My name's Emma Rogerson, and I'm a 20 year old emerging writer from Preston, Lancashire, currently based in Bristol. Theatre, in some capacity, has been part of my life for as long as I can remember, either as an actor, producer, director or overly enthusiastic audience member. Seven years ago, I wrote and directed some of my best friends in my first play, and fell in love with playwriting as a craft. This led to a constant cycle of anxious first read throughs, rehearsal rooms full of laughter, early mornings of crippling post show blues and an incurable ache to do it all again. Since then, I’ve written a lot, collaborated with/met some incredible creatives along the way and have prioritised theatre above pretty much everything else (“I can’t sorry - I’ve got rehearsal!”)
I’ve never looked back.
I love writing for performance, and I'm lucky enough to have participated on some incredible development residencies / writers schemes - being selected for a short residency with The Northwall Theatre in Oxford for emerging theatre makers and being mentored by Mike Ackers on The Tobacco Factory Writers Scheme in Bristol were particularly formative and helpful in finding my voice. I've also been recognised in competitions (humble brag alert!), including winning the Julian Battersby Drama Award for playwrights under the age of 30 and being shortlisted for the Walter Swan Playwriting Award. My plays have been performed as full productions or rehearsed readings all over the country, in Cheshire, Oxford, Bristol, Edinburgh, London and Manchester.
As a writer, I'm primarily interested in a few things. The first is experimentalism - a lot of my work is experimental in form, language or notation, particularly the plays I have written for larger casts and ensembles. I'm heavily influenced by poetry and music and as a result of this, a lot of the dialogue and chorus work that I write for ensembles is very lyrical. The second is relevance - I really strive to explore important themes that matter to people, and in the past I’ve written about societal issues such as mental health, class division, feminism, relationship dynamics and technology. The breadth of such an aim means that I can write about a really wide spectrum of topics while maintaining a very specific focus: essentially, to make theatre that has a positive impact on the world. Recently, I’ve started to realise how regional my voice is as a writer, and how integral issues like class division are, not only to my personal priorities as an individual playwright, but also to theatre as a whole industry. I’m becoming increasingly aware of how many communities in England are marginalised and under represented in theatre and the arts, and as a result, I aspire to make my plays and the projects I am involved with as accessible and unpretentious as possible (an aim that is sometimes easier to put into words than practise).
I’m constantly inspired and influenced by all kinds of arts. In terms of contemporary theatre makers, I’m really inspired by Sarah Kane’s lyricism and experimentalism, and I find Anna Jordan’s characters and humour naturally relatable. But I also love the classics - renaissance drama in particular. I adore Leonard Cohen, Carole King and Morrissey’s lyrics, but I also really like the Gavin and Stacey soundtrack. I’m open minded, and I think there is a lot of merit in exploring and analysing a lot of different styles, and I like to think this breadth is reflected in my own writing too.
Currently, I'm really excited to be one of the writers that has been selected to work on The Secondary Partnership Scheme with the Oldham Coliseum Theatre as an emerging writer. As part of this, I’ve been commissioned to create a 15 minute piece, with development support from the Oldham, which will be performed by high school pupils in Manchester in March. I've also recently been commissioned by Artstrain to create a short film about gentrification, which will be released in January 2019. I'm also currently studying for a degree in English at the University of Bristol, and I’m the new writing rep on the committee of their drama society for the next academic year.
I'm always interested in hearing about new projects / collaborating / supporting new writers, so please get in touch with me if you want to connect or find out more about my writing.