Update: 21.6.2020 – I have all of the recordings I need now so please don’t submit one. Thank you to those who took the time to record and send. 

Thanks for visiting.

I am currently part of a research and development project for a new piece with Unfolding Theatre. We’re at the earliest stages of finding ideas and ways to explore them – something made all the more, shall we say, interesting by the fact we are having to work remotely.

Our current provocation is ‘When The Lights Light Up Again’ and as part of this I have written a short piece.

What I’d love is for you to record yourself reading it and send it to me.

There’s no ‘right’ way to read it – fast, slow, with as much ‘performance’ as you like or feel that it warrants. I’m interested in hearing lots of different voices and interpretations.

– The piece –


– What to do –

Please read it.

Please record yourself reading/performing it (audio only, not video) on your phone or another device as you wish.

Send it to me at

– Disclaimers –

There’s no payment.

This is for some current R&D work. In the short term it will be shared with my fellow collaborators within Unfolding Theatre. It might be shared in a private  Facebook group with members of our wider collaboration team.

If you’re not happy with that, please don’t submit anything.

If you are happy with that, please do. And if you’re happy to be credited, let me know your name.

Writing in the time of Corona

Early afternoon on 17th March 2020, the day theatre doors across the country began to close, my friend the actor and writer Francesca Waite rang me asking if I’d be interested in getting involved in an initiative she was launching to keep writers writing.

She wanted to give writers a day to write, record and post a short piece of theatre filmed in isolation and she asked me to kick it off with the brief ‘Number One’. I was hesitant – my head was swimming, there was a lot going on – but I said yes and for an hour the next morning I wrote a short monologue. It wasn’t about what was going on, I wanted to escape that and thought viewers might too. It was so lovely to be doing something ‘normal’ and it got me out of my head for a bit.

Julie Hesmondhalgh kindly agreed to read and record it, and about 30 hours after getting the initial phone call it was posted on Twitter!


Yesterday (6th April) marked the 20th play and the initiative continues as long as people want to get involved. Two minutes a day of different stories and voices. It’s no mean feat and well worth a watch.

Fat Alice – rehearsal photos

So, earlier this week rehearsals started for Fat Alice. I was, frankly, giddy with excitement. I bought two (count ’em) jumpers to celebrate and took myself off up to Edinburgh. Below are some poor quality photos I took. The actors are Meg Fraser and Richard Conlon, directed by Joe Douglas.

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Traverse Theatre – Write Here 2013

“By trying something new you might discover something great.”

This month, Write Here, the Traverse’s New Writing Festival will showcase the best in new writing from Scotland and beyond. As one of the Traverse Fifty I have a few things amongst the line-up …

Lunchtime Rehearsed Readings
Tues 22 – Sat 26 Oct, 1.30pm

Want nourishment for the body and the mind? In the spirit of the hugely sucessful A Play, A Pie and a Pint, Dream Plays and Breakfast Plays, we have a special series of Lunchtime Rehearsed Readings all week as part of Write Here. Each day there will be readings of two mini-plays from our Traverse Fifty, accompanied by a refreshing bottle of Innis & Gunn beer (or soft drink) and a warming bowl of home-made stovies. A perfect way to spend a windy Autumn afternoon.

Wed 23 October @ 1.30pm – directed by Zinnie Harris 
FAT ALICE by Alison Carr
ASSESSMENT by Robert Dawson Scott

Headset Plays
Mon 21 Oct – Sat 26 Oct (2.30pm – 6pm)

Experience theatre in a different way, through our free headset plays. Featuring five five-minute plays, audience members simply collect a headset at Box Office and tune in to hear nuggets of brilliant new work, created by our Traverse Fifty.

Hidden Plays
Mon 21 Oct – Sat 26 Oct

Proving that art is everywhere, these tiny gems of plays are hidden around the Traverse building, waiting for you to discover. Discover a new voice in the Atrium, meet a new writer by the sofas – expect the unexpected.

Writers’ Pictures Exhibition
Mon 21 Oct – Sun 3 Nov

To celebrate our Traverse Fifty writers, our friends at Writers’ Pictures paired each writer with a photographer back in January. Throughout the last 10 months, each pair has been working together to create a portrait of our 50 playwrights. Over Write Here, all 50 images will be exhibited for the first time in our bar. Come and take a look at the faces behind the words. Click here to read my blog about the experience

From puppet to page to stage …

Not that long ago, something like Forward Theatre Project’s SCRATCH MY CITY would have seen me running screaming for the hills. These days, though, I tend to say’ yes’ to things that scare me. Don’t get me wrong, falling off a cliff on to a spike scares me and you won’t see me doing that anytime soon (at least I hope not), but in terms of my writing life I have learnt to embrace a challenge. Because you just never know.

I think the most frightening writing-thing I have ever done was the OVNV 24 Hour Plays. Having a play you wrote overnight introduced on to the Old Vic stage by Jeff Goldblum takes some beating on the Fear Chart.  But I did it.

And in a twisty-path way, that led to my play Fine being performed on Sunday night as part of FTP’s latest SCRATCH MY CITY. Because I met Artistic Director Charlotte Bennett while doing The 24 Hour Plays. She invited me to join FTP and the rest, as they say, is history.

I did my first SMC with the company last year. There’s always a jumping off point for the writers. Last time it was design ideas from Left Luggage Theatre Company. This time it was puppets. Yes, puppets. The brief – how puppeteers create characters differently and what happens if these are humanised on stage. At first I was sceptical. Then Cuthbert came in to my life and I realised how brilliant these Colossal Crumbs creations were.

This is Cuthbert. He is a fish. [Click] the picture to see his story. 

See?! See what I mean! Just looking at him I knew I loved him and he broke my heart on first viewing.

Clearly the pairing of Cuthbert and me was no fluke. In her initial email, Charlotte wrote “ … the tragic/comic style in Cuthbert’s story which I thought you would be very good at”. Clearly my reputation precedes me … a lonely fish who dreams of suicide? Give it to Carr, that’s right up her street. And indeed it is.

I knew fairly quickly the angle I wanted to take. Which is fortunate as the turnaround on these things is tight – a fortnight to turn in your script.

The things that stood out for me the most in the video were Cuthbert’s solitude despite not being the only fish in the pond and his book ‘The Way to Happiness’. So I gave Cuthbert a friend, or at least someone who might become a friend eventually, The Librarian. She’s come for the book which is 30+ years overdue. What I didn’t want was to make Cuthbert a victim – all those lonely years have taken their toll, he’s spikey, he’s put walls up, he’s not going to fall in to the arms of friendship with any passing stranger. And the Librarian too, she has her own reasons for her visit, her own needs.

Two lonely people, one magic library book. Yes, that’s right, because before we start getting all angsty and deep, ‘The Way to Happiness’ was no ordinary tome. It had Rolos inside (you had to be there, I’ll say no more).

Below are some production shots:


Fine – first produced by Forward Theatre Project as part of Scratch My City, Soho Theatre, August 2012

The cast was as follows:

CUTHBERT: Rhys Meredith

Directed by Sarah Bedi

When I wasn’t eating biscuits and/or fretting I was …

2010, eh. It’s been quite a twelve months. Here’s a little review of my year …


  • I am invited on to BBC Sparks – a scheme for writers identified as having potential for radio drama. I accept. Obv.
  • Deadline for submissions for Live Theatre’s Different Stages Festival. My effort, Tittle Tattle Tattletale, is a bit of a departure from my ‘usual’ style and content but it seems like an ideal opportunity to chance something different.
  • I submit Maggie & Mary for the first Newcastle INK Festival.


  • Auditions for Blood & Money.
  • I spend a week on an organic farm in Kent with BBC Sparks. I lose the ability to form sentences and seem incapable of ‘thinking with my ears’. I wonder whether me and radio drama will ever be friends.
  • Extracts from Blood & Money are performed as work-in-progress drafts at Northern Stage’s First In Three night. The audience feedback is positive. I eat too many chips.


  • Tittle Tattle Tattletale is performed at Live’s Different Stages Festival.
  • I enter the Nick Darke Award with a new play, Trickle. The entry requirements are the first 20 pages and a synopsis … which is lucky as the first 20 pages and a synopsis are all I have!


  • I am invited to write a one-act play for the Centenary Season at The People’s Theatre. There are four writers involved, each with an association with the People’s – past or present – and the theme is Past Glories.
  • Blood & Money previews at The People’s Theatre – rehearsed reading.
  • I submit a short for Theatre503’s PLAYlist – plays inspired by a song, that can be no longer than that song!


  • I go to York to see On The Harmful Effects of Tobacco – Forward Theatre Project are inviting writers to submit a companion play to this Chekhov short.
  • Heart Shaped Hole, inspired by Cilla Black’s Anyone Who Had A Heart, is performed at Theatre503.
  • Rehearsals start for Blood & Money going to Prague.
  • Trickle is shortlisted for the Nick Darke Award. Woop!
  • Blood & Money previews at Live Theatre.


  • Rascally Scoundrels make their debut with Blood & Money at the Prague Fringe Festival. It is all hideously stressful while at the same time being marvellous fun. In the run up I was having terrifying anxiety dreams and breaking out in eczema, but it all worked out and we board the plane home still speaking.
  • My play Can Cause Death is shortlisted to the final four as the companion play for Chekhov’s On The Harmful Effects of Tobacco.
  • I write a monologue for the Newcastle-leg of Paines Plough’s Come To Where I’m From project. I also perform it. Which is an experience.
  • Maggie & Mary is performed at the INK Festival.
  • Can Cause Death is performed script-in-hand, along with the other shortlisted plays, at York Theatre Royal.


  • Rascally Scoundrels are invited to take part in the launch of Writers Block North East. Which is nice.
  • Can Cause Death is selected to be the companion play for Tobacco. I am now on a double-bill with Chekhov. Never a sentence I expected to write.
  • Trickle does not win the Nick Darke Award. Close but no cigar. Never mind, those 20 pages and that synopsis will not be wasted … I make a start developing the idea into a one-act play for Past Glories. When one door closes, etc. I also start keeping a blog diary of the play that will chart it right up to performance, starting [here]


  • I am approached by Live Theatre, asking if I would be interested in developing my Prague play Blood into a full-length play. I am. So I make a start.
  • I stumble across a recording on YouTube of Maggie & Mary – not being performed at INK but the 2009 Gi60 Festival in Brooklyn, New York! See, sometimes Googling yourself is not a bad thing … 😉
  • Yackety Yak wins Live’s A Million Short Cuts event. There is no prize, just the warm glow of victory!
  •  I go to London to workshop Can Cause Death with director Charlotte Bennett and actor David Bradley.


  • Deadline for Past Glories first draft – Never Rains But It Pours is up on its feet and wings its way to the powers-that-be.
  • Finally I can reveal that Tobacco/Can Cause Death will debut at the National Theatre in November. Yowzah!


  • A round-the-table-read-through of the first drafts of all four Past Glories plays at The People’s Theatre.
  • Booking opens for the Tobacco double-bill at the National Theatre. It sells out within days. I do a little dance.
  • I am invited to take part in Ignite, a programme by Old Vic New Voices for alumni of The 24 Hour Plays. I head to London for the workshop weekend.


  • Can Cause Death is performed at the National, starring David Bradley. A highlight of my career to date, without a doubt.
  • Ignite – first draft deadline.
  • Ignite – final draft deadline! (did I mention the project had a tight turnaround?!)


  • But Otherwise Went Well is performed at Waterloo East Theatre as part of Ignite1.
  • I deliver Never Rains But It Pours rehearsal draft – auditions are scheduled for January.
  • Podcasts of the Paines Plough Come To Where I’m From monologues go online.
  • Tickets go on sale for Can Cause Death at Northern Stage in February. 
  • I pitch, and am subsequently commissioned to write, a monologue for Live Theatre’s Boys on the Edge event in March. Writing from the perspective of a teenage boy … this one’s going to be a challenge!

Ambitions for 2011 …?

  • complete, and see performed, my full-length play
  • do more with my free time – ie, don’t spend it either a) feeling guilty about not working b) napping c) watching The Crystal Maze on Challenge TV d) all of the above
  • more Rascals funtimes with them there Scoundrels
  • make further headway into radio drama
  • work with Julie Walters
  • eat less cake & more vegetables (let’s not get ahead of ourselves!)

So, all that’s left to do is bid a hearty “Happy New Year!”. 2011, eh. Here’s hoping it’s a good one … xx

Come To Where I’m From online …

Back in June I took part in Paines Plough’s Come To Where I’m From … 61 playwrights from 14 cities across the UK writing about their hometowns, the places that shaped them.

Come To Where I'm FromClick [here] to read an article on The Guardian website by James Grieve and George Perrin about the project.

Click [here] to read my blog about the experience, mainly involving biscuits and near hysteria.

Subsequently, we were invited to record our monologues that would then be posted on the Paines Plough website. A chance for a UK-wide project to come together as one … and another chance for me to panic about having to ‘perform’ my own piece … gulp.

The podcasts are being made available a city at a time, a day at a time … Newcastle took to the online-super-highway TODAY!

Listen [HERE] to the dulcet tones of Mr Michael Chaplin, Sir Dick Curran, Lady Tracy Whitwell and myself … waxing lyrical on topics ranging from memories of the Tyne, American tourists in Jarrow, living in a caravan and the perils of low ceilings …!

If you think it was all glamour – a plush recording studio with them fancy-pants giant headphones like Beyonce would have – then think again … I recorded my play in my bedroom on my MP3 player and emailed it to the offices!

Me & Chekhov hit NE1 …!

Just a quickie to say that tickets are on sale NOW for ON THE HARMFUL EFFECTS OF TOBACCO / CAN CAUSE DEATH at Northern Stage.

The dates are Wednesday 16 & Thursday 17 February 2011, 8pm. You can book via the [website] or call the Box Office on 0191 230 5151.

For more details on the play, click [here]

Suffice to say, it would be super aces if there were more than just me and my folks in the audience, so do come along if you can …! xx

“we apologise for the disruption this will cause …”

The best part of six hours to get there. The best part of four hours to get back.


Get there and back I did and, somewhere in the middle of the snow-induced-travel-disruption, I managed to see my play But Otherwise Went Well.

Hearty congratualtions to the team … Alex, Charlie, Deirdre, Lorna, Daisy, Ben and Ian. A talented, hard working bunch who pulled it off with aplomb … xx

Congratulations also to the other productions: Custard by Ella Hickson, Defined by Design by Arinze Kene and Sex Toys by Gabriel Bissett-Smith.