Theatre company is looking for the next Martin McDonagh
A London Irish theatre company is making a final plug for entrants to its first short play festival, as it aims to highlight the abundance of Irish writing talent in the capital.
Biscuits For Breakfast, run by husband and wife duo Cillian O’Donnachadha and Sharon Sexton, hopes to create a platform for young writers to showcase their talent in an exciting environment. It is launching the inaugural London Irish Short Play Festival, which will run from October 20- 23 starting at 7.30pm in the heart of the community at the London Irish Centre in Camden.
Places are open to any London- based writers of Irish nationality or Irish heritage that are keen to share their work with likeminded theatre enthusiasts. In what is the first of its kind, the festival relies on a host of submissions, and the organisers are keen to hear from any directors, actors or designers who would like to get involved with the festival.
Sharon and Cillian are both graduates of Dublin Institute of Technology’s Conservatory of Music and Drama and, aside from forging successful acting, writing and directing careers, they were keen to set up their own company.
Having already staged two original shows “Somewhere Under the Rainbow” and “A Fit Wife For A Revolutionary” at the London Irish Centre this year, they are back with their most ambitious project yet.
“We started our production company ten years ago at university and we were given an opportunity to perform at a festival,” Sharon explained. “It was great because we were given a space to rehearse in, a deadline and so on and it made it all a lot more manageable.
“We just want to give other people that opportunity because, that’s how we started, and now one of our plays has turned into a fully-fledged touring production.
“And it can be so difficult to find a venue for hire – it’s so competitive and expensive in London.”
Breaking into the industry
She added that writing, in particular, can be a difficult aspect of the industry to break into, so schemes like this are an ideal opportunity to put forward your ideas and share them in such a welcoming space.
“Writing can be so lonely at times, I know because I’ve been there and done it,” she said. “You can write for days on end, sometimes really struggling to get the right things out, and you feel so jaded at the end.
“At least with this there is a chance to put what you’ve written into practice, and you don’t have to go through all the admin struggles out there.”
The festival also gives the Irish Centre another chance to reaffirm its reputation as one of the leading supporters and promoters of Irish culture in the country. As well as working with thousands of people to improve housing, income, access to health and social inclusion opportunities, it also delivers a fine programme of Irish arts, cultural and community events.
“We’re so excited because there’s such a strong sense of community at the London Irish Centre,” Sharon said. “When we first put on a show there we immediately wanted to come back because there is so much support for the Irish community and the Irish art scene coming out of it.”
She added that there has already been such a range of applications, from a variety of age groups and different demographics. Everyone from first time writers to professional playwrights have thrown their hat in the ring and Sharon said it has been refreshing to see so much London Irish talent, something she hopes to see even more of in the coming days.
The submission process for the London Irish Short Play Festival is open until 5.00pm on Friday 9th September.
Applicants are asked to complete a short form on the company’s website www.biscuitsforbreakfast.co.uk and submit a sample of their writing.