Photos and videos from INCUBATE Live Lit Industry Scratch Night at Nightingale Theatre

four people making a toast
INCUBATE participants Umit Ozturk, Lynne Blackwood, with Stuart Silver, and participant Priti Barua. Photo Bip Mistry

I’m very happy to present to you photos from Paul Jackson and Bip Mistry and film from Joel Shepherd featuring the live lit performances from creative writers Priti Barua, Umit Ozturk and Lynne Blackwood. They performed for the first time on 24 January 2013 at Nightingale Theatre as part of our new live lit programme called Incubate.

Since 14 December, they’ve had the opportunity to work with BAFTA-nominated, Perrier award winning writer and acclaimed producer Stuart Silver to turn their original writing – everything from one-page scripts, a short story and an even flash pieces – into live lit performance fit for the stage. They rehearsed for 4 days in the studio, and I know put in a lot of time and hard work to produce some excellent results. See Lynne Blackwood’s account on our site about what the experience was like.

Stuart Silver, Producer, says: ‘Working with such obviously talented writers is a thrilling process, and Priti, Lynne and Umit have leapt into the challenge of turning their wonderful writing into performance as a first step to developing live literature works with dynamic shifts, risk, surprise, wit and warmth.

‘For the two days we’ve spent together, there is of course so much to explore with such richly nuanced texts and we’re thoroughly looking forward to seeing these three pieces performed for an audience for the first time.  It’s obviously an essential experience from which, with continued mentor support they can further develop the pieces and explore the performance techniques we’ve all been setting in place.’

The night of 24 January was packed out with audiences – yes, a sold out night! – and we saw moving, daring, and humorous performances from all three writers. If you missed it, not to fear, as we have videos of Umit, Lynne and Priti, plus a special 2.5 minute promo video of all three. Plus we also have photos on our Facebook page and on Flickr, so have a look and enjoy.

We expect to see more from these three writers in the near future!

A final thanks to Steven Brett at the Nightingale Theatre for supporting this programme, Akka Ali, who was the INCUBATE coordinator, and Sarah Lee, who is mentoring all three writers to help them get funding to continue their writing developments.

Umit Ozturk performing ‘Who do you think they are not?’


Umit’s humorous short play “Aunt’s Agony” is about a person working in a call centre who’s trying to sort out people’s problems from around the world and tackles the issue of cultural diversity – and cats!

Umit Ozturk says of the residency: ‘Incubate helped the flames of my passion for stage to reincarnate! In this piece of stage performance, I am hoping to have a witty look at the perception of the diversity of cultures in the society, with a particular focus on the Mediterranean region. I would like to ask the audience this question with a loud smile: “who do you think they are not?” and help them in finding the answers.’

Lynne Blackwood performing ‘The Lesson in Dhansak’

Lynne’s piece is based on a short story called “The Lesson in Dhansak”, which is the only piece of Lynne’s writing to be drawn from a personal experience. Her story powerfully combines her Anglo-Indian community’s loss with being different in a hostile country and her father’s valuable lesson to her as child about life and how to overcome difficulties.

Lynne Blackwood says: ‘Working with Stuart has been a liberating experience for me. His nurturing brought out talents I wasn’t yet aware of and allowed me to express myself in a confident way, despite the physical limitations. His observations also allowed me to look at my work in a different manner and to see where improvements to the original short story could be made. Thank you INCUBATE, Amy and Stuart!’

Priti Barua at Nightingale Theatre

Priti Barua says of her experience on the residency: ‘I have been positively inspired by the INCUBATE residency, the insights and guidance of Stuart Silver and the support of fellow writers and mentorship is invaluable. As a result I am becoming more conscious of the power of the spoken word and my deeper desire to connect with the audience in effective dialogue, both silent and spoken. It is both daunting and exhilarating to think that the words written in silence will take on new meaning in the theatrical space and I hope give me the courage and confidence to keep writing!’

INCUBATE 2012 promo video

Photos from 3 authors showcase at Nightingale Theatre (6/10/12)

Here are but a few photos from the excellent evening with artist Samson Kambalu, novelist Sharon Otoo and writer Colin Grant.

More from this night – and other nights – are on our Facebook page:

Writing Our Legacy 3 author showcase: Samson Kambalu, Sharon Otoo and Colin Grant. Photograph: Paul Jackson

Sharon Otoo, Writing Our Legacy, Nightingale Theatre, 2012. Photograph: Paul Jackson

Photos from Literary Salon, 28 October 2011

Irene Mensah
Irene Mensah & Jenny Aburra

The final literary event for this month was the BHM literary salon.

It was scheduled to take place in the Regency Townhouse, but due to unforseeable non-entry (!), I had a mad rush to source another venue. Fortunately, the kind manager at Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar, who I’d worked with previously on Flash Lit fiction, was able to help us out at the last minue.

For the next two hours,  I was trying to phone everyone, put messages up on Facebook and asking friends to pass on the message.

It was a rainy cold night, but we had a good crowd turn up in the bar, which we decorated with African prints, red, gold, black  and green bunting, and amazing Caribbean and Asian vegan canapes from Titbits Catering, which went down really well.

Wondering why all the photos are taken in a car park? Noise from the downstairs club meant it was nearly impossible to hear readings – this was something we’d learned from our Countdown night on the 14th. Akila, who kindly volunteered to warm up the audience with her delicious poetry, said, ‘Why not do it outside?’

The spontaneous suggestion sparked a venue that was both novel and atmospheric, feeling like a preview to White Night with its site-specific edge.

Akila started the night out with her famous mango poem and a new work.

Then we had Irene Mensah & Jenny Aburra doing a ‘double act.’

Lastly we had Fawzia Kane, reading from her poetry collection coming out on Waterloo Press.

The final reading for the night was a poem from an audience member inspired by the evening. We are publishing for your delection here (see end).

What a great night, enjoyed by all.

Change your venue
Hold your own
Change your setting
Hold your tone

Raise your voices
Stand your ground
Speak up, we’re not
Stood down

Car park
Bar talk
Frog bar
Long walk

Night air
Right here
I hear
Crystal clear

With Akila’s artistry
And guerrilla poetry
Forget the Regency and
Write your Legacy


Fawzia Kane

Photos from the New Writing South – Writing Our Legacy writing workshop

Last Saturday, we had a great one-day writing workshop focusing on legacy and inheritance, as part of this year’s Black History Month. There was 13 participants, from all different background, from Irish to Nigerian to Asian and mixed heritages of all kinds.

We spent an entire day led on a creative exploration with three experienced writers and editors: author Dave Nwokedi, filmmaker and lecturer Sindi Gordon and publisher and editor Kadija George.

It was a very full day, influenced by too many different authors and figures to list in full – Maya Angelou, MLK, Zadie Smith.

One thought I took away from the day: “Stay with the uncomfortable. Legacy is being able to chart your journey as a writer. Write honestly and let that be your legacy.”

The Writing Our Legacy workshop was organised by Black History Month (our fine selves) with the help of literature development agency New Writing South, who threw in free one-year membership to all attendees. Thanks to all involved on the day.

Uschi Gatward & Dave Nwokedi. Photographer: Paul Jackson
Dave Nwokedi, workshop leader
Writing Our Legacy writing workshop, 15 October 2011. Photographer: Paul Jackson
Notes. Photographer: Paul Jackson
Sindi Gordon, workshop leader. Photographer: Paul Jackson