News Story

Oxford Playhouse is delighted to announce the talented selection of creatives who will be on attachment with the theatre as part of the Playhouse Playmaker writing and Evolve Artist programmes in 2024.

Led by award-winning playwright Clare Bayley, the Playmaker scheme provides a year-long mentorship to six emerging playwrights, supporting them in creating their own full-length plays. Joining the 2024 scheme are actor, singer, playwright and poet Paula David; London-based writer and director Louis Emmitt-Stern; Oxford-raised stage, screen and audio writer Afsaneh Gray; alumnus of Hampstead Theatre’s INSPIRE Writers Group Jessica Norman; British-Nigerian writer, actor, and creative producer Lare Oyefusi; and BBC’s Drama Writersroom shortlisted artist Sam Parker.

Playhouse Playmakers 2024: Lare Oyefusi, Jessica Norman, Louis Emmitt-Stern, Sam Parker, Paula David and Afsaneh Gray

Credit: Geraint Lewis

From January to June, the group will meet with Clare Bayley one Saturday a month at The Playhouse. This session will consist of practical writing exercises, discussion, and feedback on their scripts, with guest playwrights and dramaturgs providing talks on their own lived experiences.

In September 2024, the Playmakers will then have the opportunity to share an extract from their script, in a performance of a rehearsed reading in the Burton Taylor Studio, as part of Oxford’s own Fringe, Offbeat Festival, an artistic partnership between the Old Fire Station, Oxford Playhouse and New Theatre Oxford.

The Evolve Artist attachment scheme offers three emerging or mid-career artists and companies a bespoke 12 months of seed funding, research and development support, and mentorship from The Playhouse.

The cohort for 2024 includes Seemia Theatre, an award-winning international ensemble of six artists from Iran, Argentina and the UK led by Sara Amini; Oxford People’s Theatre, co-founded by Emma Webb and Lizzy McBain, who work closely with many Oxford-based arts venues including The Playhouse; and award-winning director, producer and theatre maker Stephen Bailey, who has previously directed for VAULT Festival, Barbican and The Hope Theatre, as well as working for the National Theatre, Royal Court, Chichester Festival Theatre and Royal Opera House.

Oxford Playhouse is delighted to be launching the 2024 scheme under the artistic direction of Evolve alumnus, Mike Tweddle. He said:

“Oxford Playhouse is thrilled to be working with such an inspirational group of theatre makers as part of our 2024 Playmaker and Evolve programmes. Encouraging and developing independent artists is a cornerstone of our theatre’s mission.

Having been an Evolve artist earlier in my career, I experienced firsthand the impact of a scheme that offers support, space, dialogue and confidence, enabling artists to dream and experiment.

We look forward to seeing this cohort’s creative journeys develop throughout the year, and we’ll be proud to play a role in nurturing that development.”

Previous EVOLVE Artists include Olivier Award-winner Chris Bush and UK Theatre Award-winner Matt Winkworth; Olivier nominated writer-performer Caroline Horton; Robin Norton-Hale, founder of Opera Up Close; acclaimed performer Lanre Malaolu,Daniel Naddafy, Dot and Ethel, Ellen Havard, Fifth Word, Hannah Ringham, Hidden Track, Jack Bennett, Jessica Lazar, Mike Tweddle, Smoking Apples, Tabby Lamb, JC Niala, Rhiannon Faith Company,The Gramophones and local companies Flintlock Theatre, Justice in Motion and Kuumba Nia Arts.