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Writehouse showcases local talent

Jamie McLeish

A showcase for emerging playwrights will be delivered in front of a live audience next week.

Writehouse is part of Sunderland Stages Writers’ Project and follows on from the recent successes of Museum Pieces and Sunderland Stories. A professional cast in front of a socially-distanced live audience at Arts Centre Washington will perform six new short plays on Thursday, October 22 (7pm). The plays will also be live streamed to a wider online audience via Facebook.

Theatre Space North East’s Corinne Kilvington will direct each of the plays written by Jessica Birch (The Goodbye Book), Thomas Kelly (Dennis), Peter McAdam (Friends), Jamie McLeish (It’s On the Cards), Alan Parkinson (The Empty Seat) and Janet Plater (Church Flowers).

Alan Parkinson, Thomas Kelly, Jamie McLeish and Peter McAdam are from Sunderland, Janet Plater is from Newcastle and Jessica Birch is from Jarrow.

Alan is a novelist who has had four books published to date. He also wrote one of the Sunderland Stories monologues, Parting Shot.

Thomas is an optometrist who is originally from Lancashire. He has lived in Sunderland for three years and wrote a monologue ‘Nasty Pasties’ for the Sunderland Stories programme.

Jamie has written comedy for BBC Radio Newcastle’s Grin Up North show, and wrote one of the Museum Pieces plays.

Peter is a visual artist, musician, film-maker and radio producer who graduated from the University of Sunderland with a BA and MA in Fine Art. Friends is his first play.

Janet is a writer and actress and also runs one of the region’s most successful actors’ agencies.

Jessica works as a copywriter, alongside working as an usher in a theatre. She honed her writing skills through an English and Creative Writing degree at the University of Sunderland.

Helen Green, Head of Performance at Sunderland Culture, is producing Writehouse: “We put a call out for new and emerging writers earlier in the year and we were impressed by the response, both in terms of quantity and quality.

“Our Writehouse playwrights are a diverse group with different approaches and things to say, but they’re united in talent and promise.

“Writehouse is part of the ongoing Sunderland Stages Writers Project that has been developing writers for the stage over the last couple of years. The project has included workshops and talks by established playwrights; theatre visits, including one to Edinburgh Fringe, and given opportunities to have work performed professionally.

“These opportunities have included Museum Pieces which saw five short plays by new writers performed in Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens last November; and  Sunderland Stories - six monologues by emerging writers, performed online in June and July this year.

“I’ve also been determined that the writers’ project creates opportunities across both Sunderland Stories and Writehouse for actors who are being hit quite desperately during the continual closure of theatres around the country.

“I’d like to thank our actors and our director Corinne, and I’m very much looking forward to the 22nd and a wider audience seeing the abundance of local talent.”

The local actors performing at Writehouse are Charlie Richmond, Dean Bone, Jackie Phillips, Brogan Gilbert and Sarah Lewis Obuda.

After the performances, there will be a Q&A session with the playwrights. Writehouse is presented as part of Sunderland Culture’s Great Place programme, funded by Arts Council England and National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Tickets for the live performances at Arts Centre Washington are sold out, Click here for the Facebook Live link

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Sunderland is home of the National Glass Centre - the only UK centre celebrating the history of glass making and providing a world focus for glass. The centre reopened in 2013 after undergoing a major refurbishment.


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