Meet the Accelerate Playwrights! 14/02/2024

Following our open call at the end of last year, Box of Tricks is delighted to announce the 12 Northern playwrights aged 35+ that we’ll support over the next nine months. 

Accelerate is Box of Tricks’ new development programme for Northern playwrights aged over 35. Sparked by conversations we’ve had with writers in our PlayMakers Network, Accelerate celebrates the value of lived experience and recognises that writers can “emerge” at any stage in life. It is designed to help playwrights develop a brand-new play and make a step up in both their craft and professional writing careers.

Following an open call, 12 writers join the 9-month programme, which runs from February to October 2024. Each writer will be invited to develop the first draft of a new play with support from Box of Tricks, as well as attending monthly group sessions.

Supported by:

Accelerate Playwrights



Caitlin Clough: Caitlin is an actor, theatre maker and writer. Recent projects include In Parallel’s research and development for You Can Have it All Can’t You? (as an actor), A Play About Sex/Sex Play with HFH Productions (as a playwright) and Matrafisc Dance Show (as a dancer). She is also an activist; a core team member at Girl Gang Manchester; Associate Theatre Practitioner at the Ariel Trust in Liverpool; and founding member of March for the Arts.

Sujana Crawford: Sujana is a multilingual poet, playwright and researcher. Her work has been featured in various magazines and anthologies, and plays have been developed in collaboration with BBC Radio 4 and Warwick Arts Centre, among others. In her day job, Sujana works as a UX Researcher. She currently lives in Yorkshire.

Susan Hunter Downer: Susan was born in Birmingham, England, to Jamaican parents. She read while walking, wrote instead of sleeping, and slowly meandered into journalism, PR, creative writing, and group facilitation. She is aiming to write her first full-length stage play this year.

Zoe Iqbal: Credits include Advent plays at Oldham Coliseum, One night in Bolton at Bolton Octagon,  I love you too at MIF, Halal Hens for Vignettes (Hope Mill), Bhaijaan-Vignettes (Contact Theatre), You Stand Accused at Oldham Theatre workshop and Oldham Council.

Mike Kaloski-Naylor: Mike has devised and performed interactive street shows at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, and performed in Escape to Derwent Island (Field Trip Arts). He worked at TheatreWorks and the South West New Writing Network, was a script-reader for the Ustinov Studio, and has had various roles at Arts Council England.

Mhairi Ledgerwood: Mhairi has had work performed at The Royal Court, The Traverse, Northern Stage, Live Theatre, and Alphabetti. Mhairi has been shortlisted for Theatre 503’s International Playwriting Award, received a Live Theatre Bursary, and part of BBC’s North East Voices. In 2023, she was awarded a seed commission from The Bush Theatre.

Ginni Manning: Ginni is a playwright, writer, creative facilitator and theatre maker from Liverpool.

Jayne Marshall: Jayne’s work has been performed in Edinburgh and the North West, including the Royal Exchange Theatre and BBC Radio (one of the winning Manchester Monologues 2018). Her aim is to take professional theatre to those who are isolated and lonely, and cannot access theatre.

Jana Navarria: Originally from Melbourne, Jana is a TV and theatre writer currently based in Leeds. She was a staff writer on Neighbours before moving to the UK and working in senior editorial roles at Coronation Street, Emmerdale and Phoenix Rise. She’s recently worked with the CBBC drama commissioning team on a wide range of UK and international programmes. Jana’s debut play, Just Another Fully Sick Asian Aussie, Mate came third place at the Short + Sweet Festival and she hopes to take it to the Edinburgh Fringe one day.

Emma Nuttall: Emma hails from the North and writes stories for stage, screen, games and XR. She’s worked alongside the BBC, CharismaAI, The National Youth Theatre, and was selected for Screen Yorkshire’s FLEX Programme, the European Creators Lab, BAFTA Connect, and the Future of Film.

Hannah Salt: Hannah grew up in Manchester at the knees of great storytellers, namely from her large, loud extended family. “We talk a lot here, and I’ve always listened. In my writing I like to find stories in the crevasses of daily life, under the fingernails of people you think you’ve got figured out.

James Underwood: James is a writer and actor based in Leeds, he originally came to Yorkshire to study Philosophy and ended up falling in love both in, and with, the city. Pivoting back to creative pursuits later in his life, he is currently developing his first full length play, ‘The Golden Fleece’.