We are delighted to announce this year’s recipients of the 2021 New Playwrights Programme, a six-month writing development programme, aimed at new and early career playwrights to create new work. This is the fourth year of the prestigious writing programme at the Lyric, and this year saw the highest number of applicants they have ever received with 330 submissions, resulting in a shortlist of 29. In the end, five writers were awarded places on the programme: Caitlin Magnall-Kearns, Caoimhe Farren, Rose Coogan, Paul Mallon and Eléonore Maudet.
The programme for 2021 is more important now than ever to support local freelance creatives, and comes shortly after the Lyric announced it had employed over 310 freelancers in the past year despite the closure of the theatre. As part of the Lyric’s commitment to supporting and developing emerging talent, the writers will now develop their ideas over the next six months with the support of Lyric’s Literary Manager, Rebecca Mairs. The new works will be brought to life on stage at the Lyric Theatre in Autumn 2021 by professional actors and directors.
Find out more about the shortlisted writers, and their journeys to the Lyric New Playwrights Programme below.
CAITLIN MAGNALL KEARNS
Caitlin Magnall-Kearns is a writer and director from Belfast. She was recently nominated for an Evening Standard Future Theatre Fund Award in the Directing category, as well as being Longlisted for WoLab First Commission with Paines Plough. Last year she wrote ten new digital monologues, which were supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and amassed over ten thousand views. In 2020 she was a Dublin Fringe LAB Artist, an NSDF Lab Artist and a Hatch & Scratch Artist at The MAC. She received a HE Diploma in Drama from Liverpool John Moores University, and during her time in Liverpool she also trained as a director as part of the Liverpool Everyman’s Young Director Course.
Recent writing credits include DOODY (NSDF/Spotlight), The SCRUBBERS Guide to Drama School (NSDF Festival 2021, Co-Written with Lydia Crossland) and Directing credits include Mr Incredible (Liverpool Everyman). She will be developing her first full length play as part of the programme.
Caoimhe is an actress from Derry, currently based in London where she trained at the Academy of Live and Recorded Arts. She has performed extensively in theatre, film and television. Recent work includes The Ferryman (West End), Chemistry (Finborough Theatre), Derry Girls, This Way Up (Channel 4) and Doctors (BBC, Lockdown episode). She has been threatening to write for many years and has finally picked up a pen after exhausting all methods of procrastination. She is thrilled to be given the opportunity to develop her first play with the support of the Lyric Theatre and Arts Council NI.
A recent drama graduate from Ulster University Magee, Rose is an aspiring young performer/writer from Ballynahinch who is eager to prove herself. She wishes to use her quick wit and good sense of humour to shed a new light on portrayals of LGBT characters in media, particularly trans characters and their often all too grim depictions in media.
PAUL MALLON & ELÉONORE MAUDET
Paul is originally from Strabane. He trained as an actor in Manchester before moving to London some years later. His theatre acting credits include leading roles at the Lyric and the Abbey. TV credits include Derry Girls, Shameless, London Irish and The Paddy Raff Show. He wrote and performed on London’s open mic comedy circuit for over a year until lockdown hit in early 2020.
Eleonore was born in Dublin and grew up in France while maintaining a strong connection with her family in Wexford. She studied English Literature at university, including a year at UCL in London. Eleonore has spent the past eight years working in advertising and marketing.
Paul and Eleonore relocated from London to Belfast with their three-year-old son in July 2020.