Literary Department

Bola Agbaje Kwame Kwei-Armah Malorie Blackman Roy Williams

Talawa has a history of nurturing and collaborating with outstanding writers such as Michael Bhim, Roy Williams, Derek Walcott, Jackie Kay, Trish Cooke and Malorie Blackman.

We are building on the work we do to develop Black British writers. Talawa wants to:

  • Become a home and a 'go to' place for new Black British writers
  • Create a space in which unheard voices can first be heard
  • Shape a diverse future for British theatre by helping to establish Black British writers and emerging artists

There are several ways you can engage with the Literary Department:

Send us your play

We welcome submissions from Black writers in the UK.

We have 3 script submissions windows over the course of the year. The next window for submissions is from 1 - 31 July 2015.

We will respond to each script with some feedback and we will invite writers we are interested in working with to come in and meet us.

The Talawa Writers' Programme

Funded by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation and partnering with the Bush Theatre, Soho Theatre and the BBC writersroom, this brand new initiative commissions three new writers to create a play alongside a year-long programme of activity.

Studio Firsts

Studio Firsts is a new initiative that provides emerging Black theatre-makers with the time, space and support to create new work, explore new ideas and develop new techniques.

Teaming up with IdeasTap, Talawa Theatre Company will work with 3 emerging artists or companies; giving exclusive use of their Studio for one week of research and development in May 2015.

Whether you are a director, deviser, sound engineer or multi-disciplinary artist, if you have a new idea to test or explore, Talawa wants to hear from you. Studio Firsts creates a space in which emerging artists (18+) can experiment and take risks: we are not looking for applications from playwrights or directors reviving a classic text. This is not about offering a free rehearsal space, but about Talawa investing in you as a theatre-maker and supporting you in developing something new.

Please visit the Studio Firsts page for further details of how to apply.

Apply for Talawa Firsts

Talawa Firsts is an unmissable annual season of new play readings showcasing diverse new writing talent.

Invite us to see your show

If you are an emerging artist (director, writer, theatre-maker) who has a show coming up, we welcome invitations to come along and see your work.

"Writers' Group; challenged my ideas and, not only did I form a strong bond with the group, I built a lot of confidence in my own beliefs and abilities."
Writers' Group participant 06/07

"Talawa allows different types of stories reflecting the Black experience to be heard and developed. This freedom has meant there is no need for me to compromise my voice as a writer."
Writers' Group participant 05/06

"The most encouraging thing for me was hearing many young writers articulating ideas that really chimed. No longer the old idea: 'I'm a writer, not a Black writer.' Instead, many of the young guys are proud to write from their cultural 'lens', not seeing Black as something you needed to drop in order to succeed or not be ghettoised. Indeed, many saw their cultural specificity as an avenue to absolute universality."
Kwame Kwei-Armah on Unzipped 08

"I am very grateful for the workshop as it came at a time when I was starting my new play. All the knowledge I got from the workshop will be very helpful in the process I'm about to take."
Omphile Molusi, South African New Playwriting Programme (SANPWP) 2010