NEWS / Shop Front Theatre – Writers in Residence 2022

Shop Front Theatre – Writers in Residence 2022

Find out about the three selected writers below and look out for more posts that document the writers experiences over the year!

It’s been a real pleasure at the start of a new year for Theatre Absolute to invite applications from Coventry and regionally based writers to apply for two writer in residence opportunities at our Shop Front Theatre, here in Coventry thanks to a private donation. 


We received 35 applications and after talking with the donor, we were able to add another residency to the programme. Three writers will each have the entire Shop Front Theatre space to themselves for a week, supported by a fee, to explore, contemplate, write, re-write, stare out of our ten windows at the world going by, and just generally, we hope, enjoy the luxury of time and space. 


I remember from personal experience, when my children were young tots, that if I wanted to write I had to squeeze it in somewhere – and I wrote several of my early plays through the wee small hours of the morning. The point of these residencies is in essence more about process than product – it’s not about finishing, but about being allowed to be present, to float in that ocean of concentration, to step back, to step forward, to be critical of one’s ideas, be pleased with one’s decision making, and, with no disturbances, to allow one’s self a deep swim inside an imaginary world, as the white noise of the outside world disappears. 


– Chris O’Connell 

Find out about the three selected writers below!

Sujana Crawford

Sujana Crawford is a multilingual poet, playwright and researcher, working in Nepali, English and Hindi. Sujana’s creative work is driven by a fascination with people, places and folklore. She often draws inspiration from her childhood in Nepal, motherhood, and experiences of living and working within different cultures.


Sujana was one of the core poets during BBC Contains Strong Language poetry festival in 2021. Her creative writing in the forms of poetry, short stories and essays have been included in various magazines and anthologies. Alongside, her pieces for theatre have been developed with support from Birmingham Rep, Warwick Arts Centre and Yellow Coat Theatre, among others. Her work has also been featured in BBC Radio 3 and Radio 4. Sujana is a Trustee of Talking Birds Theatre, and currently lives in Warwickshire with her husband and two young children.

Angela Mhlanga

Zimbabwean born artist and trained actor, Angela Mhlanga enjoys travelling the world writing, storytelling/theatre-making and creating art. Her work recently includes collaborations with Coventry City of Culture, Talking Birds Company, Strike A Light, BET Camberwell and Entelechy Arts London. As a multi-disciplinary artist, Angela’s style focuses on writing, acting, directing and puppetry all the while using recyclable materials to do so.


‘What a thrill to have the chance to work in Coventry’s theatre hub. I am very much looking forward to my week with the Theatre Absolute team.’


Examples of her work can be seen on her instagram page: @MaKhumaloProductions


Katie Walters 

I am an autistic and physically disabled artist creating long-form poetic storytelling for theatre. I established my career in the arts as a performance poet, winning the SLAMbassadors national youth slam in 2014, as a result of a desire to tell stories beyond the typical 3-5 minute format of spoken word, and finding limited career pathways for disabled performance poets, I have expanded my practice into theatre. I like to explore the issues that are important to me through the use of extended metaphor, and I am particularly interested in the relationships between disabled people and their environments, as well as themes of sickness, nature, and metamorphosis.


In recent years I have developed an interest in expanding my practice into interdisciplinary and visual arts, focussing on how visual and physical metaphors can concisely express complex feelings or philosophical ideas that take up a lot of time and space to explore through words. I work as both an independent artist, and as the co-founder of disability arts organisation Radical Body.