Orange Tree Writers Collective 2018

The Collective is an opportunity for a group of establishing writers to share skills, techniques and obsessions, and to fire up conversations and collaborations. It is run by the Orange Tree’s Literary Associate Guy Jones, alongside masterclasses from practitioners making work at the theatre.

With many thanks to The Idlewild Trust and The Garrick Charitable Trust for their generous support of this project.

The Writers Collective 2018 are Carmen Nasr, Femi Keeling, Freddie Machin, Ross Willis, Samuel Bailey and Zoë Guzy-Sprague.


Playwrights’ Biographies

Carmen Nasr
Carmen is a British-Lebanese playwright, raised in Beirut and living in London for the last ten years. In 2016 she won the Channel 4 Playwright’s Scheme with her second play Dubailand and was awarded a year-long residency at the Finborough Theatre. In February 2017, Dubailand received a production at the Finborough Theatre, and Carmen was nominated for an Off West End Award for Most Promising New Playwright. Her first play The House of My Father was performed as part of the Vibrant Festival in 2014 and in the following year it was long listed for the prestigious Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting and Carmen was also shortlisted for’s Adopt a Playwright Award. Carmen is a graduate of the Royal Court’s Introductory Playwriting Group, and her latest play The Climbers received a stage reading at the Finborough Theatre in October 2017.

Femi Keeling
Femi Keeling is a British Caribbean playwright and theatre maker born in London, and living in Surrey. Named by Speaking Volumes as one the ‘40 Stars of Black British Literature’, her solo theatre show, How to Die of a Broken Heart, has toured the UK. Femi’s play, I Am Not There, had a rehearsed reading at the Talawa Firsts festival in 2017. She has worked closely with Talawa Theatre Company, Soho Theatre, Battersea Arts Centre, and Tamasha Theatre Company to create new work, and is particularly interested in stories that explore what happens when we are confronted with the reality of who we are, and how we then work to reconcile that with who we want to be. A BBC Radio 4 programme about Femi’s life, The Achalasia Diaries, aired in 2015 and she is a recent alumna of the BBC Writers Room London Voices programme.

Freddie Machin
Based on his play of the same title, Freddie wrote the feature film Chicken, which got its UK cinema release in May 2016. Mark Kermode included it in his best films of that year for the Guardian newspaper, and it received its network premiere on FilmFour.

In 2017, whilst under commission at Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts, Freddie wrote The Real Estate for the graduating cohort of 32 actors, which concerned the gentrification of social housing in London. He has been re-commissioned to write for the 2018 cohort, with a new play to be produced at Italia Conti in the summer.   

Freddie’s other plays include: Nailhouse (Old Red Lion), Winston on the Run (Edinburgh Fringe & UK Tour), The Revenge of Martha G. (Chichester Festival Theatre), Don’t Waste Your Bullets on the Dead (Vault Festival), and Chicken (Southwark Playhouse).

Freddie is an Associate Artist at the Mercury Theatre, Colchester.

Ross Willis
Ross is currently one of Theatre503’s resident playwrights, the 503Five. He is also on attachment at Bristol Old Vic, a member of BBC Writersroom London Voices and recently completed an attachment with Tamasha.  He took part in the Soho Theatre Writers’ Lab, where he developed Wonder Boy which was a special recommendation finalist for the Tony Craze Award and received a rehearsed reading at Arcola Theatre's Playwrought festival. He also played the Donkey in the school nativity play.

Samuel Bailey
Samuel is a writer from the West Midlands, now living in London. Samuel moved to Bristol in 2013 after being chosen as one of Bristol Old Vic’s ‘Open Sessions 5’ and had a rehearsed reading of his winning play, Double Bred, staged in their studio. Over the course of 2013/14 he also took part in their ‘Made in Bristol’ initiative – a development scheme for theatre makers aged 18 – 25. After working with new writing company Theatre West on his play Islanders, Samuel was selected as one of the inaugural Old Vic 12 in 2015/16, receiving a seed commission and staging a rehearsed reading of Prince of the River at the Criterion Theatre, which was long listed for the 2017 Papatango prize. Since then, Samuel has written the script for award-winning short film Kin, returned to Bristol for a sold out run of Champ with Tobacco Factory Theatres and begun developing new play, Shook, with the support MGCFutures.  

Zoë Guzy-Sprague
Zoë is an American playwright, dramaturg, and facilitator based in London who is passionate about creating platforms for untold stories and unheard voices, and about exploring the boundaries of theatrical form. Her full length play The Net premiered at the Tristan Bates Theatre in 2017. Her short play Define had its first run at the Park Theatre as part of the Women Redressed Festival (2016). Zoë has worked as resident dramaturge with Company Three to develop scratch work that provides a platform for teenagers to talk to adults about intimacy. She is currently working as dramaturg for The Incident, a new play that premiered at the Harare International Festival for the Arts in Zimbabwe and will be touring in South Africa this summer. She also works as a creative writing facilitator for young refugees at Rewrite. She holds an MA in Writing for Performance and Dramaturgy from Goldsmiths, University of London.