In 2014, I won the Channel 4 Playwright’s Scheme with my play, Boi Boi is Dead; and was made Writer-in-Residence at the West Yorkshire Playhouse. I was put up for the award by Alex Chisholm, then Literary Associate at the Playhouse.
The residency allows for a writer to develop their practice with the support from the literary department. Each residency is tailored to suit the writer’s needs. At the time of my appointment I’d recently graduated from my MA in Writing for Performance and Publication at Leeds University. I had a body of work in theatre, radio and film which had been written during my course or been commissioned by Freedom Studios and WYP.
Theatre was my main focus at the time. Boi Boi is Dead, my first full-length play had been through a couple of drafts with Alex as dramaturg. I went into the residency knowing that I wanted to have it produced. Having done short plays, I felt like this was the next step not only for the play but also for my career. In addition to this, I wanted to gain more knowledge and connections in the industry.
The residency comes with a bursary of £7000. This was helpful for me as I was able to use the money to buy myself time and be fully immersed into the residency. It meant I could work less in other jobs and have my living expenses covered.
As well as writing new work, I took part in R&D’s for Boi Boi is Dead, shadowed directors, attended company meetings, met with guest artists and companies , supported new artists on the Summer Sublets programme, led workshops for First Floor, was part of the script reading team, was a member of a month writer’s group and networked with regional and national theatres. I was building a picture of the industry from different perspectives and equipping myself with choices post-residency.