watching 12 Step Skincare Routines YouTube tutorials, I am an associate artist at Stockroom (formerly known as Out of Joint), training to be a Dramaturg. Stockroom is a Theatre Writers Room dedicated to script creation and a radical new approach to playwriting. I am part of a creative team on an exciting verbatim project with writer and actor Tonderai Munyevu. I am honoured to be a mentee of the legendary screenwriter and director of the Writers’ Guild Lisa Holdsworth. At the end of last year, I landed my first telly job in a writers’ room on a Netflix Show. I do believe these are very exciting times to be an emerging writer (with ring lights!).
Fatima Serghini, Wellspring Writer 2021 – 2022
Fatima is an emerging West London writer. She is interested in producing stories about human diversity and inviting audiences to see worlds not accessible to them. Her stories are funny, sexy, and direct.
Wellspring is Vital Xposure’s professional development programme for London-based disabled, d/Deaf and neurodivergent playwrights and script writers, funded by City Bridge Trust and delivered in partnership with Paines Plough, Bush theatre, Theatre 503 and Hampstead Theatre.