We’re delighted to announce the names of writers and directors taking part in Catalyst 2023, our residency for early career theatre artists taking place from Monday 27 March – Friday 7 April 2023.
Jenny Wall (left)
Jenny trained as an actor at LAMDA. In 2022 she was part of Broken Silence Theatre’s writing programme Hive, and The Living Theatre Whitwell commissioned her to adapt Jane Austen’s novel Emma for their main house summer show. Previously she has been part of a lockdown writing group run by Margaret Perry, and worked writing, directing and facilitating with youth theatres. Catalyst is her first residency.
Sarah Isaac (centre)
Born in Kerala, India Sarah Isaac is an award-winning playwright and dramaturg. She studied philosophy at King’s College London and was a member of the Royal Court’s writing group and Kali’s “Discovery” Programme. She has been part of writing groups at High Tide Theatre, Park Theatre, Rifco and completed a short course in Film & TV Writing at the NFTS. She has been longlisted for the Sultan Padamsee award and Kenneth Branagh Award for her work. In 2021, she won the Sky Arts RSL Writer’s award in playwriting. She is currently a second-year associate at Rifco Theatre.
Roann Hassani McCloskey (right)
Roann Hassani McCloskey is an Algerian-British Writer and Storyteller. Her work includes her 2019 award-winning sell-out, one-woman show, My Father the Tantric Masseur – an autobiographical exploration of sexuality, sexual trauma and familial relationships. Her second show (Popcorn Prize longlisted), Who Murdered My Cat? shines a light on memory, its inconsistencies and its power in forming our identities. She is currently writing a semi-autobiographical comedy-drama TV series Lights, Camera, Couscous in which her Algerian mother, who informs so much of her creative work, has the starring role. 2021 saw Roann chosen for BBC London voices, participating in SAFAR film school for emerging Arab Filmmakers as well as having two pieces published in Dardishi’s Zine. Roann’s writing and performing finds the heart and humour that runs through tragedy, and centres around her curiosity and passion for bringing stories usually left at the margins to the centre where they belong.
Simon Marshall (left)
Simon Marshall is a playwright, writing facilitator and participation producer from Derbyshire, living in Sheffield. He is an Associate Artist of Derby Theatre, including co-writing 2023 Stage Award-winning VR audio-play ‘Odyssey’ with Plus One, a creative group for care-experienced young people. His work often explores the rural queer experience and sense of place. Previous writing includes ‘Bonfire’ (‘honest, brave and acutely-written’, Lyn Gardner) and the audio-play ‘kilburn (not london)’ (profiled at London Podcast Festival 2021). He has recently written ‘The Fossil Kids’ with Sheffield Theatres’ Young Company (June 2023), and will write a new piece examining family and mountaineering during Catalyst.
Yasmine Dankwah (centre)
Yasmine Dankwah is a British-Ghanaian spoken word artist and writer based in South London. She is interested in exploring how resistance in the form of identity-based discrimination can act as a springboard for joy in live performance by using music, spoken word poetry and lyricism. She is currently an artist on Boundless Theatre’s Accelerator programme and is working with Chronic Insanity Theatre to develop new writing for theatre, both live and digital. She is an alumnus of the Soho Writers’ Lab 2021/2, VAULT New Writers Programme in 2020 and was also a Roundhouse Poetry Slam Finalist in 2022.
Sam Parker (right)
Sam Parker is a playwright born in Torbay and now based in Plymouth. Sam has a background in community theatre and facilitation in a range of settings, most recently working as a writer-in-the-room on Quizzy Rascals: an evening with the Barbican Legends and Ernesettlers, both of which were staged at Theatre Royal Plymouth. Sam is the co-director of Down Stage Write CIC and the Pathways Producer for Doorstep Arts CIC. He has also worked as a script reader for Papatango, The Bruntwood Prize and the RSC new work department. Sam has just finished a second phase of R+D on his new play White Belt, a seed commission with Theatre Royal Plymouth.
Olivia Munk (left)
Olivia Munk was born and raised in Queens, NYC. Educated at Harvard and Oxford, she is Artistic Director of Part of the Main Productions, a 2022-2024 Pleasance London Associate Company. Directing credits include The Tinker (VAULT Festival 2023); Biosphere (Pleasance); Green & Pleasant Land (Miniaturists, Arcola); Beg For Me (Mountview Catalyst Festival, Pleasance, Camden People’s Theatre); Bloody Mary: Live! (Shortlisted for 2020 Les Enfants Terribles Award; People’s Improv Theatre, Caveat, Club Cumming, Assembly Festival at Coventry City of Culture, Pleasance EdFringe, VAULT Festival 2023, Old Joint Stock Theatre, Crewe Lyceum, Harlow Playhouse); Populist (R&D, Phoenix Arts Club); and The End Of Us and Going Outside (The Space, TwoFest).
In 2022, Olivia was longlisted for the JMK Award and shortlisted for VAULT Five. She has been funded by Arts Council England’s ‘Developing Your Creative Practice’ programme to develop her creative access practice and explore Artistic Direction. In 2021, Olivia was selected to attend the European Theatre Convention’s Theatre Academy at Festival d’Avignon in France. She was a member of Fuel Theatre and the Greater London Authority’s ‘Creative Freelancers: Shaping London’s Recovery’ 2021 cohort, and was selected for Clore Leadership’s Emerging Leaders Course in 2023. Olivia recently joined Isabel Dixon to become Co-Curator/Producer of The Miniaturists, London’s longest-running short play night.
A recipient of a Global Talent Visa to work as an artist in the UK, Olivia lives in South London with her corgi, Evie.
Dale Edwards (centre)
Dale Edwards is an early-career director. He has previously worked as an assistant director at The Royal Exchange and Bolton Octagon. He was shortlisted for the JMK Award 2022 with the play ‘Hang’ by debbie tucker green. Current work includes an ACE DYCP project and a commission for Dukes Lancaster Blast Festival.
Taiwo Ava Oyebola (right)
Taiwo is an interdisciplinary artist working across theatre, literature and arts and heritage based in London. Interrogating the world through her lived experiences, centering the voices of historically overlooked communities is the thread that runs throughout her creative practice. Most recently, her poem ‘a messy marriage’ was published in ‘Lessons in Gravity’ Anthology, part of The Poetry Society & Museum of the Home’s Young Poets’ Collective. Her work has been performed at the Almeida Theatre, Theatre 503 and with Talawa Theatre Company. Her reviews can be found online at The British Blacklist and OffStage Zine. Taiwo is currently the the Executive Assistant at tiata fahodzi and the Trainee Assistant Director for Theatre Royal Stratford East’s Young Company.
Watch the Catalyst Showcase on Friday 7 April to see the work created during the residency. Book tickets here.