New Playwrights of 2018 Announced

As part of their 50th year celebrations, the Lyric Theatre and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland are delighted to announce the recipients of the 2018 New Playwrights Programme, a six-month writing development programme, aimed at emerging playwrights to create new work.

This year, following a high level of interest, six writers from Northern Ireland, were awarded a place on the programme and include; Alice Malseed, Breman Rajkumar, Lee Coffey, Shirley-Anne Bonner, Martha Barnett and Meghan Tyler.

As part of the programme, the six writers will now go on to develop their ideas over the next six months, working closely with the Lyric’s Literary Manager, Rebecca Mairs.  The new works will be brought to life, by professional directors and actors, on stage at the Lyric Theatre in Autumn 2018.

In 2017, Andy Doherty, Erica Murray, Seamus Collins & Vittoria Cafolla, were the first writers to take part in the programme, developing their individual plays which culminated in a showcase performance, as part of the prestigious Belfast International Arts Festival.  The 2017 programme participants had the invaluable opportunity to work with multi award-winning directors, Emma Jordan and Des Kennedy to bring their finished works to Lyric audiences.  In addition, two of the playwrights showcased their work in New York in January 2018.

Executive Producer of the Lyric Theatre, Jimmy Fay, commented:

“New writing is the lifeblood of any producing house theatre. Theatre is always about making the moment new and all theatres should search for extraordinary, inquisitive and vibrant voices that play with and understand the art and craftiness of theatre. Here in the Lyric we are exceptionally lucky to have a brilliant scout in Rebecca Mairs, someone who understands and can seek out the most extraordinary voices. Not every voice can make it to the stage but everyone who takes part in the new writing programme Rebecca coordinates and curates is offered exception insight, craft and inspiration to take on their journey.”

Gilly Campbell, Arts Development Officer for Drama and Dance, Arts Council, commented:

“The Arts Council of Northern Ireland is committed to providing valuable, meaningful opportunities to support new writing from emerging talent.  We are delighted to support this initiative through National Lottery funding and to partner with the Lyric Theatre on the New Playwrights Programme for the second year.  We warmly congratulate all six new playwrights who will now embark upon an intense period of development to bring their ideas to life and look forward to seeing their work on the Lyric stage later this year.”

For further details on the Lyric’s new writing work, please see