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The Writers’ Lab 2021-22 course is designed and led by Lakesha Arie-Angelo, Sharmila Chauhan and Jules Haworth, with guest artists leading masterclasses at different stages over the programme.
Here’s a little background on our key Writers’ Lab leaders:
Lakesha is Soho Theatre’s Associate Director.
Work as a Director includes Shuck ‘n’ Jive (Soho Theatre) Summer Fest (The Bunker), soft animals (Soho Theatre), The Hoes (Hampstead Theatre), Alive Day (Bunker Theatre) for Pint Sized Plays, AS:NT (Theatre503 – as part of Rapid Write) and Prodigal (Bush Theatre – for ‘Artistic Directors of the Future Black Lives: Black Words’). Work as Assistant Director at Soho includes The One; Touch; Blueberry Toast and Roller Diner (2017 West End Wilma Award for Best Comedy).
Work as a playwright includes Graveyard Gang for Tamasha Theatre’s associate company; Purple Moon Drama (Richmix, Poplar Union and community tour) and is currently developing a piece for the National Youth Theatre’s Shout Out Loud project 2021.
Lakesha’s previous work as Resident Assistant Director at the Finborough includes P’Yongyang; Treasure and Vibrant 2015 Festival of Finborough Playwrights. During the residency at the Finborough, Lakesha was awarded the Richard Carne Trust sponsorship.
Sharmila is a screenwriter, playwright and prose writer: Her work is a transgressive meditation on love, sex, power and an exploration of the diasporic South Asian experience.
Born from East African Asian roots, Sharmila has been greatly influenced by her Kenyan heritage and is deeply passionate about exploring the twice migrant experience, belonging and the racial hierarchy with nuance and sensitivity.
She has written two short films and one feature. Her short film Oysters (dir. Pratyusha Gupta, produced by Emma Duffy) is an exploration of grief and desire and was short-listed for the Kevin Spacey Foundation and listed as one of ShortsTV Best Short Films in 2020. Girl Like You (dir. Rajinder Kochar, produced by X-Films) detailed the perils of sexual adventures for a young South Asian woman. Both were both commissioned by Film London.
Sharmila was part of Film London-Cinestan Microschool where she developed her feature Heart of the City for Shakespeare in India. She is currently working on her feature, Without You which explores infertility, family, and race.
Her plays include The Husbands which is an exploration of polyandry and matriarchy in India, which toured nationally including London’s Soho Theatre (Kali and Pentabus Theatre). Born Again/Purnajanam (Southwark Playhouse) explored faith and womanhood in modern Mumbai and 10 Women (with Bethan Dear, Avignon Festival) as well as others.
Her most recent piece, Be Better in Bed (Finborough Theatre) is currently in development and being adapted for television.
Sharmila also has a degree in pharmacy and a PhD in clinical pharmacology from University College London. She lives in London with her husband, children and cat Tashi.
Jules is Soho Theatre’s Creative Learning Producer, looking after Soho Theatre Labs and outreach programmes for artists to develop their skills.
She has run playwriting workshops and talks with Soho Theatre, Talawa Theatre, Graeae, Rich Mix, LGBTQ+ Arts, Sour Lemons, Gendered Intelligence, Traverse Theatre, Live Theatre, Somerset House and in schools and colleges in London.
As a dramaturg, Jules has worked on award-winning plays including Brute by Izzy Tennyson (Underbelly), Muscovado by Matilda Ibini (Theatre 503) Villain by Martin Murphy (Underbelly, Kings Head Theatre), On the Edge of Me by Yolanda Mercy (Soho Theatre and Tour), Quarter Life Crisis by Yolanda Mercy (Soho Theatre and Tour), Wonderboy by Ross Willis (Bristol Old Vic), Dust by Milly Thomas (Soho Theatre, Trafalgar Studios), Algorithms by Sadie Clark (Pleasance, Soho Theatre) and Little Miss Burden by Matilda Ibini (Bunker Theatre).
Jules also co-runs the networking group Theatre Queers and her play Pigeon Steps was longlisted for the Adrian Pagan Award 2014.