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Sky Writes: Rotherham

Sky Writes is a pioneering writing for television programme created by New Writing North and Sky Studios. The programme is looking to find new television writers from under-represented backgrounds and encourage them to develop their creative and professional skills.

About Sky Writes: Rotherham

Sky Writes is led by experienced Writers in Residence and a team of specialist Programme Producers, overseen by New Writing North.

Our focus is on three specific areas in the North, including Rotherham. If you’re based in one of these locations, we’re looking forward to meeting you, hearing your stories and supporting you as you take your first steps into TV scriptwriting.

We created Sky Writes to contribute to diversifying the pool of television writers in the UK. The programme is looking for people whose stories are not being widely told on our TV screens and whose backgrounds are under-represented in broadcasting.

This includes but is not confined to people of colour and those from LGBTQ+, disabled, lower socio-economic and working-class backgrounds.

The programme begins in April 2021 with a selection of Starting to Write for TV sessions. No writing experience is needed for these.

Following these sessions, some writers will be invited to apply for the workshop phase of the programme which will take place during the summer and autumn. The workshops will take a deeper approach and be supplemented by masterclasses featuring specialist guest speakers.

At the end of the programme, our hope is that participants will have developed their craft in TV writing, gained valuable professional awareness of the industry and feel confident about seeking out further opportunities in screenwriting.

All aspects of Sky Writes are free to participants, but you must live in or around Rotherham to take part. Sky Writes will be running digitally until it’s safe to meet face-to-face again and will be delivered via Zoom.

Writer in Residence: Afshan D’souza-Lodhi

Afshan D’souza-Lodhi was born in Dubai and bred in Manchester. She is a writer of plays and poetry, and was recently commissioned to write and direct a short film for Channel 4 (An Act of Terror) and a radio play for BBC Sounds (Chop Chop). Her debut poetry collection ‘re:desire’ (Burning Eye Books) came out in June 2020 during the lockdown. Her most recent play, Santi & Naz, described as ‘tender yet sharply political’ by the Guardian, puts female friendship against the backdrop of the partition of India and Pakistan. As well as her own writing, Afshan is keen to develop other younger and emerging artists and sits on the boards of Manchester Literature Festival and Pie Radio. Afshan also sits on the steering committee for Northern Police Monitoring Project, an independent campaigning and advocacy organisation that challenges police harassment and violence.

@afshandl www.afshandl.com

Programme Producer: Stacey Sampson

Stacey Sampson was born and brought up in Rotherham. For 20 years she worked as an actor across theatre, television and film and brings this background to her facilitation – leading drama and writing workshops in a wide variety of educational and community settings, including partnering with organisations that support people experiencing homelessness and/or the criminal justice system. Stacey is Community Producer with Third Angel as well as making work with them as a performer and dramaturg. She is also Drama Leader with Under the Stars, running weekly sessions for adults with learning disabilities, and regularly works with other local companies + venues such as Dead Earnest, Sheffield Theatres and Doncaster CAST to deliver large scale arts projects across South Yorkshire. Stacey specialises in collaboration with young people and communities, devising bespoke scripts and performances inspired by the people and places involved. She is also a keen writer and her works in progress have won the Arvon Award, a Northern Writers’ Award, the Mslexia Novel Competition and been shortlisted for the Kudos North Award and Sundance Writers’ Lab.

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