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Hornchurch playwright hoping to inspire next generation with writing programme

PUBLISHED: 17:46 05 October 2020 | UPDATED: 17:46 05 October 2020

Guleraana Mir is delivering a playwriting programme for 16 to 21-year-olds. Picture: Greg Veit Photography

Guleraana Mir is delivering a playwriting programme for 16 to 21-year-olds. Picture: Greg Veit Photography

Greg Goodale/Greg Veit Photography

A Hornchurch playwright is to lead an online programme for budding writers as she bids to inspire the next generation into the industry.

Guleraana Mir is delivering the National Theatre’s (NT) free course for 16 to 21-year-old aspriring playwrights.

The initiative is aimed at developing practical playwriting skills through writing exercises, games and creative tasks.

Guleraana, an award-winning writer and theatre maker, said she grew up watching shows in the West End and at Queen’s Theatre in Hornchurch.

She took a writing course at the Billet Lane venue in 2006, but it wasn’t until 2012 that she “started to take myself seriously”.

Guleraana added: “I just didn’t believe that anyone was interested in the stories that I wanted to tell, or that there were opportunities out there for me to be able to tell them.

“This is why it’s important to inspire the next generation and let them know that wherever they come from, or whatever their experiences are, their voice is valid.”

Her message to aspiring playwrights in Havering is to read and watch as much theatre as possible.

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“Learn your craft from wherever you can. Write plays and have your friends read them out loud,” she said.

“Reach out to playwrights whose work you admire and ask them for tips. Be brave and apply for opportunities. Network on social media and real life. “But most of all, write regularly and without censoring yourself.”

The NT said it is concentrating recruitment for its Young People’s Programme on three areas - those of colour, from working class backgrounds or who have disabilities.

Guleraana is one half of theatre company The Thelmas, which aims to develop and promote female writers and theatre makers.

She said the NT’s focus on greater diversity in this year’s programme is really significant.

“Theatre is perceived as being for a very specific group of people and that only a certain type of story gets to be told on our stages.

“This simply isn’t fair. Unless we empower young people to take ownership of their stories and give them the skills to make them, nothing will change.

“There are so many untold stories out there and I for one can’t wait to play my part in helping bring them to life.”

Guleraana is also among the writers of Misfits, a play running at Queen’s Theatre from November 12-22.

For more about the NT programme, nationaltheatre.org.uk/content/16-21-writing-theatre.


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