Himmat (Courage) written by Jefny Ashcroft with additional material by Eshmit Kaur. Directed by Eshmit Kaur and Jefny Ashcroft. Performed by a cast of six (see Synopsis for details) on five occasions at Wolverhampton Art Gallery between 26th – 29th October 2019. Supported by Arts Council England and a preview event for Wolverhampton’s Fourth Literature Festival (31st January -2nd February 2020)
A Sheep in Wolf’s Clothing was written and performed by the playwright and her regular directing colleague, Jonathan Collings, in January 2018. It was a short comic piece telling the story of Wolverhampton’s tumultuous history from 910 to 1954 and was commissioned for the Wolverhampton Original Literature Festival (WOLF) in 2018.
Bram and the Guv’nor, May 2017. Third and final of the three plays in the Arts Council-funded series Arts-Friendly Archives. Four performances in the Stratford upon Avon Archives, Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, telling a story inspired by materials in the Bram Stoker Collection which is stored in the archive.
Murchison and the Miners, November 2016. Second of three plays in the Arts Council-funded series Arts-Friendly Archives. Three performances in the Dudley Archives and Local History Centre, telling a story inspired by materials stored in the archive.
Surnamed Africanus: July 2016. First of three plays in the Arts Council-funded series Arts-Friendly Archives. Three site-specific performances in the Molineux Hotel, the Wolverhampton City Archives building, home, in the Georgian period, to the young slave, George Africanus, who is the play’s hero.
In the Land of Glass and Saucepans: June 2016. Ten performances in Stourbridge for both children and families. A short, outdoor comedy, in the Tea Garden, to celebrate Mary Stevens Park’s HLF-funded refurbishment. Two actors played a local couple proud of their respective trades: glass blowing and hollowware.
We all love a paddle and Daisy, Daisy were two plays written to be performed in an Extravaganza to celebrate a HLF-supported renovation of East Park, Wolverhampton. Both drew on the history of the park and its immediate surroundings in the period of its first opening, the 1890s.
We all love a paddle was a play for anyone from five upwards. It told stories of fund-raising for the Lifeboats, and how the park’s lake drained away. It was performed in the paddling pool which is the last remnant of the once extensive lake.
Daisy, Daisy was for older folks, particularly romantics. A thirty minute play, centered on the renovated bandstand, saw Ruby, Lily, Charlie and Bill challenge each other to bike races, and talk about Wolverhampton’s love affair with two wheels when its bike trade rivalled Coventry and Nottingham.
There were repeated performances of both plays throughout the day. The actors also improvised responses to other events at the Extravaganza in pauses between the plays.
How d’you know that? is a short play about the politically explosive events surrounding the 1964 General Election and Malcolm X’s subsequent visit to Smethwick.
Designed for older secondary students and the local community, it was performed in the Smethwick Archives search room from October 8th 2012 as part of Black History Month. It was also filmed and was premièred in March 2013.
Dr Fraser and his amazing fossils is a short play for Key Stage Two pupils, about an energetic Victorian Wolverhampton doctor and his passion for fossils. It was performed by Jonathan Wyatt, a highly-experienced Theatre In Education professional in Wolverhampton Art Gallery during March 2011.
We started it! is a twenty minute play inspired by the origins of Wolverhampton Wanderers F.C in the school team of St Luke’s in Blakenhall, Wolverhampton. Performed with professional direction by a professional cast (and the author). Performances at Wolverhampton primary schools were followed by workshops by the cast in costume and in character. Public performances at Wolverhampton Art Gallery as part of the Heritage Open Day 2010 events, along with a companion exhibition of Wolverhampton Wanderers memorabilia assembled by the author.
Stories in Stone was a partnership in which I have worked with both Wolverhampton Museums and Art Galleries and Telford Culture Zone. Students from two secondary schools in Telford, Ercall Wood Technology College and Madeley Academy, have been looking at the buildings in the neighbourhood of their schools and responding to them.
The project resulted in a short film which was shown along with an exhibition of art work created by the schools. Stories in Stone is also part of a larger project, Engaging Places, which is organised nationally by CABE (the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment). The work I did was part of the national exhibition which ran at Wolverhampton Art Gallery during July 2010 in tandem with a London exhibition in Greenwich.
In July 2010 I learnt that the Stories in Stone project with Madeley Academy had won first prize nationally among the CABE Engaging places projects.
A Matter of Interpretation was one of six short plays written by members of New City Playwrights. These plays, professionally directed and acted with Arts Council funding, were performed as part of the family fun day to mark the opening of the refurbished Victorian Gallery in Wolverhampton Art Gallery on Saturday 27th June 2007, with performances for school visits and general audiences continuing for the following fortnight.
A is for Archives is a play for seven to nine year olds/Key Stage One and George John Scipio Africanus for nine to elevens/ Key Stage Two. 10 to 15 minute plays followed by one hour workshops including from cast in costume/character. They were professionally performed in the Rococo room of the Molineux Hotel, the Home of Wolverhampton Archives, from 29th June to 10th July, 2009, with funding support from the Museums Libraries and Archives Council (MLA).
These plays were a result of a six-month stint I had as Writer in Residence in the Wolverhampton City Archives, at the Molineux Hotel in the first half of 2009.
The donkey and the unicorn performed by the author at the Newhampton Arts Centre on 14th August 2008, and at St Michael’s RC Primary School on August 15th.
Children’s version of The Man from the Works: 15 mins. specially adapted piece, for 9 to 10 year olds to perform script-in-hand. Piloted February 2008. Subsequent performances throughout school year. Bantock House.
The Man from the Works: (30 minute, comedy drama, for 10 to 13 years olds) Site-specific, half-hour, professional production, followed by one hour workshops with cast in costume/character. Arts Council funded. 7th to 15th November 2007. Bantock House.
Civic Pride: (55 minute, one-act drama). Site-specific, promenade piece. Professional production. 1st, 2nd, 3rd November 2007 at Bantock House. Arts Council funded.
Stonehenge Or Bust: (short comedy) Script-in-hand piece with professionals, The Tractor Shed, Bantock House, June 2007.
King Kong: (15 minute, site-specific comedy) Specially created for Wolverhampton Art Gallery, for their Pop-Art wing opening, March/April 2007. Two 16 year-olds react to the Gallery’s King Kong statue.
Pupil Teacher: (60 mins, one-act, Victorian comedy-drama,): professional production, Bantock House, two evenings, November 2006.
The Magpie: (short story for Halloween) Performed by writer for a promenade audience at Bantock House, 31st October 2006.
Sausages: (40 minute, comedy-drama): St. Peters School Theatre, Wolverhampton, June 2003.
Teeth: (short farce): Professionally directed, pro/am cast. Performed at St. Peters School, Wolverhampton, June 2002, then the Arena Theatre, University of Wolverhampton, October 2002.
Have read extracts from (unpublished) comic novel Naturally Ambitious at various venues in Wolverhampton. The first chapter of the novel can be downloaded as a pdf here.
Founder member of Wolverhampton’s New City Playwrights group.