Mercury Playwrights

We are always looking to support new writers with exciting stories to tell who are bold, ambitious and theatrically daring. Each year we seek out the freshest, new voices in our region to take part in our playwrighting course.

Over nine months the Mercury, in association with Josef Weinberger Plays, guide and mentor the writers through the process of creating their own full-length play or piece of theatre.

For more information about how to apply for this course please email us.

To ensure we tell the most dynamic and varied stories, we are particularly keen to hear from writers who are underrepresented in the industry whether that be by class, disability, ethnicity, gender or sexuality.


Waleed Akhtar

A director, writer and actor based in Redbridge who is best known for his role as Essad in the Golden Globe nominated film, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen.




Sarah Baxter

A writer and director who won the Mercury Theatre’s Poetry Slam in May 2020.




Gail Egbeson

A playwright and actress from Essex whose first play Jollof Court was performed at the Lyric Hammersmith and had a sold-out run at the VAULT Festival 2020.




Jazz Ely

A writer, director and performer from Walton on the Naze who recently performed her autobiographical piece Unhinged at Colchester Arts Centre.




Matt Gurr

A playwright from Witham who was one of the winners of the Mercury Monologue competition.




Kelly Jones

A playwright from Essex whose plays have been performed at the Sherman Theatre.




James McDermott

A writer based in Holt, currently working on an LGBTQ themed pantomime for Norwich Playhouse.




Chileya Mwampulo

A writer based in Colchester and an associate artist at the Mercury Theatre.




Michelle Payne

A director and playwright from Rainham who is also Artistic Director of Caspa Arts, providing actor training for under-represented voices.




Ava Pickett 

An actress and writer from Clacton-On-Sea who wrote BBC Radio 4 comedy Roots starring Vicky McClure.




Charlie Platt

A writer from Southend whose work has been staged at the Park Theatre and Lyric Theatre.




Jacko Pook

A theatre practitioner and artist living in Felixstowe who leads Youth Theatres and Musical Tuition across Essex and Suffolk.




LLoyd Shankley

An actor and playwright from Colchester whose play Perhaps? was recently performed at a Mercury Theatre Scratch Night.




Jess Woo

An actress and writer based in King’s Lynn who is also a Tamasha Developing Artist.



This year our cohort of writers are being mentored by award-winning writer Kenny Emson. Kenny will be joined by guest writers: Anya Reiss, Rachel De-Lahay, Vickie Donoghue, Guleraana Mir and David Eldridge!

Script submissions:

Learn more