Playwright Crisis Support Programme

During the full period of the current crisis – however long this may be – HighTide will be supporting a cohort of emerging playwrights with a programme of bespoke support, including a HighTide alumni mentor. Confirmed mentors include Nick Payne, Vinay Patel, Kenny Emson, Luke Barnes, Anders Lustgarten and Morgan Lloyd Malcolm.

The focus of this programme is artist wellbeing during this period of crisis. Individuals goals will be set with each playwright. They could range from completing a new draft, starting to explore a new idea, facilitating an opportunity for a writer to hear some work out loud and navigating the financial support available to freelance artists at this time and more.
The writers we are supporting through this programme are:
Travis Alabanza, Jack Bradfield, Sophie Ellerby, Kelly Jones, Kat Rose Martin, Caitlin McEwan, Tonderai Munyevu, Michelle Sewell, A.C. Smith, Hayley Wareham, Martha Watson Allpress, John Webber.

Travis Alabanza

Travis Alabanza is a writer, performer and theatre maker based in London. Their writing has appeared in numerous publications including The Independent, The Metro, Guardian, Vice and Dazed, and their recent theatre show Burgerz won the 2019 Total Theatre Fringe award, touring Internationally including Southbank (UK), HAU Theatre (Berlin) and MTSP (Sao Paulo). In 2019 Alabanza was also included on the Dazed100 and listed in the Evening Standard as one of the 25 most influential Londoners under 25.

Jack Bradfield

Jack is a writer, director, and founder of Poltergeist Theatre. He is a Resident Director at the Almeida Theatre, and his company are Creative Associates at the North Wall, Oxford. He has recently returned from an internship with the ITA-Ensemble Amsterdam.

Previous work as writer and director includes: Art Heist (recipient of the Untapped Award 2019), and Lights Over Tesco Car Park (recipient of the Samuel French New Play Award 2018).

Sophie Ellerby

Sophie began her career as an actor, joining the Nottingham Television Workshop at the age of thirteen and starring in Shane Meadows’ film This Is England. She studied Drama at University of Manchester, specialising in Theatre in Prison. In 2016 she was awarded a place on HighTide’s First Commission scheme where she wrote her debut play LIT, co-produced in 2019 by HighTide and Nottingham Playhouse to a sell out run and four star’s in the Guardian. A former Writer in Residence at Pentabus, she is currently under commission by Wild Works and Fifth Word Theatre. Sophie is dedicated to projects that challenge social norms, aiming to tackle provocative questions in an accessible and human way.

Hugely grateful for the support that HighTide has given her over the years, Sophie can’t wait to connect with the other writers on the programme. She’ll come armed with the scraps of sanity she has left, her new found enthusiasm for nailing keepy uppys, and one TikTok dance.

Kelly Jones

Kelly Jones is a Playwright from Essex. She was the winner of the Wales Drama Award in 2014. Writer in residency at Theatr Clwyd and she has recently completed the Emerging Playwrights Program at The Bush Theatre.

Her recent credits include: Comma (Sherman Theatre) Garden Paradiso (Mercury Theatre) Humanequin (Mess up the Mess/WMC), Tammy (Queens Theatre Hornchurch) and Merry Fucking Christmas Kids – (Theatre 503 RWR)

Kelly grew-up in family dominated by strong working-class women and has a passion for telling stories with strong female characters at the heart. She writes about where she is from, often with a queer perspective.  She is delighted to be a part of HighTide’s Playwright’s support programme.

Caitlin McEwan

Caitlin is a writer and actor originally from Edinburgh. She is an alumni of the Soho Theatre Writers’ Lab and her work includes Harry (Underbelly Cowgate, Edinburgh 2017), Thick Skin (Samuel French New Play Award 2017), and Bible John, which was the recipient of the Charlie Hartill Theatre Reserve from The Pleasance in 2019, and received an Offie commendation during its Vault Festival run earlier this year. She is currently on an invitational writing group at the Royal Court, led by Leo Butler.

Tonderai Munyevu

Tonderai is an actor, writer and director for theatre, screen and radio. Born in Zimbabwe and raised in London.

As well as comedy and drama he has also written prose (fiction and non—fiction) including the short stories Bullets (Black and Gay In The UK Anthology, Team Angelica Publishers) and A Dispatch From Zimbabwe: The Visiting Hours for The Johannesburg Book Of Reviews.

He is a founding member and co-artistic director of the international Shakespearean troupe Two Gents Productions renowned for their mix of new writing and classical adaptations including the acclaimed Two Gentlemen of Verona, Kupenga Kwa Hamlet, Magesti and The Importance of Being Earnest.

His latest play Mugabe, My Dad and Me was shortlisted for The Alfred Fagon Award 2019 and will premiere at York Theatre Royal in a collaboration with English Touring Theatre.

Kat Rose-Martin

Kat started as an actor working for Northern Broadsides, Shakespeare’s Globe, Hull Truck, York Theatre Royal.

Kat is born and based in Bradford working on a slate of projects and ideas across film, theatre and television. She made it to the final 4% of 2019 BBC Writers Room for Drama and the Top 10 in BAFTA Rocliffe TV Drama. Her show ‘The Crossleys’ is in development with Rockerdale Studios.

Kat is the writer in Residence at Sneaky Experience (experiential theatre & cinema). Out of Joint workshopped her play £1 Thursdays. The Bronte Society commissioned her co-written play Jane Hair. Kat is currently working on a commissioned audio series with Audible as well as MyDG, online content with BBC Children’s. She was commissioned by Shakespeare’s Globe to write and perform her monologue ‘Aphra Behn’ and is developing a short digital piece for Paines Plough. Her play Pick and Mix is in development with Freedom studios.

Kat is currently on The Bank at Sheffield Theatres, a 14-strong cohort of writers, directors and producers who are supported and mentored by the theatres.

In 2020 Kat was announced as the inaugural winner of the Kay Mellor Fellowship, giving her the unique opportunity to develop a stage play at Leeds Playhouse and a TV project at Rollem Productions.

She is also currently on the BBC Writersroom Northern Voices, a year-long development programme with the BBC.

Michelle Sewell

Michelle was awarded the Malcolm Bradbury Award after completing her Masters in Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia. She was awarded a Graduate Entrepreneurship to start theatre company, HACK, in 2016, which has been nominated for start-up of the year award for Innovation and Impact awards 2018 and nominated for Norfolk Arts Awards.

Michelle’s credits include Border Control (nominated for Vaults Festival Spirit and Origin awards) Roundhouse, Vaults, Theatre503, Norwich Arts Centre, Young Norfolk Arts Festival; Dysney Disfunction, Assembly Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Cambridge Junction, Theatre503, Norwich Arts Centre; Off Dereham Road, Papatango; The Games We Played, The North Wall, Theatre503. Michelle took part in Soho Young Writer’s Lab and the Australian National Studio.

A.C. Smith

A.C. Smith is a scriptwriter and songwriter. She has won awards for her writing from the RSC and Soho Theatre, and was previously a member of the Bush Theatre’s Emerging Writers Group. She has a particular interest in cross-medium experimentation, and has collaborated with artists specialising in photography, dance, film, musical theatre, circus, and mime. She is currently at work on a radio feature for the BBC World Service.

Hayley Wareham

Hayley Wareham’s debut play bottled ran at VAULT Festival in 2019, directed by Chris White and performed in support of Women’s Aid. It is being recorded for BBC Radio 4 later this year. She was selected for Soho Theatre Writers’ Lab 2016, BBC Writersroom Drama Room 2017 and was awarded a Peggy Ramsay Foundation grant in 2019. As an actor, she has worked with Cardboard Citizens and performed at Soho Theatre, Manchester Royal Exchange and Sheffield Crucible.

Martha Watson Allpress

Martha Watson Allpress is a writer/actor, currently training on the BA Acting course at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. Her debut full length play, Patricia Gets Ready (for a date with the man that used to hit her), sold out at the VAULT Festival this year, and will be transferring with the Pleasance up to the Edinburgh Fringe in 2021. A recent monologue of hers was included in Papatango’s Isolated But Open series, and her other short pieces have been on at venues such as Southwark Playhouse, the Bunker and Lyric Hammersmith. In her writing Martha hope to amplify female voices, dissect societal grey areas and play some banging tunes.

John Webber

John studied drama at the University of Wales and acting at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. His acting career started with Young People’s Theatre, working on new plays and devised pieces which then toured. As an actor he has worked at the Royal National Theatre as well as at regional theatres around the UK and television credits include the EastEnders, Coronation Street and Doctor Foster. His short plays have been staged at Theatre503 and REAP, his first full-length play, reached the latter stages of the Bruntwood Prize, the Papatango Prize, BBC Writersroom and was selected for the Arcola Theatre’s PlayWROUGHT festival. Spiderfly was long-listed for the Bruntwood Prize, selected for the Park Theatre’s Script Accelerator Scheme and had the support of Old Vic New Voices – it was produced by Metal Rabbit at Theatre503. John was a BRIT Program Guest Artist at the University of South Florida in 2019, where his commissioned adaptation of Emma by Jane Austin was performed.