Sphinx Theatre, the UK’s longest established women’s theatre company, and 15 of the UK’s leading theatres have announced the playwrights they will be supporting via Sphinx 30, the landmark programme for female playwrights in the UK being launched to mark Sphinx’s 30th anniversary.
The announcement reveals the 15 female playwrights who will be co-funded by 15 theatres and Sphinx as part of a pilot of the Sphinx Lab, and it will be followed shortly by the announcement of more female playwrights selected via an open call to ensure writers at all stages of their careers are included. The Sphinx Lab is a ground-breaking new programme to support female playwrights in the UK being launched as part of Sphinx’s 30th anniversary. The programme aims to become an ongoing initiative to support female playwrights in the UK, designed by Sphinx’s Literary Director Jennifer Tuckett, based on her work with Yale School of Drama and the Women’s Project (WP) Lab in America, and the first of its kind in the UK.
Each playwright will receive a £1000 seed commission and attend the Sphinx Lab, as will the female playwrights selected via an open call. Tutors on the Lab will include leading female playwrights Winsome Pinnock, the first black female playwright to be produced at the National Theatre, April de Angelis, author of the modern classic “Playhouse Creatures” and “My Brilliant Friend”, recently produced at the National Theatre, and Timberlake Wertenbaker, author of the modern classic “Our Country’s Good”. Other tutors will include industry leaders Dame Rosemary Squire, co-founder of ATG and Trafalgar Entertainment, Toni Racklin, Head of Theatre and Dance at the Barbican Centre, Stephanie Sirr, Chief Executive of Nottingham Playhouse, Brigid Larmour, Artistic Director and Chief Executive of Watford Palace Theatre, Sphinx Literary Director Jennifer Tuckett, who has designed and led creative writing programmes for the BBC amongst others, and Sphinx Artistic Director Sue Parrish. The initiative is additionally supported by Arts Council England funding and will support 30 of the UK’s most talented female playwrights in total to mark 30 years of Sphinx Theatre.
The female playwrights co-funded by 15 leading theatres will be as follows:
Bush Theatre: Sarah Connors
Derby Theatre: Rommi Smith
Graeae Theatre Company: Anita Kelly
Hull Truck Theatre: Maureen Lennon
Kali Theatre: Satinder Chohan
Leeds Playhouse: Gemma Bedeau
Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse Theatres: Ginni Manning
Nottingham Playhouse: Jane Upton
Octagon Theatre Bolton: Punam Ramchurn
Red Ladder Theatre Company: Bea Webster
Salisbury Playhouse: Hannah Treadaway
Stephen Joseph Theatre: Janice Okoh
Theatr Clwyd: Ming Ho
Watford Palace Theatre: Suzette Coon
Yellow Earth Theatre: Joanna Lau
“We are proud to be partnering with our colleagues across the country to address the imbalance of voices in our industry and stages – Hull Truck Theatre is committed to supporting and empowering women’s voices on our stages and Sphinx 30 is a pioneering opportunity to make a real difference to the future of our industry."
"I'm so excited to take part in Sphinx programme and to be given the opportunities to dream big. Now, more than ever, proper mentorship feels invaluable."