Tag Archive for: City Bridge Trust

We are super thrilled to share our new short film!

It is an invitation to join forces with Vital Xposure, because together, we can excite and thrill, we can top the bill. 

Created with a fantastic team of disabled, d/Deaf and Neurodivergent artists, creatives and crew, we are ever so grateful for adding their touch to this film.

Big thanks to the dynamic duo at Hot Coals Productions for producing this film, and to City Bridge Foundation and Media Trust for their support.

 

Watch the film with BSL and creative captions:

 

Watch the film with BSL, creative captions and audio description:

 

Production stills by Jessica Sansom

 

Film credits

Clare-Louise English, Director

Jack Hunter, Writer

Jo Sargeant, Producer

Fleur Nieddu, Executive Producer

Foteini Galanopoulou, Executive Producer

 

Cast: Jack Hunter, Sophie Stone

 

John Baker, Director of Photography

Jo Sargeant, Production Designer

Ben Clayton, Editor

Martin-Felix Kaczmarski, Music

Jessica Sansom, Stills photography

Viki Carter, First Assistant Director

Sean Morrison, Script Supervisor

Michael Griggs, Sound Recordist

Luke Gee: First Assistant Camera

Teresa Thornber-Mann, Runner

Sabri Patel, Runner

Abi James-Miller, Runner

Adrian Sandu-Yota, Sound Editor

Andrei Gaidanov, Re-recording Mixer

Ben Glover, Captions Design

Ben Clayton, Colourist

Ademadola Bajomo, Audio Description

Evie Jones, Access Co-ordinator

Anna Kitson, BSL Interpreter

Julie Hornsby, BSL Interpreter

 

With thanks to: Moritz Valero, Loraine Stewart Scott, Courtyard Theatre, Screen South, TheisCraft

 

Produced by Hot Coals Productions

Supported by City Bridge Trust and Media Trust

Ladies, fellas and gentleTHEMs. I am here, a disabled, part Irish, queer. Allegedly anyway, I could be Swedish.

As I type this I’m colouring a white bin I got from Ikea with a felt tip pen, it’s easing my anxiety despite being the most inefficient way to have a green bin.

Why am I anxious? Could be I’m writing this five hours after my partner discovered a leak in the kitchen, two days after sending my script to my mentor, one week after moving home, one month after starting a new job.

*Phew*

I’m ashamed to admit I hated reading and writing as a kid, but one day I saw a god ugly pink faux snakeskin notebook that thirteen year old emo-esque me just HAD TO HAVE.

And then, all at once my maladaptive daydreaming had a purpose and somewhere deep inside there was a little spark  going “Finally, took you long enough”.

The first story was a YA Sci Fi war and was quite frankly terrible. That notebook took up 80 pages of dyslexic scribble, imagine every angsty and embarrassing thought you had as a teenager compiled into one illegible book from Beales. I never reread any of it. But I did carry on scribbling new stories.

I kept that little spark hidden for years until I finally said the words out loud, I started to actually dip my toes into the written waters. And here I am, absolutely joyous to say hello.

My fellow Wellspringers (please read in a Texan accent), are all amazing.

Can’t decide if I’m mildly in love or want to be them. They were all a great help regarding my main weakness which is in fact critique. I have spent my life around very grumpy artistic types who will say “Yeah I enjoyed that” only to then list sixteen things they hated about it, so I was always stubborn about saying how scripts made me feel. But I’ve learned from them, I can analyse art and be kind.

I’ve honestly loved Wellspring more than anything, every lesson encouraged me to write in a way I never experienced trying to do it on my own. I’m now better than I was six months ago and the urge to write is never waning like it used to.

My play is supposed to be a surreal comedy about a record shop on an asteroid. There’s also a tissue paper monster and a saxophone player, the one sax musician I know will probably want to star in it now.

Sorry, Jon. It’s a no from me.

That little spark wants desperately for this to be the start of my writing career but that same little spark also wants to be a duckling. My goal is for this to be the first of many plays, but if it isn’t? I’ve still gained a deeper love of theatre, earned more friends and self confidence than I had my entire life.

No matter what, that spark now knows she’s a writer.

Ellie Dunn (she / her), Wellspring Writer 2023 – 2024

 

Ellie has been working in TV and film since 2019 and has seen it all. She was diagnosed with dyslexia at the age of nine, dyspraxia at the age of eleven and by twenty she developed a chronic case costochondritis which she likes to claim is “a bit annoying”.

Instagram: @eibhlin.de.paor

LinkedIn: Ellie Dunn

Four years ago, sitting in a circle in my drama school and reading a play out loud, my heart started racing, all the words were moving. No matter how much I focused, I couldn’t get them in order. A week later, I was diagnosed with severe ADHD and Dyslexia, at the age of 29! I lived my life in the dark, for 29 years.

To be honest, somewhere I always knew something was there, but never wanted to find out exactly what. In India, there’s no such thing as dyslexia, you are “lazy and slow”. The day I got my diagnosis, I started my journey of acceptance.

My name is Mohit Mathur, I am an Indian actor/dancer/deviser-writer. I call myself a “deviser-writer” because I am still trying to find a method of playwriting that works for me. I have never written a full-fledged play, I always thought I didn’t have any intelligent words to use or profound things to say, words that would move people.

However, I have always felt the need to write, to share ideas, and in the search for tools to help me, I landed on the Wellspring programme.

It was through this programme I realised that what I have to say is important, it matters.

The course taught us to be kind to ourselves as playwrights. We’ve been introduced to new writing theatres in London. They de-mystified the process of playwriting. They showed us that if we spend some time on it, we can create more accessible work including people from all sections of society.

Through the Wellspring programme, I’ve discovered the value of self-compassion, especially during challenging times. As a playwright and creative, self-love has proven to be an essential aspect of my journey. Surprisingly, the most impactful moment in the programme was not directly related to writing but rather a meeting with Foteini regarding the Access rider. Prior to this encounter, I was unaware of this support, and Foteini graciously guided me in crafting my own, highlighting the programme’s commitment to my growth and well-being.

Being from India, I feel there is such a big part of my culture that isn’t represented in the most authentic form on the UK’s stages. Through Wellspring, I wish to bring some of those stories to life.

The piece I am currently writing is a one person show about a call centre employee from India, who, having spent years talking to people from Great Britain, has built the dream to live there someday. When he finally does make it there, he turns into a victim of modern day slavery in the UK.

It is a fantastical, absurd piece exploring the concept of “the grass is greener on the other side”. Being an immigrant myself, I feel both connected and disconnected with this story. I wish to explore how our common colonial past creates a sense of connection, while micro-aggressions and bias are still rooted in the system.

Through my writing, I aim to share intersectional stories and narratives from India and strive to foster understanding, dialogue, and empathy, challenging the barriers that lead to misunderstandings. I would love audiences leaving the theatre to consider how we all sometimes want more, often overlooking what we already have and wishing for what others possess. Yet, even when we attain what others may have, this often leaves us unsatisfied.

Mohit Mathur (he / him), Wellspring Writer 2023 – 2024

 

Mohit is an Indian actor/ dancer/theatre maker, a graduate from the Drama Centre London. Recently seen on the West End show “Life Of Pi”. As an artist he is currently exploring concepts of Immigration, intergenerational trauma and Britain’s colonial impact on India.

Instagram: @mohitmathur26

X (formerly known as Twitter): @iMohitMathur

Facebook: @mohitmathur26

Hello! I’m Emma Prendergast and I am a working-class, writing-focused actor-deviser most recently working as an actor playing Athena in the National Theatre’s The Odyssey, a project that featured over 160 community artists! I am interested in writing and telling stories that centre Queer, Disabled, Working class people; to explore how they navigate the world or maybe how the world navigates them!

I grew up in Romford Essex and had never met anyone who had built career as a writer, actor or in any sector of the arts. I was the first in my family to go to university and until then I often felt I didn’t have the language, connections or the financial support to access programmes critical to my development as a young artist.

Last year I became profoundly deaf in my right ear overnight and suddenly had a lot of time to recover and assess what I wanted to do and how to develop myself as a creative. I was searching for writing groups who focused on new writers that were specifically neuro-diverse, Deaf and Disabled when I came across Vital Xposure. This programme has been central to my confidence as a new writer, where I could turn up authentically as myself and use all my energy in learning rather than masking – this was a shared feeling amongst the group! I feel I have built a thick toolkit of writing skills, taught by extraordinarily skilled and diverse mentors.

I am passionate about creating work that has snappy dialogue, poetry, strong visual elements, physical theatre and I am looking to expand my technical skills so I can explore multi-sensory theatre with the aim of creating shows with both visual and auditory storytelling. I am interested in projects that lead with accessibility, inclusion and equity.

The piece I am developing with Vital Xposure’s Writers Programme is named ‘I Hear You.’ I hope it is a complex exploration of identity politics and opens up conversations about language, class and access/lack of access to disability support – all whilst making you chuckle. I hope audiences of deaf, queer, and working class people find parts of their story within it, and I get to hear how their experiences have influenced and moulded their characters.

My top writing tip would be: The satisfaction of telling people you are writing can feel more satisfying than writing itself and stop you from actually creating; make first, tell second! Be curious! Be playful. Be precise. Be clear. Have good snacks. And take a nap! We deserve to be here, and we shouldn’t have to diminish our access needs to.

I hope the industry continues to employ, listen and learn from Disabled artists; and then put that learning into action for the next generation; and I am committed to ensuring my practice continuously develops as I listen and learn, with ever-changing expansion.

Emma Prendergast (a.k.a. Em) (she/them), Wellspring Writer 2023 – 2024

 

Emma is a deaf, working class, writing-focused actor-deviser. The stories they develop often centre conversations around queerness, class, and disability, informed by their lived experience. They love poetry, visual narrative, and stories filled with joy.

Credits include: A Christmas Carol Hulltruck/Leeds Playhouse, MESSY, ZOOCO; The Witchfinder’s Sister, Queens Theatre Hornchurch. Script development/R&D include: Queens Theatre Hornchurch Youth Company plays; BOSSY, ZOOCO

Website: https://www.iml.org.uk/emma-prendergast

X (formerly known as Twitter): @EmmaPrender

Instagram: @emmaprender

Hi, I’m Jesse and I’m a queer crip writer with a passion for telling authentic, complex and joyful stories about trans and disabled people.

Through Wellspring, I am developing a play about queer crip sex and relationships, navigating kink in a world that sees disabled bodies as weak, monstrous or medicalised, and coming to terms with physical illness as a transmasculine person.

When I became disabled, I looked everywhere for representations of trans disabled people having a hot, empowering sex, and I found almost nothing; so this is my love letter to everyone with a non-normative bodymind who is redefining what sex, power and community means to them and, in doing so, expanding what is possible for everyone; regardless of gender, sexuality or ability.

I am really excited about how theatre is evolving to include a more diverse spectrum of voices, especially after a classical theatre training a decade ago, where old white men were heralded as the source of all knowledge. I hope to see more and more of this, as well as adequate funding for the arts, and more robust safeguarding practices and mental health support for creatives.

When I took a break from writing for theatre five years ago, I was feeling disillusioned and downtrodden. Being part of the Wellspring cohort has completely changed that for me; reigniting my lifelong passion for theatre and giving me the confidence I need to tell the stories that matter to me most – stories that have been growing beneath the surface of my skin for many years. I have particularly enjoyed connecting with, and learning from, other disabled writers; both through community with Wellspring participants, and through workshops with more established disabled theatre-makers. Their wisdom and expertise has been invaluable and I feel honoured to be in conversation with them.

Jesse Stone (they / them), Wellspring Writer 2023 – 2024

Jesse is crawling back to theatre after a long hiatus because they have a story to tell. Under a different name, they wrote a one-person show about a sex role play, a two-hander about a nude photograph leaked online and a site-specific play about lesbian witches.

Instagram: @dantegayboyrossetti

I have struggled to navigate my way in this industry since acquiring a disability in 2018. I wanted to join Wellspring so I could write a full length play with support and encouragement.

I needed this support not only regarding the craft of playwrighting but for confirmation from a cohort of fellow writers and professionals who face the same unpredictable challenges that this industry belongs to us and needs our stories and voices in order to survive and thrive.

The workshops have been really insightful and many of the discussions have helped shape my approach to the craft and self-care in this industry.

I did not write the play I initially intended to write. I felt safe and confident that a personal play I would not have written without this experience is the one I wrote. A play I am proud of and certain only I could have written is now out in the world. A play exploring the inner life of a man rarely seen on stage in the UK.

Making new friends and having genuine excitement about our voices and stories being staged has been the highlight. The diversity of the group has ignited a passion for the protentional future of theatre I may be lucky enough to experience as an audience member.

To be in love with theatre again and have confidence in my place in the industry, my right to write what I want on my terms has been the greatest outcome of this programme.

The confidence I gained from this programme also enabled me to submit a full length play to the Woven Voices 2023 competition. My play Mount View Road has now been longlisted for this award.

Yaz Nin (she / her), Wellspring Writer 2023 – 2024

Yaz is a Poet and Playwright. Born in Kibris, raised in Tottenham, she recently had the opening of her monologue “It Takes A Village” broadcast on BBC London Radio. Yaz has also had several short played staged across the UK.

X (formerly known as Twitter): @Yaz_Nin

Hello, my name is Sophia Wai Yee Ginsburg.

Here is where I would usually explain more about who I am, but I am sick of using identity terms this week (Sometimes I just feel like a category, a set of boxes ticked “diversity”…can you tell I have been writing lots of applications?! Also, brain fog). Instead I will tell you some other things about me.

I often feel like a baby learning to speak and walk and a much older woman forgetting how to do both (crip time!)

I am quite new to writing.

I am very interested in telling stories about people who feel like they don’t belong. The story I am writing for Wellspring is about what it’s like when you can’t be yourself in the place that feels the most like home. I think it’s also about what happens in between the public and private spaces, and what you do when your private self is forced to be your public self.

I’ve also devised a play with friends about historical incidents of women experiencing mass hysteria, which is partially inspired by my experiences of being chronically ill. It’s going up for three days at the Camden People’s Theatre this December.

My work integrates devising, movement, feminist and disabled/crip theory, and embodied dramaturgy. I’m trying to figure out my practice as a disabled artist.

I’m really interested in performativity in both a feminist/gender sense, and a theatrical sense. I have synesthesia, which means the way I see the world is very much informed by a sensory perception of colour, texture, and what I can only think to describe as “vibes”.

I always get confused by the differences between American and British spelling and punctuation. I was very confused about British people ending all their messages with kisses, but I’ve grown fond of it.

I’m writing this while on a visit home to Hong Kong, where I am trying to eat as many mangoes as possible.

My favourite poem is “Late Fragment,” by Raymond Carver;

And did you get what

you wanted from this life, even so?

I did.

And what did you want?

To call myself beloved, to feel myself

beloved on the earth.

I would remind any creative person that doing the work doesn’t always look the way you think it should, and that rest is an essential and important part of the process. I really also say this for my past and future selves as a reminder.

The main highlight of Wellspring has been being able to meet new people who are also disabled and neurodivergent theatre makers and writers, and for us to be able to share our experiences– I usually feel very isolated in the theatre community so this is a very beautiful and unique experience for me.

Sophia Wai Yee Ginsburg (she / her), Wellspring Writer 2023 – 2024

Sophia is a London and Hong Kong based interdisciplinary theatre maker who has recently graduated with an MFA in Advanced Theatre Practice at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. She is lead artist and performer for “Strange Contagions” at Camden People’s Theatre, returning in December 2023.

Website: www.sophiaginsburg.com 

Recent show at CPT: www.sophiaginsburg.com/strangecontagion

I’m Emma Dawson, a playwright and prose writer, who enjoys writing about neurodivergent and queer characters, dysfunctional families, and everything that I think is deeply bizarre about the world, from marriage, to the housing crisis, to office hierarchies.

One of the key reasons why I wanted to participate in Wellspring was to join a community of disabled and neurodivergent writers to work on my writing with. And it has been absolutely beautiful to spend so much time with this group over the training period. It felt safe, it felt very honest, and I didn’t feel like I had to pretend to be okay if I wasn’t. We would run over in practically every session because we found everything that was being discussed too intriguing to just discuss it briefly and I felt so energised and hopeful after each workshop.

There have been lots of highlights across this incredible programme, but one moment that particularly stood out for me was during Alex Bulmer’s session. She talked about how we might insert our disabilities into the form of the play with the example that a theatre maker who has a chronic illness might take a nap in the middle of their show, intending to bring their disability into the theatre for the audience to experience (and also out of necessity). That blew my mind and I know I’m going to have to do something with this concept in the future.

The play that I’m developing as part of Wellspring is a queer, neurodivergent darkly comic all-female family drama, which is set between 2003-2023 on New Year’s Eve/Day and explores the long-term ramifications of stillbirth. I feel like I have been preparing to write this play since I fell in love with the genre of resentful families that are forced to reunite after reading Shelagh Stephenson’s The Memory of Water and Tracy Letts’ August: Osage County years ago. I primarily wanted to write this play because stillbirth is often swept under the rug and I haven’t seen this theme explored from the perspective of a bereaved sibling before.

So this is my take on the family drama, which will celebrate the beautiful creativity of the neurodivergent brain, as well as exploring rituals, ideas about the “right” way to grieve, and families that can only be honest once they’re absolutely wasted.

My hope for the future of theatre is that there will be a number of nuanced female queer and neurodivergent stories told in mainstream theatre. I want to see a variety of different intersectional stories. And I want to go to the theatre and cry afterwards as I step out onto the pavement because I recognise myself so accurately, like when I saw Rafaella Marcus’s Sap at Soho Theatre.

Thank you so much to Vital Xposure, the theatre partners, and all of our tutors for an amazing training period – I’m so excited now that we are moving towards our showcase in 2024!

Emma Dawson (she / her), Wellspring Writer 2023 – 2024

 

Emma is a playwright, who writes about neurodiversity, queer characters, and dysfunctional families. Her first play, EDIE, received a short run at Theatre503 in 2022 and was developed by London Playwrights Blog/Lion & Unicorn Theatre, longlisted for Theatre503’s International Playwriting Prize, and shortlisted for Through the Mill Playwriting Prize.

Website: www.emmadawsonwriter.co.uk

X (formerly known as Twitter): @emmaruthdawson

Over the past few months we have been working closely with Clare and Jo, the dynamic duo of Hot Coals Productions to create a film about our company, supported by City Bridge Trust and Media Trust.

The two days of filming back in August were definitely one of our summer highlights! We were thrilled to meet and work on set with the very talented team of disabled, d/Deaf and Neurodivergent artists and film crew that Clare and Jo brought together.

The film is currently in post-production, and whilst the magic in the editing room is in progress, we will only say how excited we are that two outstanding artists, Jack Hunter and Sophie Stone, are the protagonists.

A young man smiles to a film crew member. He has short hair and beard, he wears glasses and a bright orange T-shirt.

Jack Hunter, performer in the film, on the set with Assistant Director, Viki Carter. Photo credit: Jessica Sansom.

Two women on a film set outdoors. On the left, the woman with long curly blonde hair and wearing a bright orange jacket, looks and smiles to the woman on the right, who wears a green top and cap, and gestures directions.

Sophie Stone, performer in the film, on the set with Director, Clare Louise-English of Hot Coals Productions. Photo credit: Jessica Sansom.

The rest will be revealed later this autumn, when we share the film: watch this space!

When I was a kid, writing was an activity that came very natural to me. I wrote poetry and prose, monologues and journals and never really stopped. One of the bits of text I wrote, when I was about eleven, was ‘I’d like to live in a bubble which protects me’. It was a very formally ambitious project because I managed to somehow sew together a big “bubble” made of elastic fabric and move inside it with the text recorded in the background. Very edgy work. What I didn’t realise then, but have been realising more and more in recent years, is how personal the experience of writing always felt to me, it was a way to reflect my own experience and connect with others.

In a way, that is why I wanted to join Wellspring, I was looking for an adult sized (non-COVID related) bubble to protect me while I grow and cultivate my writing. I was looking for space to experiment with bringing British Sign Language, which has become an inseparable part of my life, into my writing. I wanted to find a way to refine my process so that English isn’t the language guiding the process all the time. And this is what I found out.

It
Is
Difficult

In BSL, I’d sign that sentence:

Um
Difficult / Problem

Because

Every
Word
Feels
Like
A Choice

In
Other words

If the line is written by a writer who is a BSL user for actors who are BSL users working with a BSL consultant then why does it need to be written down in English and then be translated?

In
More
Words

How can I avoid the situation of sending a script in English which says in BSL in brackets before almost each line? Theatres don’t have in-house BSL translators, and also, translating a monologue from BSL.

Is
Still
A
Choice

Because someone in that theatre will either receive a text in English with an instruction to translate it to BSL or a BSL file which needs to be translated. But how do we as writers still have agency to make these choices in a way which serves our artistic expression?

These questions shouldn’t be hard for me.
I’ve been writing in English.
Which is my second language.
For more than 15 years.

(If you count the script I wrote when I was 15 titled Miracles do Happen which I planned to send to Warner Bros – spoilers, no one from Warner Bros contacted me. Truth be told I never sent the script – though it had a wicked theme song.)

I think to myself
These questions shouldn’t be hard
But they are
They have been

So as you can tell
I found myself
In need of
untangling

This process is
Ongoing

If I’d sign that, there wouldn’t really be a direct English translation.
But the closest one would be:

I keep going

I’ll finish with a secret, which isn’t really a secret if I’m telling it to you but let’s pretend it is. Language gives me a sense of belonging. I use language to

Build
Homes

And in the last few years, bereavement made it hard to build these homes or use language so I stopped writing for quite a long time. Being in a group with such brilliant humans working with the kind and insightful practitioners that we met has been soul nourishing.

So there you have it – a bit of me, a bit of identity and language politics and hopefully more questions for than answers – which I hope we could continue to chat about in a conversation face to face.

Lilac Yosiphon, Wellspring Writer 2021 – 2022

 

Lilac is a freelance writer-director and the artistic director of Althea Theatre. She 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.

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 PloughBush theatreTheatre 503 and Hampstead Theatre

Hi there!

I’m Carmen D’Cruz, just your typical average queer, brown, neurodiverse, gender fluid, drag performing playwright from a council estate in South London.

I’d just left a two year contract managing a plucky theatre in Brighton after a fairly unromantic career as a digital project manager. A very attractive and intelligent playwright friend of mine encouraged me to sign up for the Wellspring Writers’ programme so I slipped in an application to Vital Xposure alongside sending endless CVs and cover letters to tech recruiters.

Truth be told, I didn’t think I’d get in. Sure, my spreadsheets are beautiful and data tells a story, but that doesn’t mean I’m “creative”, right? And yeah, I love writing creepy modern gothic horror stories, but that doesn’t make me a “writer”, does it?

Oh, apparently it does?

Oh… $#*%!

Getting accepted into the Wellspring programme was the first big highlight of the whole programme, but my favourite thing has really been meeting the team, teachers, mentors and the other students, all of whom are wonderful writers. Every week for three months we learned the ins and outs of storytelling, and could ask every conceivable question to a team of professional writers with experience in theatre, film, television and radio. We learned, laughed and wrote together, a few of us cried together, a couple of us climbed together. We shared ideas, writing tips, book recommendations, even spreadsheet templates!

It feels a bit like a broken record to say this in 2022, but I wish the theatre world was more accessible. There’s no shortage of talent but there is a severe shortage of opportunity and it is still overwhelmingly straight, white, male, middle class, able bodied and neurotypical. Simon, Foteini and the Vital Xposure team are working tirelessly to achieve that and I’m absolutely thrilled to be a part of this story, and the inevitable future of theatre.

The piece I’m developing for Wellspring is about a young mum who has to save her family from vampires, and is based somewhat loosely on my experiences growing up on a council estate in the 90s. It’s always been frustrating to me that my childhood was the backdrop to TV shows like The Bill and Crimewatch. Even now, my hometown is the poster child for London stabbings. It’s a very narrow story told by a very narrow demographic that serves a dismally narrow purpose. My dream is to be able to showcase the love, hope and humanity that exists in the darkest spaces and the darkest times.

If I could give three bits of advice to anyone looking for professional development support, it’d be to:

  1. Get friendly with people who write and perform the things you like. They’re likely to understand and appreciate the things you write, and you can support and motivate each other.
  2. Sign up to theatre mailing lists to get the inside scoop on scratch nights, group readings and open calls.
  3. Be really nice to Simon and Foteini. They’ve got your back!

Carmen D’ Cruz, Wellspring Writer 2021 – 2022

 

Carmen 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.

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 PloughBush theatreTheatre 503 and Hampstead Theatre

In true icebreaker / first-day-in-rehearsals style, let’s play truths and a lie:

I am a proud working-class, chips-cheese-and-gravy-loving, disabled artist, from the North of England, with a pet stegosaurus called whiskers.

I did a happy dance in the street when I got the email telling me I had the opportunity to join Wellspring. I was so excited because I couldn’t wait to join a group of artists, learn with them and have such brilliant tutors impart their wisdom every week… Every week!

It has been a highlight to meet an astonishingly talented bunch of people and be part of such a wonderfully supportive community. It really feels like we have found and created a safe space. I feel privileged to be part of it.

I love theatre, I love watching theatre, being in a theatre, working in theatre and writing for theatre. I hope it is a safe place for people and somewhere that everyone feels like they could find home and experience magic.

For any other playwrights looking for professional development support, here are my three top tips:

  • Apply for every writer’s lab, mentoring schemes or development support programmes. Every application you do will make your ability to answer questions and talk about yourself as a writer easier and it gets less and less painful every time.
  • Honour your identity and individuality, no one can write like you and that in itself should be cause for celebration.
  • Finally, utilise the free workshops, writer’s meets and already existing community. I learnt so much from meeting and listening to other artists, even sitting with my mic muted on Zoom over the last couple of years.

I haven’t practised talking about the play I am writing as part of Wellspring yet, I definitely don’t have my elevator pitch yet. But I will try my best especially for you: Fighting Bitch Me is a play about a woman trying to fall in love with every aspect of herself. Not much sex, some drugs and zero Rock and Roll, Fighting Bitch Me is a play about how everyday things can create mental health crises but also heal us. How did I do?!

Fighting Bitch Me and the main three characters came running at me a few months ago and wouldn’t leave me alone. They have been struggling to get out ever since and now I am lucky to be getting to know them and learning about their journeys.

If you can’t tell, I am writing this after a brilliant day spent with Fighting Bitch Me. The love I currently feel for it could change tomorrow and we could really fall out! It’s not all sunshine and roses everyday.

In other news, I am part of a theatre company called Degenerate Fox. We attempt to perform 30 plays in 60 minutes in the Neo-Futurist aesthetic, if you would like to know more follow us on the socials @degeneratefoxuk. My debut solo show, Outside, is back for another outing later this year so follow me for any updates on that @gabriellemacph and OF COURSE come to the Wellspring sharing in late spring to see all the wonderful pieces we have been working on.

Have you guessed what the lie is?

Gabrielle MacPherson, Wellspring Writer 2021 – 2022

 

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.

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 PloughBush theatreTheatre 503 and Hampstead Theatre

Tag Archive for: City Bridge Trust