Tamasha Playwrights 2014-15

Tamasha Playwrights is a writer-led collective founded in October 2014 by Tamasha’s Co-Artistic Director Fin Kennedy and formed of 8 emerging playwrights from a diverse range of backgrounds.

The Tamasha Playwrights group is refreshed every October. Our inaugrual Tamasha Playwrights were: 

Mediah Ahmed 

Mediah grew up in London and has a PhD in Biophysics in relation to Dentistry but her passion for theatre was sparked when she participated in the Unheard Voices writing workshops at Royal Court in 2009. In January 2012, Mediah’s first ever piece called Repentance, directed by Blanche McIntyre, ran for two weeks as part of ANGLE at the Bush. She has had poetry published in the SALIDAA anthology – Against the grain (July 2013) and Keats House poets’ anthology – Writing in the blackout (June 2014). Her last play Honour was part of the Kali Talkback Festival 2013.

Mahad Ali

Mahad was a participant in the Royal Court and Soho Theatres young writers programmes. His play the Beginning of the End was selected for the Top 100 Longlist for the 2013 Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting. He also participated in the Media Guardian Television Festival as a writer and had his script performed by the cast of the hit television series Footballers’ Wives. Mahad helped Rice ‘N’ Peas Films produce the documentary This is our Country too, a film about Aboriginal people in Australia. Following on from that he produced and directed a documentary on young people and citizenship entitled Citizens Today. Mahad has been able to develop his craft by taking creative writing courses at City University.  

Sharmila Chauhan

Sharmila is playwright and prose writer. Plays include: The Husbands, an exploration of polyandry and matriarchy, (UK tour including Soho theatre (Kali and Pentabus Theatre 2014)) and Born Again/Purnajanam (Southwark Playhouse, Kali Theatre, Jan 2012), 10 Women (with Bethan Dear, Avignon 2014), A Little Piece, commissioned by the Maritime Museum (Nov 2014) Make and Model (RADAR Festival Bush Theatre, Nov 2014). She is currently working on her novel Seven Mirrors and is Artist in Residence at the Tagore Centre London and a curator for SAWCC London. Fascinated by the quiet meaning in people’s lives: her work is often a transgressive meditation on love, sex and exploration of the diaspora. www.sharmilathewriter.com @sci_literati

Tuyen Do

Tuyen is an actor and writer. She is was part of the Royal Court's 2012 studio group and is a founding member of Papergang Theatre (a company dedicated to nurturing new East Asian writers). Her short film Healthy screened internationally and won honourable mention for Best Short, and Best Supporting Actor at the Asians on Film Festival in LA 2014. Her directing debut, short film Above the Waist earned her a Best Director nomination. Acting stage credits include: Unbroken (Rich Mix Scratch), Golden Child (New Diorama), The Grammar of Love (Oval House); film and television credits include 24: LAD (Fox), The One's Below (BBC, Tigerlily and Cuba Films) and award winning short films Healthy, Cross Your Fingers and My Dad the Communist. She is also a teacher and acting coach at the Actors Temple.

Asif khan

Asif is currently developing his first full-length play, Combustion, which was performed as a reading at the Arcola’s playWROUGHT#2 Festival. He grew up in Bradford and trained as an actor at RADA. Theatre includes: Multitudes (Tricycle), The Nutcracker & the Mouse King (Unicorn), The Book (Flying Cloud), Queen of the Nile (HullTruck), Kabaddi Kabaddi Kabaddi (Arcola), The Snow Queen (Unicorn/Trestle), Snookered (Tamasha/Bush), Mixed Up North (Out of Joint), Twelfth Night (National), Playback (Ankur). Screen work includes: Dumpee (Film), Spooks, The Dumping Ground, Doctors, Casualty (BBC). Going Postal (Sky1). Bradford Riots & Plot to Bring Down Britain's Planes (Channel 4). 

Yolanda Mercy

Yolanda was born and raised between London and Norwich. She found her passion for the arts during her studies at the Brit school and Laban; however it was during her time at Laban where she discovered that theatre was the medium that she LOVED and subsequently went on to create pieces that included choreography and text (which sparked her interest in writing). After the completion of my BA hons, she had the privilege of being on the Lyric Hammersmith’s young writers program (Led by Duncan Macmillan), Soho writers and now Tamasha. She enjoys telling stories that raise awareness, and spur social change for young people and the under represented. 

Sophia Mertins

Sophia is a Guatemalan playwright, currently living in London, where she has written for theatre and film and has co-produced two short films. Her interest in theatre derived from her training as a dancer and her work as a performer with various theatre and dance companies in Guatemala. She started writing while being a member of the young actors group of the Actor’s Touring Company (ACT@ATC). Her first play Parrots received the New Playwriting Prize in Guatemala in 2010 and went to open the National Theatre Festival in 2011. It was then read in its English version at the Arcola Theatre by the Actors Touring Company. She continued her writing education with Graham Whybrow and Simon Stephens at the Arvon Foundation in 2011 and since 2012 at Oxford University in their undergraduate course in Creative Writing. 

Sally Woodcock

Sally’s first full-length play Fanta Orange was developed at NT Studio and Finborough Theatre, nominated for Best New Play by Offwestend awards and Time Out’s Best New Play 2011 Award. Horses For Courses was shortlisted for Papatango new writing festival, and Clever was shortlisted for the Cambridge Menagerie Sparks Festival. U-Bend received a staged reading at RADA, following participation in Royal Court writer’s group. Green Woman is currently in development for Salisbury Playhouse, and TV Drama Five Thousand Pounds for Little Brother Productions. Sally was brought up in Asia and Africa and divides her time between Kenya and the UK. She holds an MA from RADA / KCL and MPHIL from Cambridge University.

 

 Projects Year 1 Tamasha Playwrights initiated include:

Scratch night, Two’s Company at Soho Theatre: in which a series of new two-hander short plays were showcased to a sold out audience (See more) and later digitally published via the Tamasha websites. Read the Year 1 Tamasha Playwrights scripts here.

Tamasha Radio: development of a new online audio drama series for podcast and pitching ideas for BBC Radio commissioning.

The Agency: training as workshop leaders and the founding of an agency of diverse ‘playwrights-for-hire’ to schools and youth groups.

Tamasha Playwrights 2014-15 have already received paid workshop commissions. Clients include Mulberry School for Girls, Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Shool, the Migration Museum, Royal Opera House, Redbridge Drama Centre, Derby Theatre and Luton Hat Factory.

Testimonials

I have developed my ability to see what needs work and give constructive feedback on scripts. I have also learnt to receive feedback and process what has been said to me and apply it to my work where needed. I have gained confidence in my own artistic ability and journey, something I struggled with before. Tuyen Do

Tamasha Playwrights has really taught me about the business side of theatre and the creative opportunity of doing things independentlyMahad Ali

Tamasha Playwrights is run by a writer with practical and real experience. There is in depth understanding of the challenges facing diverse writers - financially, professionally and artistically. A group such as this gives writers the skills to think autonomously and as writer/producers. It could become a mentoring platform with a supportive space for writers to network and support each other's creative practicesSharmila Chauhan

For a writer the opportunity for a regular forum to discuss and develop work, and to expand horizons, is of immense value. Writing and developing a piece for the Scratch Night opened a floodgate of ideas for me, and I think all of us, which may never have happened if I'd been stuck alone in my garret. Sally Woodcock

I love how we as the writers are in control - I feel totally invested in. Mediah Ahmed

It's a very relaxed, passionate and inspiring group to be part of. The group is more than just learning new approaches to playwrighting. It's also an environment to share and bounce ideas off fellow writers. It's provided a great deal of opportunities for me. Asif Khan

I've been writing for 2 years, and have done a few courses - but by far the Tamasha Playwrights scheme is the best course I've ever done. Fin's leadership and experience has inspired me; I hope to one day be a resourceful writer like him, finding my own ways to develop my craft, tell compelling stories and lead a company. Yolanda Mercy