PlayBox 2023

PlayBox 2023

is a year-long writer-on-attachment programme offering bespoke residencies to four early-career North West playwrights to write a new play with support from Box of Tricks.

Over the course of PlayBox 2023-24, four playwrights will be given a seed commission to take part in a year-long talent development attachment during which time they will write a brand-new play with dramaturgical support from Box of Tricks, develop their piece during a workshop day with professional actors and receive a public rehearsed reading of their play.

PlayBox 2023-24 will be the fifth cycle of the initiative. Previous PlayBox writers have gone on to be shortlisted for national playwriting awards (David Judge – Alfred Fagon Best New Play Award finalist 2015, 2017 and 2018; James Harker – 503Playwriting Award shortlist 2018, Paddy Hughes -Bruntwood Prize Northwest Original Voices Award winner 2022) and have work produced at leading regional theatres.

Supported by:

Garrick Charitable Trust & Leche Trust

PlayBox Plays

Brain Play (working title) by Lekhani Chirwa

Nameya struggles with her mental health, she has experienced trauma and is trying to heal. She wants to understand her brain and begins working with therapist Mae, someone that understands her.

The Space Around and Between by Saphena Aziz

It's Lola's 21st Birthday. Her family gathers. Secrets uncovered. Memories replayed. Love explored. A room locked. Maybe forgiveness.  How do you live in spite of absences?

Neverland by Adam James

Neverland is a play about growing up, being silly, and those strange little spaces that allow us to find ourselves... if we give them a chance. A group of very different lads find themselves in a drama room with a task ahead of them: to make something.

Naz: Sinful Perverts, Sexual Deviants, and Products of the Godless West by Mohammed Barber

At the height of the AIDS epidemic a group of four people band together to create the first South Asian gay night club in London. But with all the pressures of a debilitating disease, what comes first, community or yourself?

PlayBoxers 2023

Saphena Aziz

Saphena is an alumnus of the Liverpool Everyman Theatre Playwrights Programme and the BBC Writersroom ‘Write Across Liverpool’ initiative.   Her writing, creativity and consultancy skills have been used by BBC Television and Radio, Victoria and Albert Museum, Southbank Royal Festival Hall, British Council, Tate Liverpool, Tamasha and Eclipse Theatre Company.

Mohammed Barber

Mohammed is a poet, playwright, and author. He was a member of the inaugural Old Vic Theatre Makers programme 2020 and shortlisted for the Box of Tricks Screen/Play Award 2020. His short story Rose and Lemongrass Tea was published in the international contemporary writing journal, Wasafiri (December 2021).

Mohammed Barber a South East Aisian man in his 20's, wearing a flowery shirt, against a green leafy background

Lekhani Chirwa

Lekhani is a Cumbrian, mixed heritage writer based in Manchester. She is queer, working class and neurodivergent. Over the years she has completed writing courses such as WoLaboratory, Soho Writers Lab, Soho Comedy Labs, Tamasha Playwrights and Pen Pals (Box of Tricks). She has written and performed her one-woman show Can I Touch Your Hair? which debuted at VAULT Festival and went on to be performed at Hull Truck, Theatre Deli (Sheffield) and Theatre by the Lake. Writing commissions include Signal Fires by 45 North, Burn Bright's Better in Person and BBC FAMALAM S4. Her Soho Writers Lab play Senses of Responsibility was shortlisted for the Lancaster Playwrighting Prize.

Adam James

Adam is a queer writer and script editor from the West Midlands, now based in Manchester. He is currently on 4screenwriting with Channel 4 and was part of the Soho Theatre’s Writers Lab in 2019/20. In TV development, he currently works with Wall To Wall North and previously SISTER.

Adam James - a young white man, wearing a white shirt and cream best on top. He is smiling, and wearing red glasses


PlayBox is a year-long writer-on-attachment programme offering bespoke residencies to four early-career North West playwrights to write a new play with support from Box of Tricks.

Over the course of a year-long attachment, each playwright receives a seed commission to write a new play with dramaturgical support from the Box of Tricks team and workshop development with actors. Each attachment culminates in a public rehearsed reading.

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