PlayerPlaywrights is led by a committee of volunteer actors and playwrights, committed to supporting new writing.
Laurence Marks & Maurice Gran
Bafta-winning writers of numerous ITV and BBC series’ including Birds of A Feather, Goodnight Sweetheart and The New Statesman. Theatre Includes Save The Last Dance For Me, Dreamboats and Petticoats and Love Me Do. Marks & Gran were crowned ‘Living Legends’ by The Comedy Society in September 2015.
“In 1973 we had the good fortune to stumble upon Player–Playwrights. Over the subsequent months, in a semi–derelict theatre in Fitzroy Square, we were exposed to short plays, long plays, good plays and bad plays, written and performed by members of the club, professional and amateur.
Although by then Laurence was a journalist, and Maurice was selling the occasional short story to top shelf magazines, neither of us even fantasised about a career as a playwright, although we were both enthusiastic fans of radio and television comedy. But after a few months hearing other members’ scripts, we decided separately to take the plunge, and enter the regular sketch–writing competition.”
Mary joined Player Playwrights as a writer. Her career in further education has run concurrently with her theatre activities. As Director of a further education college Mary managed a degree programme in performing arts and was also project manager and director-in-charge of a large arts centre in Hertfordshire.
She has worked in theatre as actor, director, artistic director, play agent and theatre critic but her prime interest is in playwriting. She has written numerous plays in her own right but also leads the PP Collaborative Playwriting Group, with whom she has produced two full length plays and a range of original scripts. She won the Player Playwrights ‘playwright of the year’ award for 2014.
Ninaz Khodaiji is a theatre director, writer, actor and theatre programmer with an interest in newl work that speaks to wide, mixed audiences.
Ninaz has an MA in Theatre Directing from Middlesex University and trained as an actor at the Herbert Berghof Studio and Lee Strasberg Institute, New York. She has done courses in screenwriting and film at the School of Visual Arts, NY, and the London Film Academy. She also worked as a projectionist at NYU’s film department at Tisch.
She was Writer in Residence at Oval House Theatre, London (July 2005 – March 2006) where she developed and directed Strangers, as well as the London run of Insomnia. Insomnia was developed through the Royal Court Theatre and has been published three times. It was on the 2005 syllabus of Syracuse University, NY (Gender and Power in South Asian Popular Culture) and the CIEFL, India. She has done residencies with the Royal Court, Oval House, Visiting Arts and Richmix.
Ninaz was Head of Asian Arts Development at Watermans, 2007-2012; she currently works as guest programmer for The Drum, Birmingham, and as an actor. She has acted professionally in over 18 productions, plus some film, TV and commercials.
Peter Thompson is Player Playwrights’ Secretary. He joined in the 1970s because he wanted to write for radio. With a lot of help and encouragement from other members he finally managed to write two plays which were broadcast, one of which was so English and old-fashioned that it made a repeat on the World Service. Then parenthood intervened and on his return in the 1980s he was elected Secretary where he has collected an enormous database of actors and writers and all their works. He is the person to contact, by email please on email@example.com, if you want to join, or resign or to spread good news about yourself and your work.
John Morrison is responsible for script development at Player-Playwrights and is the first point of contact for writers. He is a published author of non-fiction and fiction, a playwright and former chair of P-P until 2015. His earlier career was in journalism as a foreign correspondent for Reuters in Moscow, Paris and other places. His play ‘A Morning With Guy Burgess’ was staged for three weeks in 2011 at the Courtyard Theatre in Hoxton. His latest play ‘Lenin In Poland’ is about contemporary art.
Francis Beckett is a journalist by trade and a playwright by conviction. The latest of his 18 non-fiction books is 1956: The Year that Changed Britain (Biteback, 2015.)
He has written regularly for many publications, particularly the Guardian and New Statesman, and now edits Third Age Matters, the national magazine published by the University of the Third Age. He won the 2009 Ted Wragg award for lifetime contribution to educational journalism.
Two of his plays, following London fringe productions, were published by Samuel French (thanks to an introduction at Player Playwrights); another was broadcast on radio; another appeared at Theatre 503; and a fifth had a three week run at the Etcetera Theatre in Camden Town.
He also writes short stories for Oxford University Press anthologies and other outlets.
More about Francis at www.francisbeckett.co.uk.
Tony joined Player Playwrights in 1995 as a writing member and has been treasurer for 16 years.
As treasurer he has been involved in managing the financing of Showcases at the Soho Theatre, Arts Theatre and the King’s Head, and four productions altogether at the Camden Fringe Festivals of 2011 and 2012, at the Jerwood Theatre, RADA, the Etcetera Theatre and two at the Tristan Bates.
He also produced one of his own plays, “Show me the Money”, with a professional director and cast at the Chelsea Theatre in 2013, and hopes to produce a second play this year.
He has been an acting member of the Questors’ Theatre, Ealing since 1980, and has appeared with them on tour at the Edinburgh Fringe and at the Minack Theatre, Cornwall. He was on the staff of the BBC for six years in the early 1980s, during which time he was a member of their Studio Amateur Dramatic Group (SADG), which performed and recorded radio plays in studio. He is also an active friend of Shakespeare’s Globe.
His professional background is in information science and management consultancy.
Rebecca is an actor represented by Creative Artists Management and trained at East 15 on the BA Acting course. Prior to this, she trained on the Foundation Course at Drama Centre London where she met Eva-Jane Willis who introduced her to PlayerPlaywrights. Credits include Mental Play (Cambridge Junction), Triple Word Scare (short film/Jonathan Howard), Invisible Man (short film/Jan Nord) and international commercial campaigns including Emirates and Schweppes directed by Academy Award winning filmmaker Joachim Back.
Rebecca is a theatre director and playwright who has recently finished a directing course at the Royal Central School of speech and drama. Since finishing her training she has directed rehearsed readings with ‘Page to Stage’ and PlayerPlaywrights including a piece by Peter Vincent(The two Ronnies/Frankie Howerd on Campus) called “Kelly Kan Do”. Rebecca started her theatrical career with a self written play for a charity event in aid of raising funds for water aid which done in under a week with a minimal cast and no set. Rebecca is also a committee member for PlayerPlaywrights. She is also working with Lemons Operated on a devised performance and is hoping to put in on for next year’s Camden Fringe.
Christa Engelbrecht is a London based Actress and Singer. She has been a member of Player Playwrights for 5 years and a proud committee member for two years. Christa has had a wonderfully diverse and vibrant acting career, working with the likes of Des Hamilton, Bill Buckhurst, Auriol Smith (Orange Tree Theatre) and Ivana Chubbuck. Christa is also a skillful and captivating vocalist, currently working with Anita Wardell (Modern Jazz) and Musical Director Jordan Clarke (Musical Theatre Repertoire). She has been invited to perform at Ronnie Scott’s famous jazz club.
Christa is currently producing a play about a series of cruelly comic encounters linked by a liaison in a hotel bedroom and also working with various songwriters on her debut album scheduled for recording later this year.
“Christa is courageous and wonderful” – Ivana Chubbuck.
Assistant Competition Secretary
Chukwudi Onwere is a Playwright/Director/Actor. Trained as an actor at East 15 Acting School. Currently holding a fundraising rehearsed reading of his own theatre play that he has written called ‘Hit Chicks’ on Thursday 25th February 2016. Hit Chicks was held as a rehearsed reading at Player-Playwrights back in April 2015. Winner of Best Actor 2015 for the short play money prize competition of Login Error, a play by Adam Hughes. Chukwudi is working towards getting ‘Hit Chicks’ up to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2016. As an actor, Theatre credits include playing the title role of Othello in Othello by William Shakespeare, Agamemnon in Iphigenia at Aulis by Euripedes.
Play Scores Officer
Gile’s function at PlayerPlaywrights is to record the marks given by members at Readings and Competitions, which at the end of the year will provide the winners of the trophies for Best Play, Best Comedy, Best Competition, Best Actor and Best Actress. He also has the duty of getting the actual trophies engraved with their names.
Giles also writes, and won the Best Competition Trophy in 1999. At the RedFest Event in Camden (now, alas, discontinued) one of his short pieces was professionally performed. His novel, “Corporal Marsh’s Medals” is out on the web for download into Kindle or IPad.