We are delighted to announce that as part of our growing Local Exchange programmes in Cheetham Hill and Leigh we are working with local playwrights Karla Marie Sweet and Kieran Knowles. These brilliant writers, both of whom have personal connections to each of these areas, will be embedded into the local community, working closely with the ambassador teams form each place and spending time with the wider community in conversation and via workshops, enabling the unique stories that shape these areas to be shared far and wide.
Karla, who will be on attachment in Cheetham Hill, she has over seven years of storytelling experience through her work in theatre at the BBC and with Sony Pictures Entertainment. On being appointed as writer in residence she said, “Having worked with minority communities before, I'm absolutely thrilled to have the opportunity to collaborate with the people of Cheetham Hill. It's an area I know is rich with incredible stories and I'm so excited to be a part of a scheme that is dedicated to getting them out there."
Kieran, who is from Leigh, has seen his work produced throughout the UK and internationally, he added… "I grew up watching plays at the Manchester Royal Exchange, the first thing I remember seeing, JULIUS CAESAR, was there. Since I watched the titular character hanging from his ankles at the interval, it has been the only ambition I have had to work and be associated with this theatre. To get the opportunity is an unbelievable honour and to do it on a project based in the town I grew up in is beyond exciting. Leigh is such a brilliant and complicated place with a rich and varied history, I can’t wait to connect with the community, tell their stories and make something the whole town can have ownership of and be proud of.”
Local Exchange is a vital part of the Royal Exchange programme. It sees the theatre take up residency in areas across Greater Manchester developing long lasting creative relationships with organisations and individuals from that borough. As part of that programme of work the theatre’s new pop-up space the Den will be built in a found space in the local area and become the home of a two-week festival celebrating work that has been created by artists and residents. Both Kieran and Karla will be developing work for the Den.
A bit more info about our writers…
Karla has over seven years of storytelling experience through her work at the BBC, Sony Pictures Entertainment and various indies. Whilst a Production Trainee at the BBC, Karla worked in the script department of medical drama CASUALTY. She got her start as a professional writer after her six-part mystery thriller was optioned by ITV Studios and she was invited to co-develop a series for Lime Pictures. In 2017, Karla was one of ten writers shortlisted for Theatre503’s annual residency programme. Later that year, her Edinburgh Fringe show previewed at the theatre before completing a full run at Underbelly, where it was longlisted for the Amnesty Freedom of Expression Award. Having returned to her beloved hometown of Manchester a year ago, she is currently working on a teen drama for the BBC and was recently part of the writer’s room for forthcoming Netflix series Get Even. Her new play LEAVING premieres at London theatre The Bunker this December.
Kieran trained at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art and Loughborough University.
His theatre writing credits include: OPERATION CRUCIBLE (Finborough Theatre, Sheffield Crucible, UK Tour, 59E59 Bris Off Broadway NYC) which was nominated for Off West End Award - Most Promising New Writer; CHICKEN SOUP (Sheffield Crucible); COMET (The Pleasance Theatre), 31 HOURS (Bunker Theatre) which was also nominated for Off West End Award - Most Promising New Writer; ROUGH CUTS (Royal Court Young Writer’s Programme).
For radio, he has written OPERATION CRUCIBLE (BBC).