Loading Events
Virtual Event Virtual Event

« All Events

Industry Insider – Theatre in a COVID world

3 December @ 14:00 - 15:00 GMT

Virtual Event Virtual Event

The final event in our inaugural Scriptwriters Week is an industry insider panel discussion on theatre in a COVID world. Join Scriptwriters Group chair David Morley in conversation with Abdul Shayek (Tara Arts), Alastair Whatley (Original Theatre) and Leyla Nazli (Arcola Theatre) as we look to the future of theatre. We will hear how each organisation has responded to the pandemic – adapting from stage to other platforms. 

Was it theatre vs pandemic, or theatre meets pandemic and has a love child? David Morley will be talking to three of the theatre industry’s leading creative figures to understand how Covid changed theatre, if it’s permanent and what its impact is on you, the writer.


This event is part of SWG @ Home, organised by the SoA’s Scriptwriters Group (SWG). It is a week-long celebration of scriptwriters and will include the SWG AGM, afternoon teas and industry insider panel discussion. All events will take place online via Zoom.



  • Welcome, introductions and housekeeping by David Morley, Chair, Scriptwriters Group (5 mins)
  • Panel discussion with Abdul Shayek (Tara Arts), Alastair Whatley (Original Theatre) and Leyla Nazli (Arcola Theatre) (20 mins)
  • Questions from the audience (20 mins)
  • Summary and closing comments from David Morley (5 mins)


What will this session cover? 

  • Have smaller companies reacted more nimbly and how have they been able to compete with the big theatres? 
  • How a different kind of theatrical experience has been received by the audiences.
  • How writers and directors have responded.
  • Have small casts and simple sets worked better on the internet, for example? 
  • What are producers now looking for in a great script. Has that changed? 
  • Is this new world financially viable?
  • The possibility of longer-term changes which have come out of these experiences


Who is this session for? 

This will be of interest to anyone who writes for the theatre, or who has ambitions to do so. It’s also for writers from other media, who want to bring their skills to this exciting new creative environment.


Send us your questions in advance 

If you would like to send questions in advance, email lbrendfish@societyofauthors.org  with ‘Theatre in a COVID World’ in the subject header. We will prioritise questions sent in advance and answer as many questions as we can on the day.


SoA @ Home Fundraising Bookshop

Browse our virtual  Bookshop.org and Blackwell’s stores featuring books by authors and speakers taking part in the SoA @ Home Festival. When you make a purchase using our affiliate links a percentage will go to the Authors’ Contingency Fund, providing hardship grants to authors in financial difficulty.


The Line-Up 


David Morley – producer, dramatist, author and chair of Scriptwriters Group

David Morley is a radio and theatre producer, dramatist and author, who The Stage described as “unrivalled in turning true events into radio dramas”. His plays include A Cold Supper Behind Harrods, recently streamed live from the Oxford Playhouse. His many plays for audio include satirising Boris Johnson and Michael Gove’s relationship post-Brexit , dramatising the last days of the victims of flight MH17 and revealing the real story behind Tony Blair’s WMD dossier.
Website: www.perfectlynormalproductions.com


Leyla Nazli – Executive Producer / Co-Founder, Arcola Theatre

Leyla Nazli co-founded the Arcola Theatre with Mehmet Ergen in 2000 and has been Executive Producer at the theatre since 2004, producing all of the theatre’s in-house productions. She has worked as an adaptor, having translated Kroetz’s The Nest and adapted Gogol’s The Government Inspector for a performance at the Arcola in 2007.

Her latest play, Mare Rider (★★★★ whatsonstage.com, ★★★★ Exeunt) was lauded as ‘a hallucinatory and disturbing revisionist feminist fable for our time’ by The Arts Desk’. On the back of the success of Mare Rider, Nazli had a new play, She’s Yours, commissioned by the Royal Shakespeare Company earlier this year.


Abdul Shayek (Tara Arts)

Abdul Shayek was previously the founding Artistic Director & CEO of Fio, an international theatre company based in Cardiff. He is also a visiting lecturer at the University of East London and has guest lectured at a host of other institutions. As a director and theatre-maker Abdul’s work is rooted in creating innovative participatory experiences, projects, and productions and identifying and developing artists and new audiences. He has worked on TV documentaries, on operas (new and classics) with both ENO and WNO, and staged contemporary classics and adapted novels for theatre.  In his short time leading Tara Arts, he has created an audio walking project in response to the pandemic which will be touring UK festivals, theatres and civic spaces next year and commissioned 12 new monologues with national and international writers. This Autumn he is making a site-specific gig theatre piece as well as creating a VR experience next spring for Bangladesh 50.


Alastair Whatley – Artistic Director (Original Theatre)

Alastair is the Artistic Director of the Original Theatre Company. Having set up the company in 2004 he has subsequently had his work seen on stages (and now screens) all over the world.  Most recently he has become known for his digital work online during lockdown, including productions set in the trenches of the Western Front to a lunar module on the far side of the moon- all made from actors’ homes around the country. His acclaimed production of Sebastian Faulks’s Birdsong was described as one of the cultural highlights of 2020 and was featured and short-listed for this years Southbank Awards. Alastair is the recipient of the Max Cary Award for Innovation presented by the University of London and the Stage One Bursary for Producers. His directing credits include A Splinter of Ice, The Haunting of Alice Bowles, Apollo 13: The Dark Side of the Moon, Dancing at Lughnasa, and The Madness of George III.He has produced over 30 productions in recent years.


About the Scriptwriters Group

The Scriptwriters Group (SWG) is a community of scriptwriters and broadcasters. It represents writers and makers across digital, broadcast, AV and theatre. We support members and associates by providing professional, individual advice, negotiating collective minimum terms agreements with organisations such the BBC, and lobby on policy and legislation to promote the interests and protect the rights of scriptwriters.


Need to know 

Before the event

  • Once registered, you will be sent a confirmation email with the Zoom link
  • If the confirmation email doesn’t arrive in your inbox, please check your junk /spam email folder.
  • Please add events@societyofauthors.org to your Safe Senders list so you receive our confirmation, and reminder emails

During the event

  • This online event will take place on Zoom Webinar; you will not be visible on screen but will be able ask questions via the Q&A function or interact via the chat box
  • This event will be recorded but you won’t be on screen
  • Attendees have the option to turn on the live transcript option
  • This event is 60 minutes.

After the event

  • Hashtag for this event: #SoAatHome
  • You’ll be able to catch the recording on our Vimeo channel



Book your place using the registration form below.

All SoA @ Home industry insider events are free but, if you can afford it, we recommend a minimum £5 donation to the Authors’ Contingency Fund to help us support authors facing financial hardship during the health crisis. DONATE HERE

Accordion Content

Financial support for authors in need through the health crisis and beyond

Since March 2020, the Authors’ Contingency Fund has distributed over £1 million in small grants to authors facing financial hardship due to COVID-19.

With at least 57% of authors facing financial losses during the pandemic, we have helped people struggling financially due to contractual, employment and event cancellations, others who have lost income due to illness, and others prevented from working because of caring responsibilities.

As the health crisis continues, applications for grants continue to come in, and our emergency funds are running low.

So, if you are in a position to help, please donate via the link below. If you are an author facing financial hardship, please click here to see if we can help.



Accordion Content

20% off your first year with discount code SOAFESTIVAL20

The Society of Authors is the UK’s biggest trade union for authors – representing more than 11,300 writers, illustrators, translators and other creative practitioners.

Our standard subscription rate is just £26.25 per quarter (£18.50 for students).

As an SoA member, you’ll get:

  • Access to all our SoA @ Home Festival events for free
  • Unlimited one-to-one professional advice
  • Membership of our online and real-world professional networks
  • A range of member-only discounts, including books, insurance and travel
  • And much more.




We'll send you a Zoom link closer to the time of the event.

15 Going
3 days left to RSVP


3 December
14:00 - 15:00 GMT
Event Category:
Event Tags:
, ,




Sophia A Jackson