Cumbrian writers selected for script development

Published: 7 July 2020
Reporter: David Chadderton

Daneka Etchells
Imogen Barnfather
Matt Sowerby Credit: Nancy Keller
Nina Berry

Theatre by the Lake in Keswick and new writing company Paines Plough have announced the four Cumbrian writers who have been commissioned under their Come to Where I Am project.

Daneka Etchells, Matt Sowerby, Nina Berry and Imogen Barnfather have been working with Paines Plough and Theatre by the Lake on developing their scripts after being selected from more than 75 applications from local writers.

Come to Where I Am is a spin-off from an existing Paines Plough project, Come To Where I’m From, which has so far commissioned more than 160 existing short plays over 10 years. As well as Theatre by the Lake, Paines Plough is partnering with Derby Theatre, Eastern Angles, Open Clasp Theatre Company Newcastle, Pitlochry Festival Theatre, Reading Rep Theatre and Sheffield Theatres to co-commission 30 new short plays.

Each writer has performed and filmed his or her play, for the Paines Plough and Theatre by the Lake’s social media channels, but the plays will also be performed in person when Theatre by the Lake reopens.

Theatre by the Lake’s Artistic Director Liz Stevenson said, “we were overwhelmed by the quality of the submissions we received in response to our call-out for local writers: there’s a lot of talent in the county! So selecting four writers was a difficult task, but we are thrilled with their plays and look forward to sharing them online with our audiences on 1 July. We hope everyone enjoys them. We also can’t wait for them to be performed live for our audiences when the building reopens”.

Writer and actor Daneka Etchells added, “working in the arts, stories about my home are very, very few and far between—that’s why I wanted to get involved in this project. I’m extremely proud to be Cumbrian and champion it whenever I can. I’m determined to ensure that my county is put properly on the map and has its identity heard. Plus, I’ve never heard of a play, TV show or film in my entire life set in Carlisle!”