Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing & BA Programme Leader
Department of English, History & Creative Writing
- Main Building, Clough 1
- 01695 650781
I am a playwright and also write on creative writing pedagogy, political theatre and gender & masculinity. I teach script across all three years and teach on the final year Writer’s Workshop amongst other modules. I am also Programme Leader for the BA Creative Writing programmes.
I had a fairly circuitous route to becoming a writer. After attending drama school, I worked in theatre as an electrician, as a stage manager and even in TV in a design department, before deciding that I did really want to be a writer. I enrolled on the MA Creative Writing course at MMU and went on to study for my PhD part time at Lancaster University, exploring the representation of gender, and especially masculinity, through both critical and creative work, through the character type of the loser. Out of this came my first short play, The Loser, which was produced in 2009 by Scenepool at Camden People’s Theatre. My first full length play Joy With Child, for which I was mentored by Charlotte Keatley through North West Playwrights, was produced in Manchester in 2010 by Organised Chaos.
In that same year, I began working with theatre maker Paul Hine on a researched piece of theatre called Project XXX. The play used multi-media to explore the growing acceptance in youth culture of internet pornography; the production was supported by Bolton Octagon Theatre, Lime and Arts Council England and toured the north of England in 2014. Supported by the same partners, I then wrote a different show, The Value Of Nothing, which explored poverty and masculinity, in terms of how young men cope on the welfare system. Both plays were published by Aurora Metro.
I have had many commissions on issue based projects, writing several short films for organisations such as Lime Arts and Lets Go Global, as well as theatre projects such as Polarised in 2004 for Burnley Youth Theatre, which was the first play to explore the race riots of 2001 through young people’s actual stories and was adapted into a film for schools in 2005.
I have worked extensively as a community artist, mostly with Lime Arts, who are based at Manchester Royal Infirmary, on creative projects with young people, such as the cystic fibrosis CF Transitions, the Comic Relief funded project Dr Sober as well as projects with older people, such as the project that culminated in the publication of Victoria Square: The Dwellings. My article exploring the way the CF Transitions project worked as a community arts project for young people was published in UNESCO’s e-journal about Youth Arts in 2011 and an article exploring Project XXX has been published in the Journal for Applied Arts and Health in 2015.
In 2015, Palgrave Macmillan published Writing For Theatre: Creative And Critical Approaches, a book exploring what it means to write for theatre through a series of interviews I conducted with theatre makers from across the UK. This book was great fun to research and write, and I hope students find it useful. I found this process useful for Scenes From The Revolution, a book I co-wrote and co-edited with Billy Cowan which was published in 2018 by Pluto Press and Edge Hill University Press. In 2020, I have a chapter coming out in Creative Writing: Drafting, Revising and Editing which focuses on revising scripts for theatre.
Overall, my main research interests include gender representation, masculinity, feminism, arts and health as well as political theatre making and theatre writing.
Current modules include:
- Wri2018 The Writer’s Life
- Wri2025 The Art of Scriptwriting
- Wri3023 The Art of Screenwriting
- Wri3025 The Writer’s Workshop
- Wri3026 Experiments in Writing
Creative Writing: Drafting, Revising and Editing eds Graeme Harper and Jeri Kroll, Red Globe Press, 2020
Scenes from the Revolution: Making Political Theatre (1968-2018) co-editor with Billy Cowan, London: Pluto Press with Edge Hill University Press, 2018.
The Value of Nothing, Twickenham: Aurora Metro, October 2017
Writing for Theatre: Creative and Critical Approaches, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, December 2015
Project XXX – co-written with Paul Hine, Twickenham: Aurora Metro, January 2014
Research Papers and Conference Presentations
2007: Creative Writing pedagogy at the Great Writing Conference
2007: paper on young masculinities, Men and Madness conference at MMU
2009: paper on changing masculinities, Portsmouth University
2011: paper on the research process of Project XXX at the Pornified Conference, Institute of Education, London
2011: Journal Article on Cystic Fibrosis Transitions project in UNESCO e-journal
2014: Journal article ‘Project XXX: Using multimedia theatre to explore sexual and emotional health issues’ in Journal of Applied Arts and Health, Vol. 6 Number 1, pp. 33-45
2014: Organiser and presenter at Manchester NHS Sexual Health Team’s annual conference, using Project XXX as the central theme