News: Frank Skinner & Katherine Parkinson Make Edinburgh Debuts As Playwrights

Comedian Frank Skinner and IT Crowd star Katherine Parkinson are among the four creative people who are stepping out of their comfort zone and writing their debut plays, which will then be produced for the Edinburgh Fringe. 

The other writers taking part in the scheme called Debut are journalist Bim Adewunmi and Emmy-nominated TV and film director  Beryl Richards.

The writers were approached at the beginning of 2018 and invited to submit an hour-long first draft of a play. The shows will be developed and produced ready for the Edinburgh stage in August. 

Jonty Claypole, the BBC’s Director of Arts says: ‘Edinburgh in August is one of the most creative places in the world. It’s the role of the BBC to share that energy and joy with the rest of the UK and beyond, which we do throughout the month across our services. It’s also an opportunity for talent to experiment with new directions and ideas in a safe environment. As part of our Edinburgh activity, BBC Arts is delighted to be working with Avalon on DEBUT, supporting four extraordinary talents to develop their writing practice in new ways.’ 

Jon Thoday, joint MD of Avalon, says: ‘Avalon are thrilled to be working with BBC Arts on this initiative encouraging talent to try something totally new to evolve at a brilliantly creative melting pot -  the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 

DEBUT will see four plays produced for and performed at the Edinburgh Fringe 2018:

·         Hoard by Bim Adewunmi (senior culture editor for BuzzFeed News and columnist for the Guardian)

Underbelly, White Belly, 1st – 26th August 2018, 5.20pm

·         Sitting by Katherine Parkinson (The IT Crowd, Doc Martin, The Honourable Woman andHumans)

Gilded Balloon, The Dining Room, 1st – 26th August 2018, 3.15pm

·         Diamond by Beryl Richards (Joe All Alone, The Secret Life of Boys, Uncle Dad and My Life as a Popat)

Underbelly, The Dairy Room, 1st – 26th August 2018, 4.15pm

·         Nina’s Got News by Frank Skinner is about Nina’s truly incredible news, how her ex-boyfriend and her best friend react to it, and whether they can possibly believe her. 

Pleasance, Queen Dome, 1st – 26th August 2018, 2.50pm

Frank Skinner said: ‘This is such a brilliant initiative. Thirty years in comedy and I never knew I was only one encouraging phone call away from writing a play. I put down the receiver and picked up my laptop. Suddenly, I feel like a man of the theatre. I am hankering for a fedora’. 

Katherine Parkinson said: ‘I would never have thought to try and write a play unless asked to do so, and so I am delighted that the BBC and Avalon did ask! I cannot however be held responsible for the results.’

Bim Adewunmi said: ‘In my journalism and my essays I’m always seeking out the stories of everyday people, sometimes in unusual situations. The family in 'Hoard' is living just one of those stories — and I’m delighted Avalon and BBC Arts have given me a chance to bring them to life for the stage.’

Beryl Richards said: ‘This has been a fantastic opportunity for me, I have loved writing Diamond and relish the chance to see an audience react to my work’

Buy tickets here.


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