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Channel 4 Playwrights’ Scheme: Zia Ahmed

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Writer and poet Zia Ahmed (cred. Alex Nicolaou)

We’re delighted to announce that Zia Ahmed will be on attachment with us in 2017 as a recipient of the Channel 4 Playwrights’ Scheme.

We worked with Zia earlier this year when, alongside Tamasha, we commissioned him to write a short play about where he calls home, North West London, for our COME TO WHERE I’M FROM series. The short play which was first performed at Tricycle Theatre on Monday 27 June moved us in such a way that we knew we had to work with Zia again.

Joint Artistic Directors James and George said:

“We’re thrilled Zia’s singular talent has been recognised by this prestigious award and that we get to hang out with him for the next year as a result. We’ve been Zia fans for a few years as audience members for his singular spoken word performances. The originality of Zia’s writing, his flair for storytelling, his linguistic dynamism, his natural dry humour combine in one of the most original voices we’ve heard, and we can’t wait to see what he writes over the next year. We’d like to thank the panel for backing Zia, and look forward to supporting him over the next year and welcoming him to Team PP.”

We caught up with Zia on the news:

“I am chuffed to bits to have been picked as one of the writers on the Channel 4 Playwrights’ Scheme.  

The bursary will afford me time and space to progress to the next stage of my writing. To be in residency at Paines Plough makes this even more exciting and it feels like the perfect place to develop as a writer especially after being part of Come To Where I’m From where local stories met national + global + personal met political to create a wide ranging, moving and changing map of the UK.

I’m looking forward to spending the year with Paines Plough and immersing myself in this world. Whether spoken word or theatre, for me it all comes down to stories and I can’t wait to start exploring all the different ways of telling them.”

You can listen to Zia’s COME TO WHERE I’M FROM, and 130 other short audio plays, for free on our app available for download here.

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Come To Where I’m From: London plays added to the app

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We’re very excited that the plays we commissioned with partners Tamasha for COME TO WHERE I’M FROM: LONDON have now been added to the COME TO WHERE I’M FROM app.

Added to the app today are:

NORTH-WEST: Tricycle Theatre
Monday 27 June
With Karla WilliamsZia AhmedMediah AhmedChé Walker

SOUTH-WEST: Clapham Omnibus
Tuesday 28 June
With Elena ProcopiuAmman Singh BrarKathryn GoldingAlexandra Wood

WEST: The Gate
Wednesday 29 June
With Divya SachdevaSally WoodcockSatinder Chohan

EAST: The Yard Theatre
Thursday 30 June
With Lucy SheenAfsana BegumLizzy DijehIn-Sook ChappellArinze Kene

SOUTH-EAST: Ovalhouse
Monday 04 July
With Sandra TownsendVinay PatelMiran HadzicMorgan Lloyd MalcolmAdam Brace

NORTH: Park Theatre
Wednesday 06 July
With Mahad AliIsley LynnCheryl WalkerStephen JeffreysMonsay Whitney

You can listen to all 31 of the plays on the app for free alongside the 100 plays already available. You can download the app from the App Store here.

Be sure to let us know what you think on Twitter @painesplough #CTWIF

Simulator Screen Shot 17 May 2016, 12.27.58

The COME TO WHERE I’M FROM app was developed by Milk Bar Studios. Check them out here.

COME TO WHERE I’M FROM London: The Yard

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Hackney Wick mural near The Yard

Tonight COME TO WHERE I’M FROM heads East but only to East London, as far as The Yard Theatre in Hackney Wick. Presenting work tonight we have Lucy Sheen an actor, writer and filmmaker, Afsana Begum founder of Mulberry Alumni Theatre Company, In-Sook Chappell writer of PYONGYANG about North Korea as well as numerous radio dramas, Lizzy Dijeh published poet and playwright and finally the prolific Arinze Kene who you may recognise from EASTENDERS but he’s been busy since then writing hard hitting and insightful plays (and there are some films in the pipeline too!).

You can still get tickets here or on the door. Show starts at 7.30pm.

We’ll certainly to be heading to Crate Brewery after the show for a pizza and a beer. Pizza, beer and a five new plays. Lovely.

You can read their full credits here:

Lucy Sheen
Lucy is an actor, writer, filmmaker and playwright who has written for Nimble Fish Arts and the Royal Court Theatre. COME TO WHERE I’M FROM was her fourth commission. Her acting credits include PING PONG, JULIUS CAESAR (Bristol Old Vic), DRINK THE MERCURY (TMA nomination, 1990) and HUNGRY GHOSTS (OFFIE award nomination, 1990).

Afsana Begum
Afsana is an emerging BAME Artistic Producer and founder of the Mulberry Alumni Theatre Company (Mulberry ATC) with over 6 years’ experience in arts education. She was Company Manager on three Fin Kennedy plays for the school at the Edinburgh Fringe, one of which won a Scotsman Fringe First. Mulberry ATC has since collaborated with Royal Court Theatre and Afsana has participated in their Introduction to Playwriting scheme.

In-Sook Chappell
In-Sook Chappell was the winner of the Verity Bargate award in 2007 for her play THIS ISN’T ROMANCE. Her previous playwriting credits have included PYONGYANG (Finborough Theatre), THIS ISN’T ROMANCE (Soho Theatre) and DOWNTOWN DOLLHOUSE. In-Sook’s radio credits include HONG KONG MIDNIGHT (BBC Radio 3) and THIS ISN’T ROMANCE (BBC Radio 4).

Lizzy Dijeh
Lizzy Dijeh is a playwright and poet. Her plays include HIGH LIFE (Hampstead Theatre – runner up of Alfred Fagon Award 2007) and MESSAGE FROM A FAR COUNTRY (Tiata Delights Festival). Her poetry has been published in RED: CONTEMPORARY BLACK BRITISH POETRY (People Tree Press, 2010), OUT OF BOUNDS (Bloodaxe Books, 2012) and WASAFIRI (International Arts Journal).

Arinze Kene
Arinze Kene was born and raised in London to Nigerian parents. Alongside his writing he also works as an actor. Arinze’s original feature film, SEEKERS, is on the Brit List and in development with Strays Film. He has another original feature film, CURE, in development with Sixteen Films. Arinze wrote his new play GOOD DOG on attachment to the National Theatre Studio. He is developing MISTY with the Bush Theatre following RADAR last year and was on attachment at the Lyric Hammersmith in 2012 as a recipient of the Pearson Playwrights’ Bursary. His stage play GOD’S PROPERTY ran at Soho Theatre in 2013, co-produced with Talawa. LITTLE BABY JESUS, directed by Che Walker, ran in May 2011 at the Ovalhouse Theatre, where his play ESTATE WALLS ran in 2010. Arinze was named Most Promising Playwright at the Off West End Theatre Awards for ESTATE WALLS in 2011, which was also nominated for Best New Play. WILD CHILD was performed in 2011 as part of the Rough Cuts season at The Royal Court. Arinze wrote a wrap-around piece to the play FISHBONE called US & THEM for Nabokov at the Bush Theatre in 2010 and wrote a short play, SUFFOCATION, as part of Ovalhouse Theatre’s annual 33% Festival. Arinze was a member of the Young Writers’ Programme and Writers’ Super Group at the Royal Court Theatre. He was also part of Soho Theatre’s Young Writers’ Group and was chosen as one of their Hub Writers. Arinze was shortlisted for Off West End’s 2010’s ‘Adopt a Playwright Award’ and the 2009 Alfred Fagon Award. Arinze was involved in the storylining and development of the second series of Big Talk’s YOUNGERS for E4, in which he played Ashley. He wrote an episode of the third series of E20 on BBC3 and was subsequently part of an EASTENDERS trial scheme. Arinze was named as a Screen International UK Star of Tomorrow in 2013 and was invited to take part in the Channel 4 Screenwriting Course in 2012.

COME TO WHERE I’M FROM London


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We’re excited to announce the latest leg of our COME TO WHERE I’M FROM series.

Since 2010, more than 100 writers from across the UK have returned to their home towns to pen plays about the places that shaped them. At theatres from Bristol to Belfast, Cardiff to Coventry and Nottingham to Newcastle, these plays have been performed by the playwrights themselves, coming home to tell their tale.

But COME TO WHERE I’M FROM has never been done in London, until now…

In June and July we’re partnering with Tamasha on a series of London COME TO WHERE I’M FROM events across the city which will see some well known names alongside some of the most exciting new voices from the Tamasha Developing Artists programme.

We’ve got a series of events across the Capital with writers from North, South, East and West performing in their local theatres over the course of six summer days in June and July.

Here are the details…

NORTH-WEST: Tricycle Theatre
Monday 27 June
With Karla Williams, Zia Ahmed, Mediah Ahmed, Ché Walker

SOUTH-WEST: Clapham Omnibus
Tuesday 28 June
With Elena Procopiu, Amman Singh Brar, Kathryn Golding, Alexandra Wood

WEST: The Gate
Wednesday 29 June
With Divya Sachdeva, Sally Woodcock, Satinder Chohan

EAST: The Yard Theatre
Thursday 30 June
With Lucy Sheen, Afsana Begum, Lizzy Dijeh, In-Sook Chappell, Arinze Kene

SOUTH-EAST: Ovalhouse
Monday 04 July
With Sandra Townsend, Vinay Patel, Miran Hadzic, Morgan Lloyd Malcolm, Adam Brace

NORTH: Park Theatre
Wednesday 06 July
With Mahad Ali, Isley Lynn, Cheryl Walker, Stephen Jeffreys, Monsay Whitney

In advance of our London series we’re launching the COME TO WHERE I’M FROM app so you can listen to 100 short plays for free wherever you are!

Simulator Screen Shot 17 May 2016, 12.27.58

The app features audio recordings of COME TO WHERE I’M FROM plays read by the playwrights themselves. It’s available for free from the App Store – just search COME TO WHERE I’M FROM or click this link.

Search the map for plays by location or find your favourite playwright in the plays index. You’ll discover a huge range of playwrights from Olivier Award winners to first timers reading tales of their home towns stretching from Edinburgh to Ipswich to the Isle of Wight. A theatrical tapestry of the UK, woven by writers asking if home is really where the heart is.

Let us know what you make of the app by tweeting us using #CTWIF. Happy listening.

COME TO WHERE I’M FROM is supported by Garrick Charitable Trust and Royal Victoria Hall Foundation.