In October 2017, Extant paired seven writers with seven professional mentors for the Write Stage project. Over four months, participants worked together to develop seven individual pieces of new writing, which was presented by an integrated cast of visually impaired actors and directors in a live performance.

An Asian woman and a young white man sit on opposite ends of a table on stage. The woman is exclaiming to the audience, while the man looks at her.

Funded by Arts Council England and The Drapers’ Charitable Fund, The Write Stage was a pilot initiative created by Extant for a wider programme to support the writing, performance and directing skills of emerging visually impaired artists. Writers in the programme were individually mentored on writing styles, working methods, theatrical devices and feedback on scripts.

Three people sitting side by side on the stage, from left to right, an older white man is reading from a script, an older white woman listening to him speak, and an older white man looking at a script on his lap.

“Having never written a script before, I found the advice and mentoring really helpful. I have gained a better understanding of scripts, my own ability to write and also technical elements of writing.”

“I have gained confidence as a writer; I’m sure I won’t stop doubting myself, but with this piece, I took risks, exposed myself, found what most appealed to me and fascinated me and went with it, and the response has been very positive.”

A young white man sitting in front of the stage, reading off his script. An Asian woman sitting at a table is in the background.

The project culminated in a showcase performance at the New Diorama Theatre in February 2018, including an audience Q&A. The works presented include:

Bamboo Curtain by Terry James
Directed by Esther Ruth Elliott
Cast: Christopher Hunter, Elizabeth Wainwright

The Middle World by Zahra Majid
Directed by Suriya Roberts-Grey
Cast: Farha Bi, Samuel Freeman

Does He Take Sugar? by Aidan Flynn
Directed by Oliver Campbell Smith and Paloma Leòn Calopa
Cast: Christopher Hunter, Elizabeth Wainwright, Esther Ruth Elliott

Seen the Light by Lysette Chaprionere
Directed by Shane Irwin
Cast: Elizabeth Wainwright, Miles Gallant, and Georgie Morrell

Don’t Tell the Bride by Anita Barzey
Directed by Georgie Morrell
Cast: Elizabeth Alabi

Invisible by Sherie Griffiths
Directed by Julie Osman
Cast: Christopher Hunter, Heather Gilmore, Miles Gallant

History in Her Eyes by Martia Bevan
Directed by Amy Evans
Cast: Samuel Freeman, Georgie Morrell

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