Published: Fri 19 May 23

Soho Six: co-commissions of six “bold and visionary” playwrights with leading UK producers of new work

Introducing Soho Theatre’s Soho Six 2023/24

Focusing on the best and brightest in emerging playwrighting talent, Soho Theatre’s Soho Six attachment programme develops and nurtures playwrights’ artistic practice as they write a new play for Soho’s stages. With alumni including Charlie Josephine, Theresa Ikoko, Rita Kalnejais, Arinzé Kene, Bryony Kimmings, Samson Kayo and Duncan Macmillan, Soho Theatre are delighted to be working with and introducing the 2023/24 Soho Six artists and co-commissioners.

Soho Theatre’s Literary Manager Gillian Greer said: “Our writers represent the very best of British new writing talent – bold and visionary artists who carry warmth, wit and passion at the heart of their work. Alongside our co-commissioners, we are delighted to welcome them to our Soho Six programme for 2023/24.

With recent alumni Iman Qureshi’s The Ministry of Lesbian Affairs, Danusia Samal’s Bangers, and Willy Hudson’s Welcome Home all storming Soho’s stages in the last year, we’re excited to see what this intake of Soho Sixer’s creates.

The Soho Six programme plays a key role in Soho Theatre’s vision for developing and supporting writers. Supported by NBCUniversal International Studios, the 2023/24 Soho Six are in residence for 18 months receiving a full commission, dramaturgical support and masterclasses from Soho Theatre and their co-commissioner. The programme also immerses each writer in the life of Soho Theatre, with regular contact with staff, exposure to new work across our three stages, getting to know our audiences and building, and the positive impact of peer learning with five fellow artists.

Miriam Battye

Co-commissioned with Paines Plough

A writer from Manchester, Miriam’s plays include Scenes with girls (Royal Court), Find A Partner (National Theatre Connections) and Trip The Light Fantastic (Bristol Old Vic/Radio 4). She is the recipient of the Harold Pinter Commission 2020. For television her credits include Dead Ringers (Amazon) and Succession S4 (HBO).

Safaa Benson-Effiom

Co-commissioned with Cardboard Citizens

An award-winning playwright and theatre maker from London, Safaa was a finalist for the 2020 Theatre503 International Playwriting Award and the 2019 Tony Craze Award. Her debut play Til Death Do Us Part premiered at Theatre503 in May 2022 to four and five-star reviews, subsequently winning ‘Best Production – Premiere’ at the London Pub Theatre Awards. It also led to her being nominated for a Black British Theatre Award and the Offie for ‘Most Promising New Playwright’.

Rhianna Ilube

Co-commissioned with Broccoli Arts

A playwright and events curator from London, Rhianna has had her plays developed and staged at the Royal Court, Omnibus Theatre, and Oxford Playhouse. Her debut play, Samuel Takes a Break in Male Dungeon N°5 After a Long but Generally Successful Day of Tours was shortlisted for the Women’s Prize for Playwriting 2021 and Highly Commended for Soho Theatre’s Verity Bargate Award.

Rhianna has worked for the past three years for interactive theatre-makers Coney, designing participatory events and games across venues and heritage sites in the UK. In 2023, she became a film programmer for the BFI Flare, Europe’s largest queer film festival.

Her second play For The Culture was longlisted for the 2021 Theatre Uncut Political Playwriting Award, the 2021 Women’s Prize for Playwriting and the 2022 Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting. She has previously been part of the Soho Theatre Writers’ Lab, Tamasha Playwrights’ and BBC Writersroom – London Voices.

Will Jackson

Co-commissioned with Homotopia

A Birmingham-based, writer, director, and actor, Will was named a ‘Rising Comic Star’ by Attitude for his solo show Yours Sincerely, which has since toured over 100 performances across the UK including a run at Soho Theatre.

Will is the Artistic Director of Quick Duck Theatre (a New Vic KILN Associate Company) and is an alumnus of both the Birmingham REP Foundry programme and the Bush Emerging Writers Group. His latest play Clutch was programmed at the Bush Theatre for its 50th anniversary season.

Other work includes: The Life & Work of Veronica St Claude for BBC Radio 4Extra, Magic Hour: The Murder Mystery Disco! (Winner of the Singularity of Vision and Best Ensemble awards at the National Student Drama Festival), and Fashion Spies and Confetti which both debuted as part of Coventry City of Culture and ran to critical acclaim at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe (with Confetti playing at Soho Theatre in July 2023).

Karim Khan

Co-commissioned with Tara Theatre

A screenwriter and playwright, based in Oxford, Karim’s first credit was on S3 of All Creatures Great & Small (C5/PBS). His latest play Brown Boys Swim premiered at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2022, where it won a Fringe First and the Popcorn Award for New Writing before transferring to Soho Theatre in October 2022. The play is published by Methuen.

He is also writing episodes on two shows for the BBC and has been in a number of writers rooms over the past year with companies including House Productions, Mammoth, Parti Productions, BBC Studios, and Playground.

In 2022, he was awarded the inaugural Pillars Artist Fellowship – sponsored by Netflix and Amazon studios and supported by Riz Ahmed’s LeftHanded Films.

Karim is also developing a new TV project with his mentor Mike Bartlett as part of the ITV/Dancing Ledge/ScreenSkills writers’ initiative. He’s currently in development on a number of original projects and adaptations.

For theatre, Karim has been a part of Soho Theatre’s Writers’ Lab and the Royal Court Writers Group, and his writing credits include Corrosive (Pegasus Theatre, 2019), BEYOND SHAME (Derby Theatre, 2018) and Orange Juice (The Pleasance, Burton Taylor Studio, 2017).

He is also an MA Screenwriting graduate (2019) from the National Film and Television School with a scholarship sponsored by Toledo Productions and Channel 4.

Sam Ward

Co-commissioned with Grace Dickson Productions

In 2022 Sam’s play Everything I’m Thinking, All of the Time was shortlisted for the Verity Bargate Award. His play We Were Promised Honey! (performed by the author) received five stars from The Scotsman and Financial Times in 2022 when it opened at Paines Plough’s Roundabout, Summerhall, before transferring to Soho Theatre in November 2022 where it received three Offie nominations. It will tour the UK across 2023 and have its US debut at 59E59 Theaters in New York in May 2023.

His play The Accident Did Not Take Place (‘mesmerising’ The Stage) was shortlisted for the Total Theatre Award in 2019 and his first play Five Encounters on a Site Called Craigslist (‘moving and bittersweet’ The Guardian) won the Total Theatre Award for Best Emerging Artist in 2017.

For further information
Kelly Fogarty / Co-Audience & Communications Director /


Soho Theatre is London’s most vibrant producer for new theatre, comedy and cabaret. Opened in 2000, bang in the creative heart of London, it is one of the country’s busiest venues with a buzzing bar and a year-round festival programme with a queer, punk, counter-culture flavour. Work extends far beyond its home with a UK and international touring programme and connections; presenting shows and scouting talent at Edinburgh Festival Fringe plus close links with the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Soho Theatre is UK’s leading presenter of Indian comedians from the burgeoning scene there and have partnerships and a Soho Theatre Comedy Producer based in Mumbai.

Soho Theatre is working towards the 2024 opening of an exciting new second London venue, Soho Theatre Walthamstow. A culmination of many years of Soho’s work, in collaboration with a grassroots local campaign, to save a glorious, 1930’s art deco venue with an incredible heritage reinvented as a 1,000-capacity venue for world-class comedy, panto, performance and participation – a ‘local theatre with a national profile’.

Broccoli Arts produces work for stage and page, primarily for/by/about lesbian, bisexual & queer people who experience misogyny. Founded by Salome Wagaine in 2019, it is now run by Eve Allin. We exist to produce work that has variety, ingenuity and relevance. We enable queer writers and creatives to make work that is not defined solely by identity, work which is enjoyable, political & theatrical. We hope that the existence of Broccoli plays a part in creating sustainability and opportunity for queer writers.

Cardboard Citizens creates theatre and art with, for and about citizens with lived experience of homelessness, poverty or inequity. The Company runs a Membership programme for people with experience of homelessness or living in poverty, offering free creative training, advice and guidance and create theatre rooted in issues of poverty, homelessness and the inequity which causes them, touring to both theatres and community venues. Through the stories they tell, they seek to create positive change in audiences, across the arts sector, and in wider society.

Cardboard Citizens was founded in 1991 by Adrian Jackson. In 2021, Chris Sonnex was appointed as the new Artistic Director of Cardboard Citizens, and Joint CEO with Executive Director Lisa Briscoe. Cardboard Citizens is supported by Ambassadors Kate Winslet CBE, David Morrissey and Rory Kinnear.

Grace Dickson Productions is a bold new production company, developing and producing formally innovative and bitingly relevant new writing that champions marginalised voices. GDP works collaboratively with artists on professional development as well as creating work that isn’t afraid to make a noise and ruffle some feathers. GDP produces work that represents the world we live in and the worlds beyond it; work that is imaginative, playful and boundary-breaking. Previous collaborations include Rhum + Clay, The RECreate Agency, Park Theatre, Bric A Brac, Freight Theatre, Ransack Theatre & Silent Faces, at venues such as Park Theatre, New Diorama, Soho Theatre, Southwark Playhouse, Roundhouse and on tour.

GDP encompasses the work of Grace Dickson, a Newcastle-born producer with a keen eye for powerful, socially relevant new writing. Grace works across the industry in roles including Associate Producer at Francesca Moody Productions, Company Producer for Lagahoo Productions and These Girls, Accounts Assistant/Bookkeeper at Runaway Entertainment & co-founder of HD General Management with Ameena Hamid. Her recent work is supported by the Stage One Bursary for New Producers, and she sits on the board of trustees for access-led theatre company ZooCo.

Homotopia, founded in 2003, is a Liverpool based arts & social justice organisation making a cultural impact through art and activism. Their aim is to support and platform local, national, and international LGBTQIA socially engaged artists and creatives. Every November they present Homotopia Festival, featuring a variety of LGBTQIA art across multiple venues and outdoor spaces in the city. In addition to the festival, there is a year-round programme of artist development, public artworks, and events.

Homotopia Festival is the UK’s longest running LGBTQIA arts and culture festival. In 2012 it became one of Arts Council England’s National Portfolio Organisations, and at the time, were the only dedicated LGBTQIA arts organisation to be recognised in this way. In the years that have followed, Homotopia has achieved significant growth and development and they take pride in being at the forefront of combining creativity and social change for and in collaboration with our ever-expanding community.

Paines Plough is a touring theatre company dedicated entirely to developing and producing exceptional new writing, led by Artistic Directors Charlotte Bennett and Katie Posner. The work we create connects with artists and communities across the UK.

Since 1974 Paines Plough has produced more than 200 new productions by world renowned playwrights including Sarah Kane, Mark Ravenhill, Dennis Kelly, Mike Bartlett, Kae Tempest and Vinay Patel and we tour our plays to over 40 places each year. We reach over 30,000 people annually from Cornwall to the Orkney Islands, in village halls, off Broadway and in our own pop-up theatre Roundabout.

Tara Theatre creates innovative, politically charged theatre harnessing the power of co-creation. Their work explores the complexities of our world through a South Asian lens, championing South Asian voices and artists, identifying new narratives, new ideas and new forms. As a champion of artist development and new writing, Tara Theatre is proud to support creatives and new work with their extensive year-round Constellations scheme, alongside their seed commission programme for writers, Nova.

Tara Theatre has a rich and pioneering history. Over four decades, the company has nurtured and supported South Asian performers, writers, directors, musicians and choreographers. In August 2020, Abdul Shayek became Tara Theatre’s new Artistic Director, beginning a bold new chapter. Remaining true to its activist roots, Tara Theatre is a catalyst and agent for change.

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