Wellspring

Professional development programme for playwrights and script writers

Timeline

Training sessions:

September – December 2021

Mentoring and writing period:

January – March 2022

Industry showcase:

March / April 2022

For questions or information about the programme, contact us on wellspring@vitalxposure.co.uk

Wellspring is funded by City Bridge Trust

Vital Xposure in partnership with Paines Plough, Bush theatre, Theatre 503 and Hampstead Theatre presents Wellspring, a bespoke professional programme for London based disabled, Neurodivergent and D/deaf playwrights and script writers.

We are very excited to have teamed up with some of the most important disabled writers working in theatre today; Cheryl Martin, Sophie Woolley, Alex Bulmer and Vici Wreford-Sinnott, giving not only their skills, but also their experience of how their careers were built.

The programme aims to give participants the tools and confidence to tell their story in their own unique words. We will connect them with London’s new writing producing theatres, building sustainable relationships and careers.

Watch the trailer below to get a flavour of the programme.

Applications for Wellspring are now closed.

Programme details

Wellsping will support 8 London-based disabled, D/deaf or Neurodivergent writers and playwrights.

The training sessions will run from this September to December 2021.

Participants will take part in an intensive course of creative writing; covering character, plot devices and development, tools of inspiration, language, rhythms of narrative and other technical skills essential to writing a script.

The sessions will be facilitated by Alex Bulmer, Cheryl Martin, Sophie Woolley and Vici Wreford – Sinnott, who will frame the sessions with an explicitly political aim of creating a new vanguard in disabled writing.

During these learning workshops and discussions, each writer will begin work on their own script.

Participants will then be offered a period of one-to-one mentoring by Vital Xposure and partner organisations to support them to develop and write a script for performance (January – March 2022).

A showcase of script excerpts from all of the writers will be presented as part of a rehearsed reading to peers and industry partners (March / April 2022).

Participants
Paula is looking directly into the camera. They are white, have green eyes and very short brown hair.
Paula Brett

Paula is an actor, writer and theatre maker. Their experience spans classical, contemporary and family work, including as a principal puppeteer on In the Night Garden Live and with Illyria Theatre’s production of The Adventures of Doctor Dolittle. They make independent work about mental illness, queer identity and neurodivergence. They can also be heard delivering traffic reports for radio stations across the UK.

Robbie is wearing a dark blue shirt with a collar. He is a short white man with short dark curly hair, and he is giving a smile that shows his teeth and makes his eyes squinty.
Robbie Curran

Robbie Curran is an actor/writer from Walthamstow, and was the first autistic performer to graduate from Oxford School of Drama. Robbie performed his writing debut Thomas at VAULT Festival 2019 (Evening Standard ‘Must See’ show). After Soho Theatre Writers Lab, his play Turnip reached the second round of Papatango 2020. On BBC Writersroom’s ‘Writers Access Group’ 2020/21, Robbie’s play Tuning In was shortlisted for Radio 3’s The Verb, and recently wrote his first comedy-drama spec Aspirational.

Headshot of Carmen, a grinning brown skinned femme with bright green hair in a high ponytail, wearing silver Dame Edna style glasses and a pearl necklace over a black t-shirt.

Carmen D’Cruz

Carmen (she/her or they/them) is a writer, knitter and drag queen originally from Croydon. They are particularly interested in writing about the magic hidden in the everyday, the ways we step in and out of ourselves, and the liminal spaces of our minds.

Nicole, an Indo-Guyanese woman with a half bun smiles at the camera.
Nicole Gem Amorette Latchane

Nicole is a queer, neurodiverse, Indo-Guyanese playwright from London.  Her
plays have won competitions and have been on at several theatres including The Arcola, The Bunker and Southwark Playhouse. She wrote her latest play OCO-2, a dystopia about the climate crisis, on the Royal Court writer’s group.

A white, blonde, 30 something woman laughs at something just off camera. She wears a white top and her hair up on a messy bun.
Gabrielle MacPherson

Gabrielle is an actor and writer, proudly Northern, working class and Neurodiverse. Passionate about feminist driven art and working class stories Gabrielle also believes the best form of potato is chipped with cheese and gravy.

Fatima is looking into the lens of the camera with her hair to one side. She is wearing a denim jacket. She has a blank facial expression.
Fatima Serghini

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.

Long wavy brown hair, green eyes, pale skin, rosy cheeks.
Victoria Taylor Roberts

Victoria is a published writer who has created works for stage, screen and audio. Her stories focus on social issues told through a comedic lens. She is the winner of the EDALYA International Youth Theatre Playwright award (2019) and the Kenneth Branagh Drama Writing Award (2015).

Lilac is a woman of Iranian, Iraqi and Polish heritage in her early 30's. She has curly hair, brown eyes and round cheeks. She is wearing a cream blouse with little grey flowers on it and blue trousers. In the background, there is a theatre light focused in the direction of the viewer. This is a photo of one of Lilac’s previous shows called Jericho's Rose.
Lilac Yosiphon

A freelance writer-director and the artistic director of Althea Theatre. Lilac is passionate about interdisciplinary collaborations and exploring belonging, migration and our perception of home. Writing credits include Home Sweet Home, Stratford Circus, Jackson’s Lane & ARC Stockton; Jericho’s Rose, Hope Theatre and Theatre Deli, Sheffield); One Last Thing (For Now), Old Red Lion Theatre, nominated for an Off-West-End Award for Best Ensemble; and There’s No Place, awarded Outstanding Site Specific, San Diego Fringe 2017.

Tutors
A slim white woman with short-cropped light brown hair is smiling, wearing black sunglasses, a brown leather jacket, and blue jeans, sitting outdoors in front of a harbour with a boat in the background.
Alex Bulmer

A multi-talented artist with over thirty years in the industry, Alex has won acclaim as an actor, writer, playwright and director.  With a career that spans from Canada to the UK and beyond, she was named as one of the most influential disabled artists by UK’s Power Magazine. Alex has worked with such theatre companies as Nightwood, Buddies in Bad Times, Theatre Centre, The National Arts Centre, Red Dress Productions, The Royal Court Theatre and the Royal Shakespeare Company.

She is the co-founder of Invisible Flash UK, Artistic Director of Common Boots Theatre, and Co-Founder and Artistic Director of Cripping the Stage. On screen and radio, Alex has worked with the BBC, the CBC, co-wrote the BAFTA nominated UK series Cast Offs,  and won a Best Actor award at the Moscow International Disability Film Festival for her performance in Awake, directed by Michael Achtman.

Among her many playwriting and screenwriting achievements, Alex wrote Breathe which opened the Sailing Events at the London 2012 Olympic Games. She is the lead Curator for CoMotion Festival 2022, a Deaf and Disability Arts Festival, produced by Harbourfront Centre.  Alex welcomes participatory “Difference Centred Design” for a more equitable world and celebrates the infusion of the disabled experience into the arts.

Cheryl Martin

Cheryl, Co-Artistic Director of both Manchester’s black-led literature NPO Commonword and Black Gold Arts, has worked as a poet, playwright, and director, and was a former Associate Director, New Writing/New Work at Contact and Director-in-Residence at Edinburgh’s Traverse. She was also lucky enough be part of the 2019-2020 British Council Australia INTERSECT programme.

A Manchester Evening News Theatre Award winner as both writer [musical Heart and Soul, Oldham Coliseum Theatre] and director [Iron by Rona Munro, Contact], Cheryl co-produced and co-directed an Edinburgh Fringe First winner for the Traverse [The World Is Too Much].

Cheryl’s first solo stage show Alaska, about growing up with severe depression, featured at 2016’s A Nation’s Theatre, and 2019’s Summerhall Edinburgh Fringe and Wellcome Festival of Minds and Bodies in London.

Her film One Woman, commissioned by Unlimited and the Wellcome Trust, is touring national and international festivals, including Homotopia, Sem Barreiras Brazil, the Southbank Unlimited Festival, and L’Altre in Barcelona.

She directed a short film for Graeae’s Crips Without Constraints, The Gift, written by new black artist Leanna Benjamin and featuring three-times-Olivier winner Sharon D. Clarke and rising star Saida Ahmed.

Looking to the future: Besides hoping to turn her film One Woman into a nationally-touring stage show in 2022, Cheryl is finally writing her first novel, The Devil’s Own Luck.

A white woman with strawberry blond bobbed hair, plain tunic, and a bright expression.
Sophie Woolley

Sophie is a writer and performer. In 2019 she set up Augmented Productions, which became an associate company of Told by an Idiot in its inaugural year.

Stage plays include Augmented, (directed by Rachel Bagshaw and produced by Told by an Idiot), When to Run (produced by renaissanceone) Fight Face and Bee Detective, (directed by Gemma Fairlie and produced by Tin Bath Theatre).

Sophie also writes for TV and Radio. TV credits include EastEnders and Casualty. BBC Radio 4 plays include Carbon Cleansing and Absolutely Delish (Grazing episode).

Current work includes EastEnders and her new short film, Best in Lockdown, a collaboration with Dudley Rees and Told by an Idiot.

Vici is a white woman in her fifties with blond spiky hair. A portrait photograph, she is standing on a stage looking upwards smiling.
Vici Wreford-Sinnott

Vici is an award-winning disabled theatre writer/director, screenwriter, activist and equality strategist whose work tours nationally and internationally, and now digitally. She is the Artistic Director of Little Cog which is a disabled-led theatre company based in the North East of England. Vici has been active in the UK Disability Arts movement for almost thirty years, and has developed a number of pioneering projects, productions and models of equality practice, to ensure that the stories of disabled people are placed centre-stage in culture.

Vici has produced a number of lockdown productions including Siege and The Wrong Woman Discussions for Home Manchester, co-commissioned by ARC Stockton where she is an Associate Artist. She wrote, directed and also appears in Funny Peculiar starring Liz Carr (BBC Silent Witness), Mandy Colleran (Comedian and activist) and Bea Webster (Royal Shakespeare Company and Playwrights Studio, Scotland). Vici is currently collaborating with the award winning journalist Frances Ryan on the BBC commissioned Hen Night, inspired by Frances’ book Crippled, due for summer 2021 broadcast. Vici’s radio drama Half Way There about disabled women over 50 is in development and has been commissioned for Durham International Book Festival by New Writing North.

Vici’s original theatre work includes Butterfly (Best One Person Play 2018 British Theatre Guide, National Tour), Lighthouse (bilingual piece in English and BSL, British Premiere ARC Stockton), Another England (National Tour), The Art Of Not Getting Lost (ARC Stockton and Northern Stage), Vote for Caliban (Northern Stage), Deadly Devotchka (Edinburgh Fringe), Moll Cutpurse: A Comedy for the 21st Century (UK and Ireland Tour). Vici has many directing credits, and has mentored many disabled writers to bring their work to the stage. She was commissioned by Disability Arts Online to create a recorded writing session for disabled theatre writers which she called The Great British Stage Swindle. It has been shared on the Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting resources page.

Delivery partners
Black letters on white read Paines Plough

Paines Plough is the UK’s national theatre of new plays. They commission and produce the best playwrights and tour their plays far and wide. Whether you’re in Liverpool or Lyme Regis, Scarborough or Southampton, a Paines Plough show is coming to a theatre near you soon.

Paines Plough was formed in 1974 over a pint of Paines bitter in the Plough pub. Since then they’ve produced more than 130 new productions by world renowned playwrights like Stephen Jeffreys, Abi Morgan, Sarah Kane, Mark Ravenhill, Dennis Kelly and Mike Bartlett. They’ve toured those plays to hundreds of places from Manchester to Moscow to Maidenhead.

Their Programme 2015 saw 12 productions by the nation’s finest writers touring to 84 places from Cornwall to the Orkney Islands; in village halls and Off-Broadway, at music festivals and student unions, online and on radio, and in our own pop-up theatre Roundabout.

With Programme 2016 they continue to tour the length and breadth of the UK from clubs and pubs to lakeside escapes and housing estates. Roundabout hosts our most ambitious Edinburgh Festival Fringe programme ever and brings mini-festivals to each stop on its Autumn tour. They’re extending our digital reach by live streaming shows and launching the free Come To Where I’m From app featuring over 100 audio plays.

Black letters on white read Bush Theatre.

Opened in 1972, the Bush Theatre is an internationally renowned ‘new writing powerhouse whose size belies its influence’ (Financial Times).

A champion of playwrights and operating in one of the most culturally diverse areas of London, the Bush Theatre has a commitment to its local community and the wider artistic community braiding these two strands of work together to produce an engaging and challenging programme that reflects the world we live in.

Recent successes include Arinzé Kene’s Misty which transferred to the West End and opens in New York in 2021, Jellyfish, Ben Weatherill’s love story about a young woman with Down’s Syndrome which transferred to the National Theatre, a re-imagining of Jackie Kay’s 1986 masterpiece, Chiaroscuro, directed by the Bush’s Artistic Director Lynette Linton and the co-production of Richard Gadd’s Baby Reindeer, which won the Olivier Award for ‘Outstanding Achievement in an Affiliate Theatre’ and opens in the West End in 2021.

The Bush Theatre’s talent development programmes discover and develop the very best of the UK’s leading artists often through the theatre’s submissions scheme.  We believe our theatre has a responsibility to programme and generate opportunities for new and established makers and with long-term residencies, add to the sustainability of their careers.

Since re-opening in March 2017 after a year-long £4.3 million renovation by architects Haworth Tompkins, the Bush strives to create a space where all communities can be part of our future and call this theatre home.

www.bushtheatre.co.uk

A magenta square with white coloured areas. The letters at its centre read 'Theatre' in white and '503' in magenta encircled in white.

Theatre503 is at the forefront of identifying and nurturing new voices at the very start of their careers and launching them to the industry. They stage more early career playwrights than another theatre in the world – with over 120 writers premiered each year from festivals of short pieces to full length productions, resulting in employment for over 1,000 freelance artists through their year-round programme.

Theatre503 provides a diverse pipeline of talent resulting in modern classics like “The Mountaintop” by Katori Hall and “Rotterdam” by Jon Brittain – both Olivier Award winners – to future classics like Yasmin Joseph’s “J’Ouvert”, winner of the 2020 James Tait Black Prize and transferring to the West End/BBC Arts and “Wolfie” by Ross Willis, winner of the 2020 Writers Guild Award for Best New Play. Writers who began their creative life at Theatre503 are now writing for the likes of “The Crown”, “Succession”, “Doctor Who”, “Killing Eve” and “Normal People” and every single major subsidised theatre in the country now boasts a new play by a writer who started at Theatre503.

www.theatre503.com

Black letters on white background. The capital letter H in large font on the left half of the image, the capital letter T is formed within the white space of the letter's bottom half. The words Hampstead Theatre on the right of the image, written vertically from bottom to top.

Hampstead Theatre is the home of original and entertaining new writing. Since 1959, our simple mission was to create original theatre without creative restriction. We quickly attracted a generation of talent that helped to redefine British Theatre. From Harold Pinter testing out his early plays to the likes of Mike Leigh, Michael Frayn, Abi Morgan, Rona Munro, Shelagh Stephenson – original thinkers, every one.

Our mission has not changed. We see ourselves as part of a rich tradition that stretches back to the age of Shakespeare. A tradition that mixes craftsmanship with entrepreneurship. Commercial success with critical acclaim. And a creative eye that seeks out variety – from Olivier Award winning musicals like Sunny Afternoon to mould-breaking plays like The Arrest of Ai Weiwei, The Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide to Capitalism and Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures, Good People, Wonderland and Chariots of Fire.

Our state of the art auditoriums (Main Stage and our intimate Downstairs studio) allows our writers, actors, directors maximum creative flexibility. It’s from this base that we will take our work to the wider world. On Tour. To the West End. To the Internet. Here’s to the future – it belongs to those who cherish originality.

www.hampsteadtheatre.com