Category Archives: Jack Writers

The Jack announces first Playwright in Residence

The Jack Studio is pleased to appoint Howard Colyer as our first playwright in residence.

The Jack has a strong tradition of supporting playwrights, and of promoting and presenting new writing throughout the year. We present an annual new writing festival, Write Now, for playwrights with an association to the area, and also run regular Scratch Nights as well as the Jack Writers’ Workshop for playwrights with scripts in development.

Howard Colyer’s appointment as playwright in residence, till Spring 2016, continues the venue’s strong association with this writer, who has had nine plays produced at the venue.

In January and February 2015, Ballast Theatre will be bringing Colyer’s new adaptation of Boris Godunov to the Jack, and his three original plays Without Reluctance and Without Relief.


Howard ColyerHoward Colyer’s family comes from south east London. His father and mother were both born in Peckham and they met at the New Cross Palais in 1943, which is now The Venue.  Howard Colyer was born in 1961 near Brixton Hill.  He went to school in Streatham and left when he was sixteen.  But later he took his A Levels in Croydon and then studied history at university, Keele and Illinois State.

However circumstances forced a change of direction and in 1989 he started his career in computing. Soon afterwards, in his spare time, he started writing fiction. He has written many short stories and a few novels. He also published a translation of Kafka’s Letter to my Father.

In 2008 Colyer started to write plays. One of the first of these was an adaptation of the letter, Kafka v Kafka, which was staged at the Jack Studio in 2012. His other plays include The Good Analyst (2010), The Overcoat (2011), Conference Call (2011), Homework (2011), Finchley Road (2012), Trojan Women (2013), Mandrake (2013), Never Have I Seen Mount Fuji (2013), Flight (2014), Marriage (2014), Diary of a Madman, (2014). Howard Colyer is a Millwall fan, as was his father and his grandfather. According to Howard, not many season ticket holders at The Den translate Kafka. Dante is more popular.


Press Quotes:

‘Howard Colyer both breaks ground and excavates characters in the manner of a ballroom dancer wielding a pickaxe. This carefully matched, superbly produced selection of short plays illustrates just how consistently and boldly he does so.’ EXTRA! EXTRA! on Never Have I Seen Mount Fuji

‘Howard Colyer’s adaptation is admirably compact and full of witty and elegant dialogue… most surprising thing I came away with was how current the play is for audiences 170 years on.’ Everything Theatre on Marriage

‘Colyer’s pared-down style is so effective at delivering weighty themes with a light touch.’ Atomies on Trojan Women

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Stop Press: The Jack Studio Theatre Is Brilliant

shut up and deal

If George Orwell had taken a cue from his essay about what the perfect pub would be like and one day sat down to do the same for the perfect theatre, the Brockley Jack Studio Theatre would be pretty close I reckon.

I’ve spoken before about the Jack before but, to paraphrase, I just wanted to put down in words how wonderful life is ’cause they’re in the world. I came to know them because they put on a play of mine last year as part of their new writing festival, but I had long been looking for a local theatre in SE London to connect with and the Jack has been that for me.  Kate, the Artistic Director, continues to support me and I’m extremely grateful for that help and her wise counsel.

On top of this:

1) They do great work for their area and draw in a massive local audience…

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Jack Writers’ Workshop: Writing for One

Jack Writers’ Workshop 2013


For our 2013-2014 Season we introduce a new workshop: Writing for One.


Ever wanted to write a successful vehicle for yourself or an actor to play but didn’t

know where to start? This workshop gives you the tools to create and find the

essence of your stage persona, alongside exploring different approaches of how

best to tell your story on stage.


Writing for One

This is a practical workshop for the writer to gain experience and confidence in

standing up in front of an audience. We will look at identifying suitable subjects for

your show, and then developing a workable script and stage techniques.

The course will include improvising material and gaining feedback, while

developing an individual, engaging stage persona.


Writing for One is led by Jack literary manager and playwright, David Bottomley,

who developed and performed his own one man show, Message In A Bottle at

the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2012.


The Jack Writers’ Workshop consists of seven two-hour workshop sessions. The

course takes place over four months to allow time for writers to continue

developing and rewriting material in between sessions. At the end of the course

you should aim to realise a polished ten minute piece for performance.

The course will culminate with a selection of the strongest pieces being

performed in front of a ticketed audience at the Jack Studio in early Spring 2014.


The cost of the full workshop is £95 which is payable in advance.

Places are limited and will be filled on a first-booked basis online.

Please send an email to with your name, contact

details and short writing CV, if applicable, to receive details of how to make

payment for the course. Places are confirmed on receipt of payment.


Workshops take place on various Monday evenings at 7.30pm-9.30pm at the

Brockley Jack Studio Theatre. This workshop is open to writers of all experiences.

Workshops start promptly at 7.30pm. Attendance at all workshops is necessary in

order to build trust and group support for fellow writers’ development as well as

your own.

Course dates: 7th October, 28th October, 4th November, 25th November, 2nd December, 6th January, 20th January

(14 participants max)


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Write Now 4: writing workshops

We are pleased to offer writing workshops as part of our Write Now 4 Festival.

Please join us if you want to try out something new, or if you have an idea you want to develop.
Suitable for all experiences.
1. Synopsis Surgery. Get it right before you write! This workshop is about honing a workable
blueprint for your play. Pitch and kick ideas around and get feedback from group discussion
to move your play forward.
Saturday 11 May, 2pm – 4pm (12 participants max)
2. Creating Characters. Come and find challenging new ways of creating three dimensional
characters for your play. Through group exercises we will invent characters with lives of their
own, discover their needs, their environment and the starting points for a play scenario.
Saturday 18 May, 2pm – 4pm (16 participants max)
3. Writing for One. Ever wanted to create your own one person show but didn’t know where
to start? This workshop gives you the tools to find the essence of your stage persona and
different approaches to how to best tell your own story on stage.
Saturday 25 May, 2pm – 4pm (12 participants max)
Cost: £10 per workshop.
All places must be booked in advance:
Workshops are led by David Bottomley, Jack Studio Theatre Literary Manager.
In Conversation
Following performances of all three Write Now 4 winning plays there will be a short discussion session with members of the creative team. This is open to all and free if you have bought a ticket for that night’s performance.
Dates: Thursday 9 May, Friday 10 May, Friday 17 May.
Write Now 4 is made possible thanks to Arts Council England Grants for the Arts, Lewisham Arts Services, Acorn Estates Ltd


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The Jack Writers Workshop 2012

The Jack Writers Workshop 2012 is a dynamic hub for new stage writing in south London.

The workshop is a friendly, supportive group environment for writers of mixed abilities, both beginners and advanced, and covers all aspects of play writing from initial idea pitch to final script. It supports you in developing the writing of a short 10-15 minute play especially for the Jack Studio Theatre.

Some of these pieces will then be selected to be developed for performance in a special ticketed new writing night at the Jack Studio in the Spring of 2013.

We are now opening applications and places are strictly limited.
Therefore places will only be confirmed on receipt of payment by bank transfer.

This years price is £90 for the season. Workshops take place at the Jack Studio Theatre on a Monday evening when the theatre space is available 7.30pm- 9.30pm. (We reserve the right to change the venue or date if this is not possible)

Jack Writers Workshop dates:

October 8th, 29th
November 5th, 26th
December 17th
January 7th, 28th
Plus a final date tbc in February

Please send your email to to register your interest with full name and contact details.
We will send bank details by return of email.

Whilst we cannot accomodate everyone, we hope to keep you on the waiting list and keep you informed of all upcoming opportunities and other workshops at the Jack.

We look forward to hearing from you,

Best wishes

David Bottomley
Literary Manager
Brockley Jack Studio Theatre

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