Writing for Performance with Communities

Telling the stories that need to be heard

Monday February 17th - Saturday February 22nd 2020

Lumb Bank

This is a course for writers, performers and theatre makers who are looking to facilitate meaningful creative collaboration, developing work with, by and for communities. Through writing activities, and by exploring good practice models of co-creation and facilitation, you will learn to tell untold stories and promote positive social change.

The course aims to give each participant a practical tool kit of exercises and strategies for writing and making work, touching on different techniques, such as verbatim, improvisation, devising, spoken word and site-specific work.

Led by experienced and inspirational tutors, the course will equip you to access opportunities for writing in different contexts and signpost industry links to take your work to the next stage.


Cost: £535


How to apply:

To apply, please send a 500 word statement describing how participation would benefit both your own writing and the community or professional context in which you work or would like to work.

Please email your statement to learning@arvon.org by 5pm on Tuesday 7th January*; we will confirm places in the week of 13th January.

*Please note applications are now closed for this course

‘Writing’ – if you feel that writing your application would be a barrier to your application, let us know and we can send you an alternative application medium.

We’re looking for a range of people from experienced makers to individuals who feel connected to a community and want to facilitate the stories from that community.


Tutors :

Sara Clifford

Sara has written over thirty plays including commissions for the Soho Theatre, York Theatre Royal, and Nottingham Playhouse, and her work has been produced in France, Italy, Guadeloupe and Hong Kong. She has worked for over thirty years in community and participatory arts, leading writing and drama projects with the Albany, Donmar Warehouse, Oval House, Clean Break, St Christopher’s Hospice, Creative Partnerships, Nottingham Playhouse, London Bubble and National Theatre Education, amongst others.

As Writer/ Artistic Director of her company, Inroads, she works with local communities to create work rooted in their stories, including six site-specific plays, Home FiresVacant PossessionOur Dancing Feet; Stanmer; The Port, the Beast and the Traveller; and The Tribunal.


Francesca Beard

Francesca Beard is an internationally acclaimed spoken word artist who makes interactive and transformational work for live audiences.

She has over twenty years’ experience facilitating cross-arts projects with a wide range of diverse groups and communities, working across generations and internationally – from parent and baby groups in Bexley libraries, to young student activists in Khartoum, to an all-female collective of writers in Kampala to older people in Islington care homes.

Her innovative, often interactive, multi-media one person shows are increasingly made in conversation with different communities. To find out more, please visit www.francescabeard.com



Rob Watt

Rob is a critically acclaimed director, dramaturg and facilitator. He collaborates with writers, communities, poets, designers to try to make sense of the fractured world we live in. Right now, he is fascinated with cults, rage, and 80’s adventure movies. He currently works as an Associate at Headlong Theatre, regularly teaches at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama and makes shows with the Institute of the Arts Barcelona. He previously headed up the young people’s team at the National Theatre, was a Lead Artist at Lyric Hammersmith, an Artist Mentor at the Barbican and was Associate Director at Immediate Theatre. www.robwatt.co.uk


Lumb Bank house

Lumb Bank

The Ted Hughes Arvon Centre, Lumb Bank is an 18th-century millowners house in West Yorkshire, which once belonged to Ted Hughes. It’s set in 20 acres of steep woodland with breathtaking views to the valley below.


Writing course tutor delivering a workshop at Lumb Bank


Arrive late afternoon, settle in, enjoy dinner and the tutors’ introduction to the week in the evening.

one-to-one tutorial at Lumb Bank


Morning workshops led by tutors. Afternoons are your time for writing and one-to-one tutorials. Tutors read from their work in the evening.

Course participants writing at the workshop table at The Hurst


Morning workshops led by tutors. Afternoons are your time for writing and one-to-one tutorials. In the evening a guest speaker joins the group.

Course participant writing on a sofa in the barn at Lumb Bank


Morning workshops led by tutors. Afternoons are your time for writing and one-to-one tutorials. You are free to spend this evening as you wish.

A woman smiling and listening to a writing tutor speak at Lumb Bank


Tutors lead the final workshops in the morning. In the evening everyone gets together to share and celebrate their work.

Course participants eating at The Hurst


The week comes to a close after breakfast. Have a tissue handy to say your farewells to the group.



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