Talawa Writers’ Programme

Talawa Writers’ Programme is announced

A new year-long development programme for three Black British writers at different stages in their career to write a new play and build networks across the entertainment industry.

Inua Ellams, Theresa Ikoko and Somalia Seaton are the three writers selected to take part in the scheme which aims to create lasting relationships between Black writers and mid to largescale producing organisations, thereby opening meaningful networks and routes to sustained careers.

Supported by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, Talawa will work together with the Bush and Soho Theatres and BBC Writersroom to provide new and varied opportunities to develop their skills and enhancetheir careers.

Each writer will be on attachment to Talawa and the partner organisations for a 12 month period where they will work on a full length commission destined for one of the partner theatres, with Inua Ellams at Soho Theatre, Somalia Seaton at the Bush Theatre and Theresa Ikoko at Talawa Theatre Company. All three will be supported by the BBC Writersroom.

Alongside their commissions, writers will take part in monthly workshops sessions with inspiring practitioners, with theatre makers at Talawa or at the BBC Writersroom with TV, radio and film practitioners. Each writer will also be supported to undertake a special project during their time, tailor-made with the writer, depending on their particular interests.

Michael Buffong, Artistic Director of Talawa said:

“Developing writers is absolutely integral to our work here at Talawa and I have wanted to create a bespoke writers programme for some time.

“I believe Black writers will receive far greater value and career longevity if a number of organisations commit to developing the writer jointly in a participatory process. The writers then benefit from a wide variety of various organisations’ practises, opportunities and support. I look forward to working with our partners at the Bush, Soho and BBC Writersroom and welcome the change it will bring.”

Madani Younis, Artistic Director, Bush Theatre said:

“Talawa’s long standing commitment to developing new and emerging writers and artists is getting a huge boost with the launch of Talawa Writers’ Programme. We’re honoured to have been asked to be part of the programme and are looking forward to working with Talawa and Somalia Seaton. The year-long investment by Talawa Theatre Company, The Bush Theatre, Soho Theatre and BBC Writersroom represents a commitment to developing an enduring and sustained diversity in theatre. The partnership principle which underlies Talawa Writers’ Programme is a positive move. Together we can do it.”

Nina Steiger, Associate Director, Soho Theatre said:
“Soho Theatre is delighted to be part of the inaugural Talawa Writers’ Programme and we look forward to fruitful collaborations with our resident writer, Inua Ellams and partners, Talawa, the Bush Theatre and BBC Writersroom. As organisations, we share a commitment to nurturing new talent and promoting playwriting in all its diversity. One of the most special things about this scheme is that it brings together a range of talent and skills, experience and approaches to new writing. We are thrilled to be part of it.”

Abigail Gonda, Development Producer, BBC Writersroom said:
“The BBC Writersroom is thrilled to continue building our relationship with Talawa Theatre Company through the exciting and necessary Talawa Writers’ Programme. We relish theopportunity to work with one of the UK’s most highly regarded theatre companies to nurture diversity in drama. The BBC is committed to developing stories by new and emerging BAME talent. To work with all three TWP writers, Theresa Ikoko, Inua Ellams and Somalia Seaton is a positive move toward untold stories being heard in new and dynamic ways.”

The Talawa Writers’ Programme is supported by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation.