This November our Soho Rising festival hosts a bunch of the brightest new Soho Theatre Labs voices, over a fortnight.
Soho Theatre’s year long attachment programme for artists
Under commission and in residence to create new work for our stages, our six invited artists immerse themselves in the life of Soho Theatre over 12 months.
To help develop and support our Soho Six, there are regular meetings with (and dramaturgical support from) our Artistic team. We hold masterclasses. We take them on a week long writers’ retreat. And we also provide them with the opportunity to meet and collaborate closely with other artists, see our year-round festival like programme and get to understand our audiences.
2019 sees Soho Theatre’s flagship commissioning programme Soho Six newly reimagined to focus exclusively on emerging talent and, in an exciting first for the programme, collaborate with six new writing companies on a year-long co-commission with each artist, culminating in a new play.
Iman Qureshi (co-commissioned for Soho Six with Damsel Productions) is an award-winning writer for stage, screen and radio. In 2018 she won the Papatango New Writing Prize with her play The Funeral Director. Premiering at the Southwark Playhouse in October/November, it went on a regional tour with English Touring Theatre and Papatango in March 2019. She has been commissioned by the BBC, Tamasha Theatre, Kali Theatre, Purple Moon Drama, Bush Theatre, ETT, and The Bunker, and was shortlisted for Soho Theatre’s Tony Crazy Award 2017. Iman is currently working on a full-length play commissioned by Papatango, and a script for television supported by the BBC.
Beth Smith (co-commissioned for Soho Six with Synergy Theatre Project) is an emerging playwright and a current sex worker. After completing writing courses with Synergy and Clean Break she found her way back into theatre and is thrilled to be working on her first commissioned play for Soho Theatre.
Maddie Rice (co-commissioned for Soho Six with DryWrite) is an actress and writer. Her debut play Pickle Jar premiered at the Edinburgh Fringe 2018, went on to have a London run at Soho Theatre and has been optioned by NBC Universal for Television. Other acting credits include: Fleabag, Pickle Jar (Soho Theatre), Henry V (West End), All My Sons (Regents Park), Every Blank Ever, I Live With Models, Laughing At Salad (Comedy Central), Call The Midwife, Fleabag (BBC). Maddie is also a member of comedy groups ZazU and Lead Pencil.
Yolanda Mercy (co-commissioned for Soho Six with Tiata Fahodzi) is a London based Playwright and Performer who works nationally and internationally. She was named Artist to Watch 2017 by the British Council, was part of the BBC Writersroom and her writing has featured in Huffington Post. She was a member of the Soho Theatre Writers’ Lab and Alumni group. Yolanda is a published author with Oberon Books for her play Quarter Life Crisis. Quarter Life Crisis toured nationally and internationally from 2017-2018, was adapted for BBC Radio 1xtra and subsequently shortlisted for the BBC Audio Drama awards. Yolanda is currently developing a slate of new projects.
Ifeyinwa Frederick (co-commissioned for Soho Six with Paines Plough) is a writer and entrepreneur, using both writing and business as creative outlets. Writing alongside her full-time job as co-founder of Chuku’s – the world’s first Nigerian tapas restaurant – she has been featured in Forbes’ list of 100 Women Founders in Europe. She began writing in 2016, joining Soho Theatre Writers’ Lab. Supported by the programme, she wrote her debut play The Hoes which received a full production at Hampstead Theatre in 2018. The play was shortlisted for the 2017 Tony Craze Award and Character 7 Award and longlisted for the 2017 Verity Bargate Award. Fuelled by a childlike curiosity and fascination with people, her stories explore the intricacies of people and the dichotomy between how we really are and how society or we portray ourselves to be.
Writer and composer Rebecca Lucy Taylor (co-commissioned for Soho Six with Nabokov) has been writing, recording and performing in the band Slow Club since 2008. With the band, Rebecca has toured the world, released 4 critically acclaimed albums and built a large and loyal fanbase. 2018 saw Rebecca singing a deal with Universal Records as a solo artist under the moniker SELF ESTEEM. Her debut album Compliments Please was released in March 2019. Gradually moving into writing for screen and stage has been a passion she has cultivated over the years on the road. She is developing a new musical play for the Almeida Theatre and is developing a comedy drama In Bloom with author David Whitehouse (Bed, Mobile Library).
We’re incredibly proud of our Soho Six programme and how it helps to develop and support artists. Our alumni include Chris Chibnall, Rebecca Lenkiewicz, Bryony Kimmings, Phil Porter, Charlotte Josephine Daniel Alicandro, Caligula’s Alibi, Jessie Cave, Theresa Ikoko, Rachel Wagstaff, and Robert Whitelock & Samson Kayo and Arinze Kene. Plus Olivier and BAFTA award winners debbie tucker green and Laura Wade.
Our Soho Six programme is generously supported by The Harold Hyam Wingate Foundation and Jack and Linda Keenan.