Past Productions TRADE IT? The writers

EDSON BURTON
Dr Edson Burton has organized and delivered a range of Black History courses and presentations at a university and at grass roots level. A regular performer on the South West poetry scene, he has supported Simon Armitage, Glenis Redmond and Dana Bryant. Plays for BBC Radio 4: THE ARMOUR OF IMMANUEL and CORNER. In 2007 he wrote two plays to mark the bicentenary of the abolition of the slave trade: REBEL WOMAN, broadcast on regional radio, and SLAVE SHIP, a community produced by Say It Loud. He is currently editing a series of his poems to be published by City Chameleon in autumn 2008.

JENNY DAVIS
Award winning playwright, screenwriter, digital artist, novelist and actor. Kushite Theatre’s national tour of THE FRONT ROOM played at Bristol Old Vic and Nottingham Playhouse. Bristol productions include Theatre West (THE MEMORY OF RAIN) and BBC Radio Bristol. BBC screenplay commission, and South West Screen/Film Council competition winner; Digital artwork ‘Threads’ premiered in the UK and US and currently touring. Work with Travelling Light, The Oval House, Bristol Old Vic, Amnesty International. As an actor, Jenny has performed at Edinburgh Fringe Festival, toured with Transactions, and recently performed site-specific work. She lives in Bristol and is performer member of Bristol’s ‘Breathing Fire’ Black Women’s Play Back Theatre Company.

MADGE DRESSER
Reader in History at the University of the West of England and Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. Though she has published widely on the 18th British history, this is her first attempt at creative writing and is loosely based on some documents she came across during her research for her 2001 book Slavery Obscured- the first sustained cultural history of the Slave Trade in Bristol. Her latest book (with Peter Fleming), Bristol: ethnic minorities in the city looks at the Welsh, Irish, Africans, Jews, Poles and other minorities from the year 1000 to 2001 year and features a chapter on African-Caribbeans in post-war Bristol by Trade It! writer, Dr. Edson Burton. (www.englandspastforeveryone.org.uk)

SHEILA HANNON
Sheila Hannon co-founded Show Of Strength in 1986 and co-wrote the first two shows. She then focused on producing and has created three new theatres in Bristol, including the Tobacco Factory (1998). She was awarded a full Society of London Theatre Producers Bursary, and has produced new work by Peter Nichols, Ron Hutchinson, Moira Buffini and Amanda Whittington. Work for Radio 4 includes dramatising Karen Blixen’s LETTERS FROM AFRICA with Eleanor Bron (Pick of the Year) and THE FEMALE HUSBAND starring Sandi Toksvig. Two stage plays directed by Alan Dossor: MASTERMIND (Liverpool Everyman) and AN AUDIENCE WITH SARAH GUPPY (SOS, with Kim Hicks). A new play with songs, TEATIME IN TORQUAY, will have a reading in the autumn.

LUCY HEYWOOD
Lucy lives in Stroud and studied playwriting at Soho Theatre, The Royal Court and the University of North London. Credits include: The Tiler of Gloucester, Right on Your Doorstep, Say Cheese! (all Fairgame Theatre), Waning and Waxing (winner of Stroud Theatre Co’s Postcode Project and New Theatre Works competition at Hereford’s Courtyard Theatre), Close to Home (Diocese of Gloucester, Housing Justice), Right on Your Doorstep, In the Dark (Soho Theatre rehearsed reading), Hope and Anchor (Flies on the Wall Youth Theatre). Short film: Back in Ten (independently produced). She is currently writing a play about young offenders for The Roses Theatre, Tewkesbury.

CATHERINE JOHNSON
Bristol writer Catherine Johnson’s musical ‘Mamma Mia!’ has been running since 1999, movie released July 2008. Her career began at Bristol Old Vic with ‘Rag Doll’, 1988 and her numerous writing credits include ‘Too Much Too Young’, ‘Shang-A-Lang’, ‘Through The Wire’. ‘Big Mouth Strikes Again’ is another title she stole.

MUSTAPHA MATURA
George Devine, John Whiting and Evening Standard Most Promising Playwright Awards. PLAYBOY OF THE WEST INDIES opened in 1984 and has had huge success in the UK and USA with a TV adaptation in 1985. TRINIDAD SISTERS opened at the Donmar Warehouse in 1988 and in the USA in 1992. A reworked version, THREE SISTERS, opened at Birmingham Rep in 2006. Commissions and productions include: Royal National Theatre, Black Theatre Co-operative, Tricycle Theatre, Young Vic, Foco Novo, ICA, Riverside, Stratford and Hampstead Theatre. TV includes the highly successful series NO PROBLEM!: a joint project between Black Theatre Co-Operative (which Mustapha founded in 1978 with Charlie Hanson) and LWT/Channel 4. He also devised and wrote, in collaboration with Rudy Narayan, the BBC series BLACK SILK (1985). In 1991, Mustapha received the Trinidad and Tobago Government Scarlet Ibis Award for achievement. He is currently developing a number of projects for television and the stage.

ROB MITCHELL
Born in Hertfordshire in 1970, Rob was raised in Barbados and London before moving as a student to study Theatre, Film & Television at the University of Bristol in 1989. He remained in Bristol, working in broadcast and community media production, with various production companies including Black Pyramid Film and Video project. In 2000 he established Firstborn with Shawn Sobers with whom he collaborated on a radio play in 2006 for BBC Radio Bristol. Most of his other writing is poetry dealing with the personal to the mystical, and credits the Bristol Black Writers’ Group as a space where this practice was developed.

SANDI TOKSVIG
Sandi Toksvig is one of Britain’s best loved performers. TV includes No 73, TIME TEAM, WHOSE LINE IS IT ANYWAY, CALL MY BLUFF, WHAT THE DICKENS. Theatre includes SHORT AND CURLY (with Bonnie Langford), seasons at Nottingham Playhouse and Regents Park Open Air Theatre, BIG NIGHT OUT, THE POCKET DREAM and her current one woman show ‘AVAILABLE’. For Radio 4: THE NEWS QUIZ, EXCESS BAGGAGE, LOOSE ENDS and I’M SORRY I HAVEN’T A CLUE. 18 books including WHISTLING FOR ELEPHANTS, FLYING UNDER BRIDGES, THE GLADYS SOCIETY and HITLER’S CANARY. She writes a weekly column in the Sunday Telegraph and monthly in Good Housekeeping.

SUZANNE WORRICA
Suzanne graduated with an MA in Writing for Performance from Goldsmiths College last year. She is an emerging writer currently writing her third full length play, Lostsister. Although addicted to playwriting Suzanne has been writing in different forms for many years, from dubious teenage verse to poetic memoirs. This is her first commission.

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Past Productions Gripping Yarns: free performances in Exeter

Gripping Yarns
Sat 12 & Sun 13 May, 10.30am-4.30pm
Royal Albert Memorial Museum & Art Gallery, Queen St, Exeter EX4 3RX

This weekend Show of Strength bring objects in Exeter’s Royal Albert Memorial Museum to life and showcase writing by local people.

Watch a series of 12 five-minute monologues performed in the museum’s galleries, close to the objects which inspired them. All the monologues were written and developed in a series of workshops run by Show of Strength in March and April this year. Join us on Saturday and Sunday and prepare to see museum objects in a completely new light.

Download a performance schedule here

Gripping Yarns is a partnership project with RAMM, Exeter Northcott Theatre and Show of Strength and has been funded by Renaissance.

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