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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 Steve Harper and Graeme Thompson. 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.



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.”


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.”


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.