We're committed to new writing

The Lyric Theatre has a distinguished reputation and rich heritage of producing outstanding work by leading Irish writers, and is serious in its commitment to providing a platform for new writing.  Last year alone saw the premieres of new plays by writers Rosemary Jenkinson, Gary Mitchell, Lucy Caldwell, and Conor McPherson.  As Northern Ireland’s only full-time producing theatre, it continues to be the largest employer of local theatre practitioners.  Their  Writer-In-Residence, Rosemary Jenkinson, shows the Lyric’s commitment towards putting the artist at the very centre of everything they do.

In January 2017, alongside its new productions, the Lyric launched its commitment to bring exciting new work to the stage.  A six month New Playwrights Programme of development support, in partnership with the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, was set up to encourage and inspire emerging playwrights.

The Lyric had an overwhelming response to the call for scripts from emerging writers, and the selection panel were impressed by the quality, ambition and originality of submitted work. It was announced that the four successful playwrights were Seamus Collins, Erica Murray, Vittoria Cafolla and Andy Doherty.

The four receive intensive support over six months to facilitate them in developing their new work. This culminated in a brilliant showcase of new work in the Naughton Studio in October 2017.  The programme also included a public masterclass series with established writers and directors, benefitting all local writers.


Rosemary was born in Belfast in 1967 and studied Medieval Literature at Durham University.  She has had her plays performed in Dublin, London, Edinburgh, New York and Washington. Four of Rosemary’s plays, Here Comes The Night, White Star Of The North, Stitched Up, and Love Or Money, have been proudly produced by the Lyric.  As part of Rosemary’s residency she will be working on a new play to be premiered at the Lyric in 2018.


Originally from Maghera, Seamus lives in Belfast and holds an MA in Creative Writing from Queen’s University Belfast. In 2011 Seamus was selected to take part in BBC Writersroom 10 and had his work performed at Live Theatre, Newcastle and on BBC Radio 3.  He has been shortlisted for the International Student Playscript Competition, worked with Tinderbox through their Young Writers Programme and had work performed at the Pick ‘n Mix Festival. His play Little Jokes was developed through the MAC’s Hatch programme. Seamus has also had his work performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and was nominated for the National Student Drama Festival Award.


Vittoria is based in Belfast.  She completed the MFA in Playwriting at The Lir, Dublin in 2015.  She is a member of Agent160 Theatre Company, who toured her short play The Last Word to London, Glasgow & Cardiff, and the Belfast Festival at Queen’s in 2012, and produced her work at the Millennium Centre in Wales as part of Fun Palaces 2014.  She has worked with Kabosh Theatre Company (Raiders Of The Lost Story Arc), Accidental Theatre (Fast & Loose 2015) and  Skewiff Theatre Company (The Waiting Room, Belfast Fringe Festival 2010). Vittoria also writes for TV, and has most recently been working on Britannia, a Sky/Amazon production.  Vittoria is also taking part in the MAC’s Hatch scheme with her new company Paradosso Theatre.


Erica is originally from County Limerick. She holds a BA in Drama and Theatre Studies from Trinity College Dublin and an MFA in Playwriting from The Lir Academy. Her first play Bunk premiered at DU Players Society and went on to win Best Original Writing at the Irish Student Drama Awards in 2012. She wrote a short play Baggage for the Abbey Theatre’s Peacock Scratch night in 2015 and it has subsequently been performed by Blue Heart Theatre Company in Dublin and Brighton. She is currently a member of the Young Writer’s Lab at the Soho Theatre in London.


Andy is from Derry, and has a background as an actor.  He has appeared in several professional stage productions, including Over The Wire by Seamas Keenan, and numerous short films.  He holds a BA in Drama & Theatre from Queen’s University Belfast and is an alumnus of the Lyric’s Drama Studio.  It was during his studies that he began writing, and took part in script workshops with playwright Lucy Thurber and director Catriona McLaughlin.  After a period of time spent travelling, Andy has now returned to Northern Ireland keen to pursue his twin careers as an actor and a writer.


As part of the Playwrights Programme the Lyric hosted a number of public workshops and masterclasses led by key writers and directors, to help aspiring new playwrights develop their skills. Check back soon for more events next year.