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Live Theatre and Northumbria University announce their Writer in Residence 2018/19

Northumbria University and Live Theatre have announced that their next joint Writer in Residence as Chinonyerem Odimba, a playwright and poet who will work across both organisations from September 2018.

Chinonyerem Odimba was born in Nigerian and raised in London. She has been a writer on attachment for Bristol Old Vic and Clean Break Theatre, London and has written plays for the Arcola, Bristol Old Vic and Kiln Theatre (formerly Tricycle Theatre). She has written short plays Scotch Bonnet  and A Blues for Nia  for the BBC and her first radio play, written in collaboration, The Last Flag  was broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in May this year.

Chinonyerem won the Sonia Friedman Award (Channel 4 Playwright Bursary) 2018 and has also been shortlisted for the Adrienne Benham Award, the Alfred Fagon and the Bruntwood Playwriting Award.

Chinonyerem Odimba said:

“I applied to become Writer in Residence because I wanted to feel that a playwright like myself, informally trained, Black British, could belong within the academic world of institutions such as Northumbria University, and bring new stories to audiences at Live Theatre. Taking on the role of the Writer in Residence for Live Theatre and Northumbria University is beyond exciting. The opportunity to create new work rooted in the artistic space, research and ambitions of both the theatre and University, and being able to engage and share that process with young aspiring writers in Newcastle, is something I am very much looking forward to.”

Joe Douglas, Artistic Director, Live Theatre, said:

“Chinonyerem Odimba’s star is on the rise and we are delighted to have appointed a playwright of her calibre as our Writer in Residence 2018-19.  Chinonyerem is an artist who has spent real time and care finding her voice as a writer and this shows in her plays.  Her energy and love of language is infectious.  We look forward to her influence at Live Theatre, both on stage and through our talent development programmes.”

Steve Gilroy, from Northumbria University and the Northumbria University/Live Theatre Partnership Lead, added:

“Chinonyerem is an amazing, experienced and talented artist who will bring so much to our creative community here at Northumbria University over the next year. We’re really excited to welcome Chino and I’m sure the students are going to adore working with her!”

The Writer in Residence programme, now in its third year, is the cornerstone of an exciting and innovative partnership between Northumbria University, Newcastle, a Times Higher Education (THE) University of the Year Award 2017 nominee with a global reputation for academic excellence, and Live Theatre, one of the UK’s leading new writing theatres, which has been nominated for three Olivier Awards in the past two years. The partnership began in 2015 to create cultural collaborations that connect with the people of the North East, enhance teaching and learning, inspire new research, and connect academic research with the world of professional theatre.

The first joint Writer in Residence was Paddy Campbell, writer of Live Theatre successes Wet House  and Day of the Flymo  and a Northumbria University graduate. He was followed by the former Literary Associate at Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse, Lindsay Rodden who became Writer in Residence for 2017/18.

Other previous Writers in Residence at Live Theatre include Lee Hall, who wrote the short play Dancer  while on attachment to Live Theatre, which later become the hit film and musical Billy Elliot,  and went on to write The Pitmen Painters  and Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour,  and poet and writer Julia Darling.

Chino will start the dynamic and exciting twelve month residency in September, working across both organisations, teaching on the Performing Arts courses at Northumbria and leading writing projects at Live Theatre, including Write Here, Write Now,  a course for young writers of colour, and Live Theatre’s established Become A Playwright  playwriting course.

  • Arts Council England
  • Community Foundation
  • European Regional Development Fund


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