The Writers Collective is an opportunity for a group of writers and a dramaturg to share skills, techniques and obsessions, and to fire up conversations and collaborations.
The 2021 OT Writers Collective features writers Jade Anouka, Nimmo Ismail, Gemma Lawrence, and Tamsin Daisy Rees, and dramaturg Cassiopeia Berkeley-Agyepong.
Jade Anouka (writer)
Jade recently appeared on our screens as Ruta Skadi in BBC and HBO’s His Dark Materials and Channel 5’s The Drowning. In theatre Jade has played the title roles in Hampstead’s Olivier nominated The Phlebotomist, and Queen Margaret at the Royal Exchange, she starred in the Donmar Warehouse Shakespeare Trilogy (dir Phyllida Lloyd) where she played Mark Antony in Julius Caesar, Hotspur in Henry IV and Ariel in The Tempest.
As a poet Jade performs regularly including featured spots at The Southbank Centre, Richmix, The Roundhouse, Whitechapel Arts Gallery, Sofar Sounds, Platform Presents for Belmond and most recently A Lovely Word at Liverpool’s Homotopia festival. She has had poems commissioned by Audible UK, Stylist Magazine, Broccoli Content and The Young Vic Theatre and most recently BBC Radio 4 where she wrote and performed This Sunday for their Short Works series. Her first poetry pamphlet was published by Poetry Space in 2016 and is titled Eggs On Toast.
Her debut play, Heart, combined her love of writing and acting when she performed it at the Vault festival in 2019 it was due to get a full production and London run in summer 2020. Jade did a TEDxTalk 'Being Black, Being a Woman, Being 'Other’. She wrote, directed and co-starred in short film ‘Her & Her’ for BBC’s Culture In Quarantine series.
Cassiopeia Berkeley-Agyepong (dramaturg)
Cassiopeia is an actress, singer and theatre-maker from Croydon. Her creative practice focuses on collaborating with others to create original work which champions global majority voices; and reimagining classic material in ways that create artistically fulfilling opportunities for womxn.
Cassi studied Music at the University of York, and trained as an actor at the Royal Academy of Music. Her portfolio of freelance work encompasses directing, devising, dramaturgy, writing, producing, performing, composing and workshop facilitation.
In 2019 she partnered with Soho Theatre to produce her debut play Shuck ‘n’ Jive, co-written with Simone Ibbett-Brown and published by Oberon Modern Plays. In 2020 Cassi co-founded Speaks of Rivers - a company who use puppetry, poetry and physical theatre to create original stories for young audiences. Their debut show The Fourteenth Stop premiered as part of Upstart Theatre’s DARE Festival at Shoreditch Town Hall in February 2021 and is currently on a digital tour of schools and community groups.
For more information visit: CassiopeiaBA.com
Nimmo Ismail (writer)
Nimmo Ismail is a theatre director and writer living in London.
She took part in the Royal Court Writers Programme, Talawa Theatre Company’s TYPT and Bush Theatre’s 2020/2021 Allotments Programme.
Theatre work as a writer includes Three Dates (Southwark Playhouse), New Ways of Looking (Bush Theatre) and HATCH (Talawa Theatre Company)
Theatre work as a director includes The Christmas Star by Russell T Davies (Royal Exchange Manchester), Fragments by Cordelia Lynn as part of Five Plays and My England by Somalia Seaton as part of Fresh Direction (both at Young Vic) SNAP by Danusia Samal as part of Connect Now (Old Vic), Two Palestinians Go Dogging by Sami Ibrahim (Sparkhaus Theatre), The Other Day; Twelve Months’ Notice; The Debate and Winter Blossom Karaoke, By Leaphia Darko (Camden People’s Theatre); Television Guide by Brad Birch; The Displaced/We Came In a Tiny Red Boat by Jerusha Green and I Actually Have a Son by Andrew Maddock (all Guildhall School of Music & Drama with Squint Theatre).
Theatre work as a staff/assistant director includes The Antipodes by Annie Baker (National Theatre), Our Town by Thornton Wilder (Open Air Theatre), A Very Very Very Dark Matter by Martin McDonagh (Bridge Theatre), The Prudes by Anthony Neilson and Goats by Liwaa Yazji (both Royal Court); Wings by Arthur Kopit (Young Vic), The Phlebotomist by Ella Road (Hampstead Theatre) and Quarter Life Crisis by Yolanda Mercy (Brixton House and Edinburgh Fringe).
Gemma Lawrence (writer)
Gemma Lawrence is a writer and actor. Her work centres queer people and their experiences, without defining them solely by their queerness. Her play Sunnymead Court followed two women who fell in love from the safety of their balconies during London's first lockdown. It had a sold-out run at the Tristan Bates theatre to socially-distanced audiences and was nominated for an OFFIE for Best New Play.
Other writing includes straight vodka for Theatre503's Rapid Write Response, Ribbons performed at Bloom Theatre's SAPLINGS, and REWILD, performed at Omnibus Theatre and now being developed into a full-length piece as part of the London Playwrights 2020 programme. Homecoming was commissioned for The Space's Locked Down Looking Up season, and starred Patsy Ferran. She is currently under commission to Firework Productions to write a short film about Section 28, as part of their mini-series, Visibility, celebrating the history of Queer Britain.
As an actor, theatre work includes As You Like It at the National Theatre, the premiere of Mike Bartlett's Not Talking, Kae Tempest's Wasted at the Orange Tree Theatre and Much Ado About Nothing at Shakespeare's Globe. TV includes Luther, Silent Witness, Shakespeare and Hathaway and Misfits.
Tamsin Daisy Rees (writer)
Tamsin Daisy Rees is a playwright from County Durham, now based in Newcastle. She is an Associate Artist at Live Theatre and was a member of the first Royal Court Writers Group North. She tells stories that are rooted in the North East and prod at class, sexuality, and power. Some of her plays include: Cheer Up Slug (Live), Fledglings (Nuffield Southampton) and Fingerwank (Live/Bunker). Tamsin is currently an AHRC funded PhD candidate where she is specialising in playwriting and researching how female anger and desire operates in contemporary narratives through silences and subtext. As well as writing plays, she teaches drama at Newcastle University and works as a script reader, workshop leader and illustrator.
The Writers Collective is supported by the Hayburn Trust, the Idlewild Trust and the Fidelio Charitable Trust