Bush Theatre: Emerging Writers' Group - Get To Know Them

Meet four writers from The 2017 cohort of the Bush Theatre Emerging Writers Group

1. Robyn Addison

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Robyn has written for several short play/scratch nights in London, including most recently ‘Slam Minutes’ at the Arcola Theatre and the first ‘Ignite’ night for Sparkhaus Theatre Company. She is also an actor who has worked in television, video games and theatre since graduating from Cambridge. In 2011 Robyn was nominated for the Evening Standard Outstanding Newcomer and the Whatsonstage Best Newcomer Award for playing Marie in ‘Mongrel Island’ at the Soho Theatre and Lydia Languish in ‘The Rivals’ at the Theatre Royal Haymarket.

#FourHubsQuestions

How has being part of the Emerging Writers' Group at Bush Theatre transformed you?

Being part of the Emerging Writers Group at The Bush Theatre has been a transformative experience. Before joining the group I didn’t have the confidence or conviction to take my writing seriously as I was unsure of what I wanted to write and say. Being part of the group has introduced me to some exceptionally talented individuals who have inspired me to be braver.

What kind of stories do you live to tell?

I love to write characters that say what I might never say, and who may appear ordinary but behave extraordinarily. I want to write about things that scare me; love, death, the universe.

What is your favourite play and where did you watch it?

I’ve really enjoyed certain plays that have made me think harder about what sort of writer I want to be. Anatomy of a Suicide, by Alice Birch at the Royal Court, and The Brothers Size by Tarell Alvin McCraney and Yerma.

2. Eno Mfon

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Eno Mfon is a Writer, Performer and Assistant to the Artistic Director of the Young Vic Theatre, Kwame Kwei-Armah. Mfon’s one-woman show ‘Check the Label’ was performed at the Bristol Old Vic and Talawa Firsts, and was later made into a Channel 4 'Random Acts' short film, which won Best Short at the 2018 Royal Television Society Awards. Her most recent play ‘Birdwoman’ is supported by the Bush Theatre’s Emerging Writers Group. 

#FourHubsQuestions

How has being part of the Emerging Writers' Group at Bush Theatre transformed you?

Being a part of the Bush EWG has challenged my writing process by encouraging me to let my perfectionism go, and to sometimes write blindly before having knowledge of the bigger picture. In this way I was able to see what my play was not, before I knew what it was.

What kind of stories do you live to tell?

I live to tell stories that I haven't heard on stage before, stories that reflect me and people around me, stories made up of stories passed on to me by my parents, my Nigerian heritage, my childhood, my past and my present, my faith, my blackness, my insecurities, my past and my present. I want to tell stories that would inspire young black girls to tell their own stories.

What is your favourite play and where did you watch it?

One of my favourite play's is 'A Man of Good Hope' at the Young Vic, about a Somalian refugee's journey across Africa. This play will forever resonate with me for its ability to bring so much light into a story of loss.

3. Afsaneh Gray

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Afsaneh Gray is a playwright and screenwriter. She is currently under commission by the Unicorn Theatre and BBC Doctors. Previous work includes OCTOPUS (2016 Edinburgh Fringe Festival/2017 UK Tour), THE FOOL ON THE HILL (Scuola di Teatro Paolo Grassi, Milan), BATR ZONE C (Theatre503) and AND THE CROWD (WEPT) (Riverside).

#FourHubsQuestions

How has being part of the Emerging Writers' Group at Bush Theatre transformed you?

The EWG has been a fantastic opportunity to get support both from the Bush Theatre and an amazing group of writers. It’s gave me the confidence to finally write ambitious ‘big plays’, I wrote a play that I’ve had at the back of my head for a couple of years now but was too daunted to tackle. Stewart Pringle and Ellie Horne, who led our group sessions, created a brilliant atmosphere. 

What kind of stories do you live to tell?

I’m attracted to telling stories that ask a question for which I don’t have the answer. If I’m challenged by a question, then hopefully the audience will be too.  The play that I’m writing for the Bush explores the legacy of colonialism and the modern-day aid industry. I also enjoy a bit of humour, that’s a great way to make complex topics accessible.

What was your favourite play and where did you watch it?

I have lots of favourite plays. A relatively recent one is WE ARE PROUD TO PRESENT… by Jackie Sibblies Drury, which I saw at the Bush in 2014. It’s one of those plays that leaves you stunned. It’s the story on the forgotten history of a genocide in Namibia (then German Sudwestafrika), I like the way it also plays with form. 

4. Kelly Jones

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 Kelly Jones is a Playwright from Dagenham based in Cardiff, Wales.  In 2014 she was the recipient of the Wales Drama Award, BBC Writers room and BBC Wales.  Kelly is represented by Nick Quinn at The Agency, London and has work in development with various organisations  Including- NTW, BBC Wales, Yellobrick and Mess Up The Mess. Kelly’s Queer identity is very important to her and her work.

#FourHubsQuestions

How has being part of the Emerging Writers' Group at Bush Theatre transformed you?

Being on the EWG has been a great experience! Unlike other programmes it isn’t a playwriting 101 course – It’s focused on the process of writing a play and your individual needs as a writer. EWG has also allowed me to expand my networks and encouraged me to be braver in the stories I tell. 

What kind of stories do you live to tell?

I like to tell stories about my upbringing and family in Dagenham. I started writing because I felt like there were few working class stories and voices in theatre.  As a gay woman I am always trying to challenge the often inauthentic portrayal of Queer people.

What is your favourite play and where did you watch it?

Anatomy of a Suicide at the Royal Court.  

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