Next Generation of Writers Take Their Work to the Birmingham Stage

Posted on Tuesday 9th June 2009

A new wave of playwrights will see their work come to life on stage on Thursday 11th and Friday 12th June from 11am to 4.30pm when the plays they have written as part of the University of Birmingham’s MPhil Playwriting Studies are performed at the George Cadbury Hall, the Department of Drama and Theatre Arts newly refurbished theatre.

The performances will take the form of rehearsed readings which will be performed by professional actors and directed by professional directors. 

The University’s MPhil in Playwriting Studies was established by internationally acclaimed dramatist David Edgar in 1989 and since then has produced many key writers in the profession including Sarah Kane (Blasted, Cleansed) Fraser Grace (Breakfast with Mugabe). and Sarah Woods (Trips, Grace) and current course convenor Steve Waters whose play The Contingency Plan is currently playing at the Bush theatre in London where it has received rave reviews, with The Evening Standard calling it a ‘triumph’ and giving it five stars and The Guardian dubbing it a ‘massive achievement’. 

Other graduates from the course with work coming to the stage over the last year include Anthony Weigh with his play about the effects of new sex-offender laws in Iowa called ‘2000 Feet Away’ also played at the Bush Theatre starring Joseph Fiennes and Amy Rosenthal whose play about DH Lawrence and his wife called ‘On the Rocks’ earned rave reviews at the Hampstead Theatre.  Laura Lomas who graduated last year has been taken up by acclaimed writing company Paines Plough and Tamsin Astbury’s play from last year was on the shortlist for the key playwriting prize of the year The Bruntwood.

Steve Waters, course leader from the University of Birmingham’s Department of Drama and Theatre Arts, says, ‘This is a chance to see the next generation of talented playwrights at the start of their careers with plays about bees, interracial adoption, climate change activists, the Isle of Man,  and life in Luton amongst others. There is no fixed style – some plays are funny, some set in the past, some private, some public.  This year’s group is highly talented and their work is already drawing interest from theatres and radio.’

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Notes to Editors

For further media information

Kate Chapple, Press Officer, University of Birmingham, tel 0121 414 2772 or 07789 921164.