The 503Five is an 18-month residency with Theatre503 during which the chosen 5 emerging playwrights will be offered mentorship, advice and support, culminating in a first draft submission of a brand new play with at least one of the plays being taken to full production. Theatre503 is committed to facilitating professional opportunities for all the writers involved and taking the very best ideas forward. The only thing we ask of them is to be “groundbreaking” and to create work that is immediate, responsive and of boundless possibility.
503Five is run by Theatre503’s literary department. Follow Theatre503 on Facebook and Twitter and subscribe to the writers’ mailing list to keep up to date when we are open for submissions next.
Announced alongside the inaugural winners of the Theatre503 playwriting award November 2014.
Chloe Todd Fordham, an astonishingly talented new writer who came to Theatre503′s attention through the 503 Playwriting Award, for which she was shortlisted. Chloe’s first full length play Land’s End was selected for inclusion in the Arcola’s PlayWrought festival in 2014 and was shortlisted for the Theatre503 Playwriting Award. Chloe has also taken part in the Young Writers Programme at the Royal Court Theatre and has an MA in Writing for Performance from Goldsmiths University.
Brian Mullin, a unique transatlantic voice relocated to London, who is the dramaturg for Babakas Theatre Company whose first production Our Fathers toured internationally. Brian was born in the USA, where his work was developed at the Lincoln Center Directors Lab, Ars Nova and Dixon Place. He re-located to London in 2009 to attend the MA Writing for Performance course at Goldsmiths. In the UK, his play M4M was workshopped in High Tide’s Genesis LAB and he received a Mauve New World commission from Ovalhouse/Pink Fringe to write It Gets Better. He is a former member of the Orange Tree Writers Group and a founding member of international devising company Babakas, whose first piece Our Fathers has toured the UK, Lebanon and Poland and is published by Oberon. As a dramaturg and writing tutor, he has worked with writers of all ages and backgrounds at venues including the Arcola, the Tricycle, and the National Theatre’s New Views course. He holds degrees in theatre and literature from Yale and Oxford, where he was a Rhodes Scholar.
Vinay Patel, a writer of unquestionable talent (True Brits, Freefall) who offers a strong voice from the local community and whose eyes look to the world at large. Vinay studied for an MA in Writing at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, graduating with distinction in 2011. His debut full-length play, True Brits – written as part of his attachment to HighTide Festival Theatre and published by Methuen Drama – premiered at the Edinburgh Fringe 2014, transferred to the Bush Theatre as part of RADAR Festival and headlined the Vault Festival in February 2015. His second play, Free Fall, opened at the Pleasance Islington in October 2014 and was nominated for three Off West End Awards. He was selected for the Bush / Kudos Initiative 2014, Channel 4 Screenwriting Course 2015 and has written an Original Drama short for the BBC.
Ella Greenhill, a writer previously commissioned by Theatre503 under their 503 Futures initiative and who was selected for the Bush Theatre Kudos Initiative in 2013 and has had work shortlisted for Theatre Centre’s Adrienne Benham Award and the Internationalists Playwriting Competition. Ella was writer on attachment with both Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse and Paines Plough and is a Royal Court Studio writers group alumnus.
She is one of the winning writers for ITV’s Coronation Street Original Voices for BAME writers. She is part of the Manchester Royal exchange Next Stages Project. She is currently one of the 503Five Writers in residence and her play, Straw House was longlisted for the 503 Playwriting Award. She was one of four writers shortlisted for Defibrillator’s 1865 Project with the Langham Hotel. Her play, Made in Britain was at the Old Red Lion Theatre in January this year receiving 4 star reviews including 4 stars from the Times who described her as “a talent of tremendous promise” and described the play as “incendiary”. She is also currently under commission to Box of Tricks for her new play Plastic Figurines which will tour in spring 2015. She is currently developing work with Sheer Drop and Theatre Renegade. As well as across the UK, Ella’s work has been performed in Mexico, New York, Madrid and Romania. Ella is represented by Lindsey Bender at United Agents.
Neasa O’Callaghan, a distinctive voice from Ireland who’s work has already found a platform in Birmingham and Ireland. Neasa O’Callaghan is a 23-year-old playwright from Ballaghaderreen, Co. Roscommon, Ireland. She holds a B.A. in English, Classics and Creative Writing from National University of Ireland, Galway, an M.Phil in Irish Writing from Trinity College, Dublin and recently completed an M.Res in Playwriting Studies at the University of Birmingham. Her work has been performed at the Bank of Ireland Theatre, Galway, and Old Joint Stock Theatre, Birmingham, with rehearsed and staged readings at Áras na Mac Léinn, NUI Galway, and George Cadbury Hall, University of Birmingham.
As well as writing, Neasa has also worked as a producer in Ireland, notably with JOLT Theatre in Galway and The Playback Company in Dublin, and, in 2011, she served as the Director of the Irish Student Drama Association (ISDA) Festival (Irish equivalent of the National Student Drama Festival).
503FIVE 2012 – 14
Brad Birch – Jon Brittain – Gemma Langford – Charlene James – Chris Urch
Artistic Director Paul Robinson has this to say:
“Through the most exhaustive process possible, we selected 5 unique voices who are destined to help shape the theatre of tomorrow. Their visions are thrillingly imaginative and their approach to theatre refreshingly fearless.
The 503Five initiative has helped us evolve the way we work with playwrights and explore ways in which we can place the writer at the centre of what we do at Theatre503. The playwrights will have a creative home in the theatre, with opportunities to engage in every aspect of the theatre’s work and feed the vision of the building.”
Charlene James trained at Birmingham School of Acting and at the Steppenwolf School in Chicago. She is a graduate of the Royal Court’s Young Writers Programme.
Her first play, Maybe Father, was shortlisted for the Alfred Fagon Award and went on to have a reading at the Young Vic Theatre.
“It’s inspiring to know that everyone at 503 is there because they have a genuine passion for nurturing playwrights and creating exciting theatre – this is why I’m looking forward to being part of the 503 Five scheme.
I intend to take advantage of all the theatre has to offer in order for me to create a fearless piece of writing to stand on the Theatre 503 stage.”
Chris Urch trained at the Drama Centre as an actor graduating two years ago.
In 2011 Theatre503 staged Married to the Game (Rapid Write Response), A Girl Like You (Latitude) Vote of No Confidence (Labfest).
Other writing credits include: You Get Me? (Bush Theatre), G.L.O.R.Y (Canal Café Theatre)
Chris has been invited onto the Younger Writers Programme at the Royal Court later in 2012.
“I’m truly honoured to be one of the 503 five and delighted to become part of the 503 family at such an exiting time for one of London’s most prolific and important new writing venues. I am hoping to collaborate with four fantastic writers whom I can learn from, be challenged and inspired by. But most importantly to forge long term working relationships…oh and also bang out some great new plays.”
His play Land of Our Fathers is transferring to the West End in September 2014 produced by Theatre503 and Tara Finney Productions.
Gemma Langford is a Manchester born playwright and graduate of the Jerwood Mentoring Scheme, where she was mentored by esteemed playwright Colin Teevan. She was then chosen by the Royal Exchange Theatre to be one of “The Twelve”, a group of writers selected as up and coming talent.
“Theatre503 is a rare thing – a thriving hub of genuine creatives. You feel it whenever you go up those stairs. And I’m honoured and thrilled to be part of this unique family. I can’t wait to exchange ideas and stretch myself in new directions. I’ve been given an amazing opportunity to write something really special…”
Jon’s first play won the award for comedy at a festival at which it was the only comedy. Since then he’s worked extensively with Old Vic New Voices, taken three sell out shows to the Edinburgh Fringe, got slightly better at writing, and learnt how to make noodles out of courgettes.
“My new year’s resolution was to finally write a full length play, it’s a daunting task, but one made far more appealing by the prospect of doing it with the advice, assistance and support of my favourite theatre. I look forward to making lots of mistakes and learning from each one.”
His play Margaret Thatcher Queen of Soho has just won an Argus Angel Award for Artistic Excellence and is touring to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival August 2014 produced by Off the Kerb, Aine Flanagan Productions and Theatre503.
Brad is a 23 year old playwright from Mid Wales and has had work performed at Theatre Powys, Sherman Cymru, the Royal Court, Theatre503 and Dirty Protest. Brad is a graduate of the Royal Court’s Young Writers’ Programme and subsequent progressions and is the currently the Writer in Residence at Undeb.
“I am very grateful to have been picked for the 503 Five. I intend to use the time with the company to develop my skills as a dramatist (rather than just a writer), and use the scheme to get work on its feet. I intend to deliver a play that would stand up with the quality in 503’s canon.”
The 503Five scheme was founded in 2009 and worked with writers Rex Obano, Lou Ramsden, Nimer Rashed, Richard Marsh and Beth Steel.
In the inaugural year of Theatre503′s first ever commissioning awards, the selected writers were resident with us for a year, writing for us, learning with us and inspiring us. Short plays from the 503Five have been staged as part of All I Want For Christmas and Decade. In January 2010, Rex Obano was the first of the 503Five to have their full length play produced at Theatre503 with his play Slaves. Since then we have produced and staged Wild Horses by Nimer Rashed and Breed by Lou Ramsden. Meanwhile Beth Steel’s play Ditch and Richard Marsh’s piece for Coalition at 503 have been further developed outside of the building.
The current 503Five are kindly supported by The Richard Carne Trust, The Boris Karloff Charitable Foundation and The Fenton Arts Trust.