Annie Jenkins, Benedict Lombe, Joel Tan, Jon Berry and Zak Mahinfar are the next 503Five, recipients of Theatre503’s pioneering Writers’ Residency, supported by the Carne Trust and Orseis Trust.  Since 2011, the scheme has launched 20 writers including Evening Standard Award winners Beth Steel and Charlene James, Olivier Award winner Jon Brittain, RTA award winner and BAFTA nominee Vinay Patel, and Kudos/Royal Court Fellowship recipient Ross Willis. 

The chosen five writers were selected from 413 applicants. They will be on attachment to the venue for 18 months, receiving a £2,000 seed commission to write a fulllength play. They will also benefit from a series of masterclasses, the support of the 503 Literary Team and Artistic Director, and numerous opportunities to have their work developed and staged.  

503FIVE 2019-20 

Annie Jenkins  
Annie began writing short films before her first play In Lipstick was a finalist for the Theatre503 International Playwriting Award 2016. It received a full production in January 2019 in the Main House at The Pleasance, directed by Alice Hamilton. She won a VAULT Innovation Award for VOID and her most recent piece Tinder Trilogy is currently playing for a week at Theatre503 after selling out last year’s Camden Fringe.  

Benedict Lombe  
Benedict is a British Congolese playwright and theatre-maker. She studied Scriptwriting at Bournemouth University, and has recently been named one of the Bush Theatre’s Emerging Writers. She has been shortlisted for the BBC Writersroom – Drama Room, the 2019 inaugural Royal Court and Kudos TV Fellowship and the 2018 Papatango Playwriting Award. As a child of the diaspora, she is keenly interested in stories about the surprising places we find fragments of home, and who gets a platform to tell our stories with truth, nuance and dignity. 

Joel Tan
Joel is a Singaporean playwright based in London. He has an MA in Dramatic Writing from the Drama Centre, Central Saint Martins, which he pursued under a scholarship from Singapore’s National Arts Council. Joel remains active in Singapore as a writer, dramaturg, and performer, and he is an Associate Artist with the city’s leading new writing company, Checkpoint Theatre. His play No Particular Order was shortlisted for the Theatre503 International Playwriting Award 2018. 

Jon Berry
Jon is a dramatist Cymreig hailing from the sunny shores of South Wales. His work has been described as wonky, shy, poetic – somewhere between the endless horizon and the kitchen table. He was a part of Sherman Theatre’s New Welsh Playwrights’ Programme 2016/2018, and recipient of the Kevin Elyot Award in 2017. 

Zak Mahinfar 
Zak grew up in the East Midlands and is halfIranian. He has developed his first full length play as part of the Soho Writers’ Lab 2018/2019. His work explores the intersections of queer, multicultural and rural identity. Alongside writing, he works for the television production company Drama Republic.    

THE 503FIVE ALUMNI

2011-12

  • Lou Ramsden was shortlisted for both the Meyer Whitworth and Critics’ Circle Awards and is now writing extensively for BBC Radio 4
  • Richard Marsh was the winner of an Edinburgh Fringe First for Dirty Great Love Story, which transferred to Bristol Old Vic, Soho Theatre, New York and made its West End debut at the Arts Theatre in January 2017
  • Beth Steel was a finalist of the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize and winner of the Evening Standard’s Charles Wintour Award for most Promising Playwright in 2014.
  • Nimer Rashed has been commissioned by the RSC and was the Royal Court’s Filmmaker in residence in 2012/13
  • Rex Obano was chosen to be part of The Script Factory Writer’s Group, Talawa Theatre’s Writers Group and Royal Court Theatre Invitation Group

2013-14

  • Chris Urch’s 503Five script Land of Our Father’s was produced to critical acclaim at Theatre503, transferring to the West End before embarking on a tour of England, Wales and returning the West End in 2016.
  • Charlene James won the Evening Standard’s Charles Wintour Award for most Promising Playwright in 2016, in a year where 4 of the 6 writers longlisted started their careers at Theatre503.
  • Gemma Langford is a mentor Villiers Park Educational Trust, was a Lecturer in playwriting Cambridge School of Visual & Performing Arts and is writing for theatre and video games.
  • Brad Birch is the writer in residence at Undeb Theatre and on attachment at the Royal Shakespeare Company. In 2016 he was announced as the recipient of the Royal Court’s Harold Pinter Commission.
  • Jon Brittain’s two pieces developed at Theatre503 during his time with us have gone on to score a huge success in the UK and abroad. Margaret Thatcher: Queen of Soho, continues to play around the UK, currently at the Southbank Udderbelly Festival. Rotterdam won the 2017 Olivier Award for Oustanding Achievement at an Affiliate Theatre, after transferring from 503 to the West End – our second Olivier in 8 years.

2015-16

  • Vinay Patel was commissioned by the BBC during his time with us to create the extraordinary Murdered By My Father, for which he received a BATFA nomination for Breakthrough Brit and the production garnered a Best Actor BAFTA for Adeel Akhtar, becoming the first non-white actor to win the accolade.
  • Neasa O’Callaghan was the Writer-on-Attachment at the Oxford Playhouse and a member of the Soho Theatre Writers’ Lab. She was shortlisted for the Old Vic 12 Residency. She has also been developing her career as a producer as one of three Galway-based producers on Irish Theatre Institute’s ELEVATOR Resource Sharing Initiative in association with Town Hall Theatre, Galway.
  • Brian Mullin’s play, We Wait In Joyful Hope, was selected to be performed at Theatre503 in June 2016 directed by Lisa Cagnacci, 503’s Associate Artistic Director. The 4 week run was well received with a range of 4 star reviews and an appearance by Brian on BBC Radio 4 Mid-Week. Brian was signed by agency Nick Quinn.
  • Chloe Todd Fordham’s play Sound of Silence won a Bruntwood Prize Judges Award and she has just been shortlisted for the 2017 WiT award, run by Out of Joint. Chloe went on to become the Literary Coordinator at Graeae Theatre Company.
  • Ella Greenhill took part in the Bush/Kudos writers initiative. She was also one of the winning writers for ITV’s Original Voices for BAME writers for Coronation Street. She has written 19 episodes of Corrie, as well as for CBBC’s The Dumping Ground, She is also developing a number of original projects.

2017-18

  • Aisha Zia is currently under commission from Contact Theatre in Manchester, Curve Theatre in Leicester
  • Chris Hogg is currently working on the next draft of his play The Sunday Service, he recently won BBC Podcast of the Year for Rathband: A Digital Tragedy.
  • Mahad Ali was longlisted for the Alfred Fagon award for My Brother’s Keeper, which he wrote for Theatre503
  • Ross Willis was announced as the winner of the 2019 Royal Court and Kudos Fellowship and his commission Wolfie premiered at Theatre503 in March 2019 directed by Lisa Spirling.
  • Yasmin Joseph’s play J’Ouvert opened at 503 in June directed by Rebekah Murrell, produced by Tobi Kyeremateng in co-production with the venue.

The 503Five is kindly supported by The Carne Trust and The Orseis Trust