We are pleased to introduce the writers selected to participate in Phase 1 of the Professional Writers Programme for 2020-2020. Over the course of five weeks starting on 9 May, the writers will work with director and dramaturg Ng Choon Ping in developing a new idea for a full length play. Four writers will then be chosen to continue onto Phase 2.
During Phase 2, the writers will receive a seed commission to develop and write a full-length play. Additional support will include: one-to-one dramaturgy meetings, development workshops with actors and directors and public readings.
All of the writers will attend a series of masterclasses with top industry professionals over the course of the programme.
The Phase 1 writers this year are:
Carmina Bernhardt came to writing via acting. A love for reading, writing, and speaking words keeps her curiosity alive. Selected for the London Library Emerging Writers Programme 2019 and now the Yellow Earth Professional Writers Programme 2020 is a privilege, an honour and a much needed support along this journey.
Zoe Bullock is based in Glasgow, and originally from Sheffield. Since graduating drama school, she has worked as a writer and performer for four years across the UK. In 2019 she was a finalist for the Alpine Fellowship Symposium, and she has recently been supported by Imaginate as a Launchpad artist.
Playwright, novelist, and essayist Rogelio Braga was born and raised in the Philippines. He published two novels, a collection of short stories, and a book of plays before he left the archipelago in 2018. He was a fellow of the Asian Cultural Council for theatre in Southeast Asia in 2016.
Jeongeun Choi is a writer and director based in London. Her projects in developments include: THE GO-BETWEEN, shortlisted for the BBC Writersroom and selected for PLOT Script Lab at IndieLisboa; and DOGGERLAND, selected for BFI NETWORK Project Lab (Writers) and Directors UK Pitching Workshop at Glasgow Film Festival.
Megan Cowley graduated from the National Film and Television School in 2019 and has since reached the Top 10 of the 2019 Launch Pad Feature Competition and placed in a number of international screenwriting competitions. She is currently developing projects across theatre, film and television, in addition to writing a novel.
ENXI is a multidisciplinary artist working in film, theatre and music. Their work seeks to bridge the vast cultural gaps between China and the West, whilst exploring the messy intricacies of Asian diaspora identity. They draw inspiration from a disparate range of influences, from anime, memes and videogame soundtracks to UK bass music and hip-hop. Recent work includes Invisible Harmony (writer, performer) at the Southbank Centre, AR app Augmented Chinatown 2.0 (voiceover), videogame Total War: Three Kingdoms (voiceover) and short film Darker Matters (screenwriter). They graduated from King’s College in London with a BA in English Literature with Film in 2020. They are also a prolific translator, having translated the film From Where We’ve Fallen and sociology book What Has Been Lost in Contemporary China? from Chinese to English.
Susan Hingley’s play “Baaba’s Footsteps” premiered at the VAULT Festival 2020. She has translated Japanese and German scripts for the likes of the NT and Royal Court. As an actress, she has performed with the RSC, Shakespeare’s Globe and most recently in “Years & Years” (BBC/HBO) and “Missing People” (Leeds Playhouse/Kani Arts).
Stephen Hoo studied Theatre at The Brit School and Modern & Classical Chinese at SOAS. He then went on to complete an MA in Theatre Lab at RADA. He was a member of the Critical Mass programme at the Royal Court Theatre, and of BBC Writers Room.
Lucas Chih-Peng Kao is an award winning short filmmaker and artist born in Taiwan and based in Edinburgh. His art focus on multidisciplinary collaboration with dance, video, installation and storytelling. He had been developing the feature film idea of “Goodbye Eli” through talent labs with B3 Media, Young Film Foundation and Scottish Film Talent Network.
Lao Lee is a British-Chinese writer and composer. Her first musical SPACES was performed at the Camden People’s Theatre in 2017. She wrote her first play as part of Soho Theatre Writer’s Lab 2018/19.
Andrea Ling is a writer and director in theatre and film. She trained on the BA Contemporary Theatre course at East 15, the Soho Theatre Writers’ Lab and Young Vic’s Writing course led by playwright Leo Butler. Her play ‘Dirty Paradise’ had a reading at the Bernie Grants Arts Centre in 2018. www.andrealing.com IG @crashcollection
Nemo Martin is a non-binary writer, freelance stage manager and podcast producer. Their debut play [The Cobbled Streets of Geneva] won the Outstanding New Work award and their first collaborative musical ASIAN PIRATE MUSICAL sold out at VAULT festival 2020.
Kevin Shen is a British East Asian and Asian-American actor and writer based in London. As an actor, Kevin produced and starred in the European Premiere of Pulitzer Prize finalist play YELLOW FACE by David Henry Hwang at the Park and National Theatres. He also appeared in the West End cast of CHIMERICA and the Royal Shakespeare Company’s first all-East Asian play, SNOW IN MIDSUMMER. Kevin also works regularly in film and television, most recently seen as King Tai in A CHRISTMAS PRINCE: THE ROYAL BABY on Netflix. As a writer, Kevin is a recent alumnus of the Royal Court Introduction to Playwriting Group and Soho Theatre Writers’ Lab.
Naomi Sumner is a Manchester based playwright and dramaturg fuelled by salt and vinegar crisps and cups of tea. Her work has been performed at theatres across the North of England and London including York Theatre Royal, CAST, Oldham Coliseum, Arcola Theatre and Theatre 503. She leads new writing company Brush Stroke Order and currently is the facilitator for the Yellow Earth Academy writers group in Manchester.
Jimin Suh is a graduate of Goldsmiths University and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Her recent acting credits include: Feel More (Proforça Theatre Company), Medusa (Fusion Theatre Company), One Day Maybe (dreamthinkspeak). Earlier this year her play ‘Unburied’ debuted at the Bunker Theatre.
Phoebe Tsang is a Hong-Kong born Chinese, British and Canadian playwright and librettist. Her libretti have been premiered by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and Tapestry Opera. The author of Contents of a Mermaid’s Purse (Tightrope Books), her poetry and fiction has appeared in journals and anthologies worldwide. www.phoebetsang.com.
Marie Yan is a multilingual playwright and dramaturge born in France. Her writing often graples with stories of transition, projecting possible futures. She received the Mary Leishman Theatre Award for her first play The Fog and the Crossing Borders scholarship for a book project on her return to Hong Kong.
The course leader this year is Ng Choon Ping. Ping has worked extensively with new writing as a director and associate director. Directing credits include: Tamburlaine (Arcola); Crocodiles (Royal Exchange); Collision/Carla’s Puppet (National Theatre); Snap (Young Vic); A Magical Place (Old Red Lion); Pufferfish (Vaults Theatre); Sellotape Sisters, Golden Child (New Diorama); 10 Steps 2 Heaven (Tristan Bates); The Truth (Singapore Repertory Theatre); Macbeth (Royal Central); Antony & Cleopatra, Othello (Arts Ed). Readings – Thatcher In China (NT Studio); Acceptance (Criterion); Dodo (LAMDA). Assisting/Associate directing credits include: Troilus and Cressida (RSC – Gregory Doran); Cyprus Avenue (Public Theatre, NYC & Royal Court – Vicky Featherstone); Bakersfield Mists (Duchess Theatre – Polly Teale); Nut (National Theatre – Debbie Tucker Green); Chimerica (Harold Pinter/Almeida – Lyndsey Turner).
The two year Professional Writers Programme is for early career writers of East Asian descent. It was launched in January 2017 to support the develoment of writers and their ideas who are often under represented in theatre. To read about the writers from our first cohort and the plays they wrote, go here.
*East Asia includes the following countries: Brunei, Burma, Cambodia, China, East Timor, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Mongolia, North Korea, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam and their Diasporas.
This programme is supported by Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, Arts Council England and Soho Theatre