TOOLKIT SERIES 2- WEEK 2 Chinonyerem Odimba on Not Writing
Writing a play takes huge dedication. It takes time, head-space, leaps of imagination plus vision, bravery, commitment, compassionate enquiry beyond your immediate experience and perhaps…
In a brand new series in partnership with tiata fahodzi @TiataFahodzi Artistic Director and Chief Executive Chinonyerem Odimba invited us to ‘Letters to Fellow Writers’
In partnership with Bruntwood Playwriting Prize, tiata fahodzi invited 4 writers to reflect on what they would like say to fellow writers if given the space to do so.
Following our 2 events around Dramaturgy instigated by a ‘Letter to Eurocentric Dramaturgs’ sent by over 150 Global Majority playwrights in 2021, tiata fahodzi has been talking with many organisations about dramaturgical practice across the industry.
Manchester Royal Exchange and Bruntwood Prize were particularly interested in how to ensure that readers for the prize have as much opportunity to look at their own bias in work that is selected. As a part of these conversations, we wanted to invite writers to write ‘a Letter to my Fellow Writers’. The letters range in style from Lorna French’s brilliant advice to find your make your own rules, to more nuanced reflections in Hassan Abdulrazzak’s ‘Letter to Exiled Theatre Makers’ or on how we hold ourselves and be brave in our writing from Oladipo Agboluaje, and how we support ourselves and each other through this time from Matilda Feyiṣayọ Ibini.
These letters shine on a light on the care we must take when we handle another’s words, experiences, pains and joys. Hope they bring you something wonderful as you read- Chinonyerem Odimba
You can find the full series below- with huge thanks to all the generous contributors
Chinonyerem Odimba is a Nigerian British playwright, screenwriter, and poet. Her recent work ranges from Medea at Bristol Old Vic, We Too, Are Giants for Kiln Theatre, Unknown Rivers at Hampstead Theatre, Prince and the Pauper at Watermill Theatre, The Seven Ages of Patience at Kiln Theatre, and Princess & The Hustler which toured across the UK for Eclipse Theatre/Bristol Old Vic/Hull Truck. She is also Writer-in-Residence at Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.
Her work for theatre includes The Bird Woman of Lewisham at the Arcola; Rainy Season, and His Name is Ishmael for Bristol Old Vic; Joanne for Clean Break, and Amongst the Reeds for Clean Break/The Yard Theatre.
Her work for young people includes a modern retelling of Twist for Theatre Centre and Sweetness of a Sting for NT Connections.
She has been shortlisted for several awards including the Adrienne Benham and Alfred Fagon awards. In 2015 her unproduced play Wild is De Wind was shortlisted to the final ten for the Bruntwood Playwriting Award. She is the winner for the 2018 Sonia Friedman Award (Channel 4 Playwright Bursary) for a new play How to Walk on the Moon, and a finalist for the inaugural Women Playwriting Prize 2020 for her play Paradise Street.
Chinonyerem’s TV credits includes Scotch Bonnet for BBC Three and A Blues for Nia for BBC/Eclipse Theatre, Adulting for Channel 4, and more recently My Best Friend Married a Warrior for CBBC.
For radio, credits include The Last Flag, and Eve as part of This Is Your Country, Now series on BBC Radio 4.
As a director, Chinonyerem has worked for Bristol Old Vic, Theatre503 and Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. She will be co-directing her new play Black Love for Paines Plough, as well an audio drama for Live Theatre/BBC Radio 4 in 2021.
In April 2021, Chinonyerem became the new Artistic Director and Chief Executive of tiata fahodzi.