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Playwrights Announced For The Inaugural East By West UK/US Playwright Exchange

Learn more about the selected playwrights here!

An Tobar and Mull Theatre in partnership with the Citizens Theatre, Ensemble Studio Theater (New York) and Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater with support from Playwrights' Studio Scotland and Arch 468 have announced the playwrights who have been selected to take part in the inaugural The East by West UK/US Playwright Exchange.

The selected playwrights are:

Brysen Boyd, Dan Giles, Ife Olujobi
In Autumn 2022, the six playwrights will form a cohort focused on cultural exchange and peer mentoring. They will spend two weeks together in Scotland - one week based on the Isle of Mull and a second week in Glasgow.
In Spring 2023, the playwrights from Scotland will travel to the USA to spend one week in New York and a second week supported by Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater in Cape Cod.
In each location, the playwrights will undertake a programme of cultural immersion, professional network building and skills development alongside focused creative time allowing them to develop a new work inspired by their experience.
Spending time in both rural and urban locations in each country and supported by experienced industry professionals in each place, the playwrights will be encouraged to delve into the way that the essence of a place can infuse the stories told about it.
The project seeks to explore the impact of place and geographically rooted stories on our culture and in particular how the stories of the Scottish diaspora may have influenced American narratives.
At the end of the exchange, the playwrights will be invited to submit an outline of a new work for full commission and potential transatlantic production.
Rebecca Atkinson-Lord, Artistic Director, An Tobar and Mull Theatre said: "This exchange is a brilliant opportunity for playwrights to build creative relationships with their peers across the Atlantic. I'm hopeful that it'll foster a host of rich collaborations for the future."
RJ Tolan, Co-director of Youngblood at Ensemble Studio Theatre added: "We couldn't be more excited to give six artists a chance to explore how new locations and new communities affect their work, and to collaborate with vital organisations in the UK whose mission is to support the art of playwriting is so near and dear to our own."
For Information and interviews contact:
Wendy Niblock PR | m: 07961 814834 |
Notes to Editors:
Dropbox link to playwright headshots
East By West Project Information
The playwrights will each receive:
  • a weekly stipend of £450 a week for 4 weeks to develop their work and practice within a once-in-a-lifetime cultural and creative experience
  • paid international travel and accommodation in Mull, Glasgow, New York, and Cape Cod
  • the opportunity to develop industry networks with key commissioners and co-producers in both Scotland and North America to support future career development and production opportunities
  • a programme of cultural activity designed to enrich their practice as a writer
  • tickets to cultural experiences in each of the four key locations.
East By West Playwright Biographies
Scottish Cohort
Alan Muir's debut professional play, The Greatest premiered at A Play, A Pie and A Pint (PPP) in March 2018, telling the tale of a Scottish pensioner who (allegedly) once knocked out Muhammad Ali. It returned for a second week's run in July 2018. His second professional play Losing the Rag opened the Autumn 2018 season of PPP. An excerpt from his new playThe Water of Life was recently performed for an audience including Scotland's Culture Secretary and the Consulate General of Japan in Edinburgh. Two of his plays were filmed by Short Attention Span Theatre during lockdown and premiered online in 2020 - Scabby King and Acquiesce. His short play Merry Christmas, Mr Marshall was released by PPP in December 2020.
Alan has a particular interest in works that explore everyday magic, mental health, human connection and the incredible power of stories. He's passionately committed to culture for all. Alan is 48 and has lived all over Scotland from Lanarkshire to the Highlands to his current home in Cumbernauld, which he shares with his wife, two sons, and an assortment of animals.
Stef Smith is a Scottish multi-award-winning stage and screenwriter working to international acclaim. Work for stage includes Nora: A Doll's House (Glasgow Citizen's Theatre & Young Vic Theatre); Enough, Girl In The Machine, Swallow (Traverse Theatre); The Song Project, Human Animals (Royal Court); Acts Of Resistance (Headlong/Bristol Old Vic); Remote (National Theatre Connections Festival); Smoke (And Mirrors) (Traverse Theatre & Dot Istanbul for Theatre Uncut); Back To Back To Back (Cardboard Citizens). Audio/Digital work includes Tea And Symmetry (BBC Radio); The Deadlift (Earwig, Tron Theatre); The Present (NTS); Love Letter To Europe (Underbelly); How To Build A Nation (Young Vic). For screen, Stef has taken part in the BBC Drama Writers Room and her six-part Digital series Float was released on BBC iPlayer. Stef has won numerous awards including three Scotsman Fringe First Awards for Enough, Swallow and RoadKill. Roadkill also won an Olivier Award and the Amnesty Freedom of Expression Award. Stef was also shortlisted for the 2020 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize for Nora: A Doll's House. Stef is under commission from several theatres and is developing new projects for both television and film. She is an Associate Artist at Playwrights' Studio, Scotland.
Elspeth Turner is an actor, writer, and musician. Originally from Fife, she is a graduate of The Urdang Academy and the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. Writing work includes The Idiot at the Wall and SpectreTown both of which ran at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival before touring nationally, and Savage Nation, a new work in development exploring the history and legacy of Scottish Highlanders in North America. Her radio play Danns a' Rathaid aired on BBC Radio Nan Gàidheal and was recently nominated for Best Radio Drama at the Celtic Media Festival. Elspeth wrote and co-directed Marram, a short film in Gaelic shot in Berneray (Harris) due for release in 2023. UK theatre acting credits include Maryland (Traverse Theatre); Granite (National Theatre of Scotland); The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart (Eastern Angles); Sweet FA and A War of Two Halves (Nonsense Room); Mischief (Oran Mòr/Traverse Theatre), MAIM (Theatre Gu Leòr). U.S. productions include Dial M for Murder and The Odd Couple (Engeman Theatre); The Pillowman (Theatre Row); and Titus Andronicus and Macbeth, (The Queens Players). Elspeth can currently be seen in Riptide - a Scottish schizophrenia love story touring film festivals worldwide.
US Cohort
Brysen Boyd is a playwright, TV writer, and essayist originally from Tacoma, WA. He served on the writing staff for season 3 of HBO's SUCCESSION as a Writing Fellow (a position created for him), is the inaugural Playwright-in-Residence at Reverie Theater Company and is a proud member of Youngblood/Ensemble Studio Theater and Liberation Theater Company's Residency Program. His plays include FAMILY SIDESHOW (O'neill Conference Semi-finalist, 2022 Juilliard Finalist, Winner of KC-Melting Pot National New Play Competition); CLOSING COSTS on 6101 NYANZA (Blue Ink Award Semi-finalist, Kennedy Center Short Play Semi-finalist) and others. His work has received support from Tin House, The Kennedy Center, Sewanee Writers Conference, Columbia University, Napa Valley Writers Conference, Kansas City Melting Pot, Seattle Playwrights' Saloon, and others. His nonfiction has most recently appeared in the Florida Review. Having come to playwriting and creative nonfiction in undergrad by way of his first love, TV, his goal in life is to write stories that make others feel as excited as 9-year-old him felt when watching David and Keith on SIX FEET UNDER. Writing means everything to him-second only to his miniature wiener dogs, Simon and Alvin.
Dan Giles (he/him) is a New York City-based playwright originally from Massachusetts. His plays have been produced and developed with Ensemble Studio Theatre, New Light Theater Project, Next Door at New York Theatre Workshop, First Floor Theater (Chicago), Haven Theatre (Chicago), FaultLine (San Francisco), the Great Plains Theatre Commons (Omaha), the Kennedy Center (DC), and others. Awards include the New Light New Voices Award, an Alfred P. Sloan Screenwriting Award, and the Kennedy Center's Mark Twain Prize for Comic Playwriting. MFA Carnegie Mellon. Alum of Youngblood, the collective of playwrights at Ensemble Studio Theatre.
Ife Olujobi (she/they) is a Brooklyn-based Nigerian American playwright, screenwriter, and editor from Columbia, Maryland. She is a 20-22 Resident Artist at Ars Nova and a member of the Obie-winning Youngblood at Ensemble Studio Theatre. She was a 2019-20 New Voices Fellow at The Lark, an alumnus of the 2018-19 Emerging Writers Group at The Public Theater and the 2020 Sundance Institute Theatre Lab, an inaugural Project Number One artist-in-residence at Soho Rep, and the recipient of a 2020 Sloan Foundation commission from Manhattan Theatre Club. Their play Jordans won a special commendation from the 2021 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, and they received a 2021 Steinberg Playwright Award. Their work has been seen at The Public, Bushwick Starr, HERE Arts Center, and more. She conceived and edited a book of interviews with theatre workers during the pandemic called No Play, is the managing editor of The Supplements at Soho Rep, and was an assistant editor at the Criterion Collection. BFA: NYU Tisch, 2016.

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