The Octagon is part of Sphinx Theatre female playwright programme

The Octagon is part of Sphinx Theatre female playwright programme

We are thrilled to be one of the 15 leading theatres to be part of this landmark programme for female playwrights.

Sphinx Theatre, the UK’s longest established women’s theatre company, and 15 of the UK’s leading theatres have announced the playwrights they will be supporting via Sphinx 30, the landmark programme for female playwrights in the UK being launched to mark Sphinx’s 30th anniversary.

The announcement reveals the 15 female playwrights who will be co-funded by 15 theatres and Sphinx as part of a pilot of the Sphinx Lab, and it will be followed shortly by the announcement of more female playwrights selected via an open call to ensure writers at all stages of their careers are included. The Sphinx Lab is a ground-breaking new programme to support female playwrights in the UK being launched as part of Sphinx’s 30th anniversary. The programme aims to become an ongoing initiative to support female playwrights in the UK, designed by Sphinx’s Literary Director Jennifer Tuckett, based on her work with Yale School of Drama and the Women’s Project (WP) Lab in America, and the first of its kind in the UK.

Each playwright will receive a £1000 seed commission and attend the Sphinx Lab, as will the female playwrights selected via an open call. Tutors on the Lab will include leading female playwrights Winsome Pinnock, the first black female playwright to be produced at the National Theatre, April de Angelis, author of the modern classic “Playhouse Creatures” and “My Brilliant Friend”, recently produced at the National Theatre, and Timberlake Wertenbaker, author of the modern classic “Our Country’s Good”.  Other tutors will include industry leaders Dame Rosemary Squire, co-founder of ATG and Trafalgar Entertainment, Toni Racklin, Head of Theatre and Dance at the Barbican Centre, Stephanie Sirr, Chief Executive of Nottingham Playhouse, Brigid Larmour, Artistic Director and Chief Executive of Watford Palace Theatre, Sphinx Literary Director Jennifer Tuckett, who has designed and led creative writing programmes for the BBC amongst others, and Sphinx Artistic Director Sue Parrish. The initiative is additionally supported by Arts Council England funding and will support 30 of the UK’s most talented female playwrights in total to mark 30 years of Sphinx Theatre.

The female playwright co-funded by the Octagon is Punam Ramchurn

Lotte Wakeham, Octagon Artistic Director, commented: “The Octagon is thrilled to be one of the partner organisations for the Sphinx 30 project. Female writers often still encounter a ‘glass ceiling’ when trying to move from writing for studio spaces to getting commissions for main stages. We’re delighted to be investing in exceptional female writing talent, by supporting brilliant North West writer Punam Ramchurn.  We passionately believe that everyone’s story matters, and we’re looking forward to soon being able to open our new theatre building, sharing even more stories with our audiences in Bolton and beyond.”

See below the full list of playwrights from the other theatres: 

Bush Theatre: Sarah Connors

Derby Theatre: Rommi Smith

Graeae Theatre Company: Anita Kelly

Hull Truck Theatre: Maureen Lennon

Kali Theatre: Satinder Chohan

Leeds Playhouse: Gemma Bedeau

Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse Theatres: Ginni Manning

Nottingham Playhouse: Jane Upton

Red Ladder Theatre Company: Bea Webster

Salisbury Playhouse: Hannah Treadaway

Stephen Joseph Theatre: Janice Okoh

Theatr Clwyd: Ming Ho

Watford Palace Theatre: Suzette Coon

Yellow Earth Theatre: Joanne Lau

For more information on Sphinx 30 please go to