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ATC Commissions Plays Now – For Whatever Happens Next

Yasmin Joseph
Yasmin Joseph

Actors Touring Company is commissioning the first new plays under Artistic Director Matthew Xia’s policy of developing new plays by women of colour.

Playwrights Yasmin Joseph (J’Ouvert – Theatre 503) and Nessah Muthy (Herione – High Tide) will work closely with ATC artistic director Matthew Xia over the coming months. The move comes as ATC launches its fundraising campaign #ContinueCreativity to commission more plays NOW for whatever happens NEXT.

Matthew Xia says; “The world seems to have stopped spinning momentarily, magnifying the racial disparity and social inequality that has always been present. As ever, in crisis, the marginalised become more so, the vulnerable become the acutely vulnerable.

Our #continuecreativity appeal is the way to enable people to help us commission and amplify the marginalised voices who are at the centre of this very moment.

Nessah Muthy’s new work is a co-commission between ATC and Theatre Royal Plymouth, examining right-wing grooming and radicalisation in the online gaming community.

Yasmin Joseph’s work is a co-commission with Soho Theatre as part of the Soho Six. Inspired by Joseph’s 2019 tweet about travelling alone “whilst Black / whilst woman” that went viral, with thousands of Black women from across their world responding with their own stories of being hounded whilst travelling.

The play will explore the “minefield of having to navigate other people’s voyeurism and ignorance at a time when we’re supposed to be solely focused on finding the nearest museum”.

Xia adds; “Nessah’s new play explores misogyny and racism on the internet and how this infects our societies, Yasmin’s looks at the voyeurism which places the Black female body under intense and damaging scrutiny.”

Nessah Muthy is a multi-awarding Writer’s Guild nominated writer, winner of the Character 7 Prize and the Adrian Pagan Award 2018. She has worked with a number of established theatres and arts organisations including: the Royal Court Theatre, Punchdrunk, the National Youth Theatre, Cardboard Citizens, HighTide, Kali Theatre, Theatre Centre, Iris Theatre, Cloakroom Theatre and the Kings Head Theatre.

Yasmin Joseph’s debut play J’Ouvert premiered at Theatre503 in 2019. She is currently a member of the Royal Court’s invitational writers group and is under commission with Clean Break and the Royal Court via the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. She has been nominated for Most Promising Playwright at the 2019 Evening Standard Theatre Awards.

The announcement of the two new commissions follows the successful online screening of Amsterdam by May Arud Yassur, a co-production with Orange Tree Theatre, which replaced this spring’s national tour cut short by the coronavirus lockdown. The streaming played to a total of 27,000 people between mid-March and the end of May, exactly mirroring the lost tour dates, often accompanied by online Q&As and workshops with local audiences and
practitioners from the 10 tour venues, from Glasgow to Birmingham.



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