Writer of Completely See-Through
Francesca Beard is a London-based, Malaysian-born spoken word artist who makes interactive and transformational work for live audiences. She has toured her multi-media one-woman shows all over the UK and represents contemporary British culture around the world with the British Council. Her work has been described as ‘Spine-tingling, witty and narcotic’ (The Independent) and ‘Brilliant’ (The Scotsman). London Metro has called her ‘The Queen of British Performance Poetry’ and ‘Our finest cartographer of the human heart.’ She has been writer-in-residence at institutions including Hampton Court Palace, The Tower of London, The National History Museum, Metropolitan Police and BBC White City. She facilitates creative workshops in partnership with organizations such as Apples and Snakes, Arvon and The National Literacy Trust and is a visiting lecturer at University of Westminster. She’s written poems for The Barbican and short plays for The Royal Court and BBC Radio 3 and 4. As a writer and dramaturge, she works with communities and groups through a workshop process to create multi-voiced plays that ask questions and invite responses about real situations and has worked as a lyricist with The Young Vic and ICT Young Company to create participatory community-led shows for the general public. She is currently developing 'Storyverse', a story-telling platform for live and on-line audiences with B3 Media and making a new one-woman show about reality, ‘A Lie’, with help from Apples and Snakes and Improbable Theatre, supported by Arts Council England. To find out more, please visit www.francescabeard.com
Writer of Black Peter Pan
Leah Chillery is a mixed race actress and writer from Nottingham. Leah graduated from the BBC College of Comedy in 2008, where she was commissioned to script a pilot of her own original sitcom 'Mix Up'. She has also storylined for 'Two Packets of Crisps and a Pint of Lager', 'Grown ups' and 'My Family'. Leah has written four radio plays for BBC Radio 4 with her most recent being 'Losing My Penny' aired last spring. Leah was also one of the co-writer's of the hit play, '50 Ways to Leave Your Lover', that was produced at the Latitude Festval and the Bush Theatre. She is currently a part of Revolution Mix with Eclipse Theatre where she wrote and continues to develop a political comedy stage play entitled 'Paper People'.
Writer of You Say
Lorna French’s play, City Melodies, has been shortlisted for the Alfred Fagon Award 2016. The winner of the award will be announced at the National Theatre in the Dorfman Theatre on the 23rd of November. City Melodies has in the past been long listed for the Bruntwood Prize 2015 (reaching the top 40) and shortlisted for the Papatango Prize 2014. This play was also presented at Birmingham’s Capital Festival in 2013. Lorna is currently one of 16 writers taking part in Eclipse Theatre’s 3 year Revolution Mix project and is receiving dramaturgical support from Birmingham Rep while writing a full length play. She is under co-commission to Eclipse Theatre and Pentabus and is taking part in the BBC Doctors shadow scheme. Lorna has also recently been nominated by Bolton Octagon for the 2017 OffWestEnd.com Adopt a Playwright Award. In 2013 her one act play Normal Underneath was presented as part of Birmingham Outlet Festival. Her play synopsis for The Hostel was shortlisted for the 2013 Barry Reckord bursary. Lorna coscripted Belgrade Theatre’s Black Youth Theatre show; Close to Home, in 2012. Lorna was also a writing workshop leader for Writing West Midlands from 2013 to 2016. She won the Alfred Fagon Award in 2006 for her play Safe House. Lorna was a member of the BBC radio soap, Silver Street from 2009-2010. In 2009 she co-authored the play, These Four Streets, with 5 other female playwrights for Birmingham Rep. For the year (2008-2009) Lorna was the Pearson Writer-inresidence at New Wolsey Theatre. Additionally, she has presented readings of her work at Bolton Octagon, Soho Theatre, Oval House, Birmingham Rep and Young Vic. She also undertook a month long attachment at the Royal Court Theatre in 2007.
Writer of Joy's Prayer
Ian Marchant is a writer, performer and presenter. He has published seven books, including two acclaimed memoir/travel books for Bloomsbury, ‘Parallel Lines’ and ‘The Longest Crawl’, which were each selected by Nicholas Lezard as his paperback of the week in The Guardian. For Radio Four, Ian has presented a five part series ‘A Load of Rubbish,’ broadcast December 2008, ‘Top Deck’, a half hour documentary broadcast in 2009, ‘I’m On The Train’, an hour long programme for the Archive on Four strand, broadcast 2010, ‘The Ghost Trains of Old England’, broadcast October 2010, a five part series ‘The Completists’, broadcast January and February, 2011, a two part series ‘North and South, Across The Great Divide’ broadcast February 2012, and half hour documentaries ‘The Secret Life of Trees’ (broadcast December 2012), ‘The Devil’s Rope’ (broadcast July 2014) and ‘Self-ServiceNation’ (broadcast July 2015). For Radio Three, Ian presented the Sunday Feature, ‘Walking with Attitude’, broadcast December 2011. He presented a film for ITV Border about the engineer Thomas Telford in 2007, which was nominated for a Royal Television Society Award, and presented a four part series for ITV Border, ‘Fun For Some’, which was broadcast in April/May 2008. Between 2002 and 2006, Ian was co-centre director of the Arvon Foundation’s house at Totleigh Barton, and has also tutored on several Arvon courses. Between 2006 and 2009 he was Royal Literary Fund Fellow at Birmingham City University, where he currently teaches Creative Writing. To find out more please visit www.ianmarchant.com
Writer of A Question of Courage
Courttia Newland is the author of seven works of fiction including his debut, The Scholar. His latest novel, The Gospel According to Cane, was published in 2013 and has been optioned by Cowboy Films. He was nominated for the Impac Dublin Literary Award, The Frank O’ Conner award, The CWA Dagger in the Library Award, The Hurston/Wright Legacy Award and The Theatre 503 Award for playwriting as well as numerous others. His short stories have appeared in many anthologies and broadcast on BBC Radio 4. He is associate lecturer in creative writing at the University of Westminster and is completing a PhD in creative writing. His latest work, Cosmogramma, a collection of speculative fiction short stories, will be published by Jacaranda in 2017.
Writer of Jerusalem
Testament is a writer, beatboxer and MC. Testament has lived in Leeds since 1997. A celebrated lyricist and musician, his work ties together strands of theatre, rap, song, beatbox and spoken word. Testament wrote, composed and performed his critically acclaimed first theatre show ‘Blake Remixed’ in 2015, creating a semi-autobiographical story of his love for iconic artist William Blake and Hip-Hop. In 2016 he wrote and toured ‘The Ten Past’ – a one-man beatbox response to Shakespeare’s The Tempest set in a bus station. He is currently creating ‘The Privilege Show’ with Little Mighty Theatre and is writing a touring piece for the award winning Eclipse Theatre about a black men’s walking group in Sheffield. Testament performed two spoken word pieces as part of ‘We British’ for BBC Radio 4 on National Poetry Day. Testament is also a former host of the Radio 4 ‘Seriously’ documentary podcast and presented a series of reports on the MOBO awards for ITV News. Testament holds the Guinness World Record for leading the world’s largest beatbox ensemble. He is founder of Hip-Hop Clinic workshops and has facilitated workshops for schools, universities as well as for BBC 1xtra, The Prince’s Trust, Battersea Arts Centre and The Roundhouse. Testament’s first album “Homecut: No Freedom Without Sacrifice” is out now on First Word Records and features Corrine Bailey Rae, Soweto Kinch, Ty, J-Live and Andreya Triana. Testament is a supported artist on Manchester Royal Exchange’s Open Exchange programme.