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Sphinx Theatre Announces Open Call Writers Chosen For Sphinx 30

Sphinx 30 is the company's 30th anniversary programme.

Sphinx Theatre, the UK's longest established women's theatre company, has announced the female playwrights chosen via an Open Call to take part in Sphinx 30, the company's 30th anniversary programme.

The programme has been set up in response to the company's year long research project on women in theatre, run with Jennifer Tuckett at the University of Cambridge last year, which revealed continuing inequality for women in theatre. Sphinx is currently working with Jennifer Tuckett on a follow up report, to be published shortly, which shows that gender inequality in the arts is likely to increase, without concrete measures to address it, in a risk averse post-pandemic culture.

The chosen writers for Sphinx 30 will each receive a £1000 seed commission and a place on the Sphinx Lab, a pilot new writing programme designed by Sphinx Literary Director Jennifer Tuckett based on her work with Yale School of Drama and the Women's Project (WP) Lab in New York, and featuring advice and teaching from leading female playwrights and industry leaders including CEO of Nottingham Playhouse Stephanie Sirr, co-founder of the Ambassador Theatre Group and Trafalgar Entertainment Dame Rosemary Squire, Head of Theatre and Dance at the Barbican Centre Toni Racklin and Artistic Director of Watford Palace Theatre Brigid Larmour. 15 playwrights selected by 15 leading theatres will also take part in the Sphinx Lab to ensure that writers at all stages of their career are included in the 30th anniversary programme.

The selected female playwrights are:

  1. Tutku Barbaros
  2. Beth Flintoff
  3. Sarah Grochala
  4. Sarah McDonald Hughes
  5. Yolanda Mercy
  6. Guleraana Mir
  7. Julia Pascal
  8. Alli Smith
  9. Kathrine Smith
  10. Polly Wiseman

In addition, the final 5 places on Sphinx 30 will be for 5 playwrights Sphinx has worked with over the course of the company's 30 year history to ensure that emerging, mid-career and established playwrights are included in the programme to mark Sphinx's 30th anniversary, and who will be: Matilda Ibini, author "Little Miss Burden" at the Bunker Theatre; Morgan Lloyd Malcolm, author of the hit "Emilia" at The Globe Theatre; Chloe Todd Fordham, author of "The Nightclub" at Women Centre Stage, Hampstead Theatre; April De Angelis, author of the modern classic "Playhouse Creatures"; Winsome Pinnock, winner of the 2018 Alfred Fagon Prize with "Rockets and Blue Lights" and the first black female playwright to be produced at The National Theatre.

Sue Parrish, Artistic Director of Sphinx Theatre, said: "We are delighted to announce our 10 open call writers and 5 writers who Sphinx has worked with over the last 30 years, bringing our total to 30 female playwrights supported with £30,000 worth of seed commissions to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Sphinx Theatre. We would like to thank our 15 partner theatres and Arts Council England for their support".

Jennifer Tuckett, Literary Director of Sphinx Theatre, said: "Our recent research into women in theatre has shown that the pandemic is likely to have hit women in the arts hard, as research shows female creatives are often (incorrectly) viewed as more of a risk and we are moving into a risk-averse post-pandemic culture, so we are delighted to be able to provide this support, via the seed commissions and places on the Sphinx Lab, for 30 UK female playwrights. We hope the pilot of the Sphinx Lab is the beginning of an ongoing programme to support female playwrights in the UK, drawing on models in the US, and we would like to thank our 15 Theatre Partners for working with us to develop this programme. We hope everyone who applied will stay in touch with us so we can work to provide support for more female playwrights in future years".

More information on Sphinx 30 and the shortlisted and longlisted female playwrights can be found at

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