Yorkshire playwright selected for landmark national programme

Gemma Bedeau. Pic by David Lindsay

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Paul Genty

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Leeds, Liverpool and Bolton writers join 27 others in writing lab

Yorkshire-based writer Gemma Bedeau is to join a landmark programme for UK female playwrights. Leeds Playhouse will join forces with Sphinx Theatre – the UK’s longest-established women’s theatre company – and 15 of the UK’s leading theatre organisations to launch the scheme.

Gemma’s relationship with Leeds Playhouse began in 2018 as a winner of Airplays, for which she wrote a radio play broadcast on BBC Radio Leeds.

Since then Gemma has been part of Fuse – a Leeds Playhouse artist-development programme supporting local playwrights.

Gemma of Leeds Playhouse joins 15 female playwrights funded by 15 theatres – including Ginni Manning of Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse, and Punam Ramchurn of the Octagon, Bolton – and Sphinx in a pilot of the Sphinx Lab, along with 15 other women playwrights selected by open call. Each playwright will receive a £1000 seed commission and attend the Sphinx Lab.

The Sphinx Lab is a new programme to support female playwrights to mark Sphinx’s 30th anniversary. The programme aims to be a continuing initiative to support the UK’s women writers, and has been designed by Sphinx literary director Jennifer Tuckett, based on her work with Yale School of Drama and the Women’s Project Lab in America, and is the first of its kind in the UK. Tutors will include leading female playwright Timberlake Wertenbaker.

The initiative is also financially supported by Arts Council England.

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