Scratch Me - Lab Participants
Northern creatives developing new screen characters

Meet the Writers and Directors taking part in our new talent development lab.

We’re halfway through the Scratch Me online conversation series – sessions with Heather Basten and Francis Lee are still to come! – and are now excited to announce the creatives selected to take part in our intensive talent development lab.

True to Scratch Me’s disruptive spirit, our participants hail from a range of creative backgrounds. Theatre makers, authors, performers and social media storytellers all feature in the inaugural Scratch Me cohort, bringing with them a unique set of experiences to the world of short form filmmaking.

Our Writers and Directors have already been paired up to form filmmaking teams, matched with experienced industry mentors and are well on their way to developing an exciting cast of original screen characters. We've also partnered each team with a Yorkshire-based Producer to help get their projects off the ground - you might recognise some names from our current Creative Producers School cohort!

We'll share more news from Scratch Me as the programme progresses – but, in the meantime, read on to meet our filmmaking teams and join us next week for our final two events.

Sian Armstrong  Writer-Performer

Sian is a performer, writer & theatre-maker. She makes work that is honest, funny, and surprising – often personal, sometimes political, and with a focus on working-class, northern stories. Sian regularly collaborates with other artists and has made work for companies such as Northern Stage, New Writing North, Live Theatre, and Mortal Fools. Influenced by her own experiences and inspired by writers such as Lucy Prebble, Sian is interested in stories about ordinary people who achieve ridiculous, wild and unexpected things.

Steph Leigh – Director

Steph is a writer-director based in Manchester. As one half of a comedy duo, Steph adopts various roles on sketches and creative projects – including producing, writing, directing, performing, editing and scoring. Taking inspiration from the likes of Flight of the Concords, Spaced and Stath Lets Flats, Steph believes that silliness is an artform deserving of more recognition.

Sian and Steph are being mentored by Meghan Cruz and Theresa Varga. They are working with Paige Nielson (Producer).

Yvonne Battle-Felton – Writer

Yvonne Battle-Felton is an American writer living the UK and the author of Remembered. Her writing has been published in literary journals and anthologies. Remembered was longlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction (2019) and shortlisted for the Jhalak Prize (2020). She was commended for children’s writing in the Faber Andlyn BAME (FAB) Prize (2017) and has 3 titles in Penguin Random House’s Ladybird Tales of Superheroes and 3 in the forthcoming Ladybird Tales of Crowns and Thrones. Yvonne has a PhD in Creative Writing from Lancaster University and is Lecturer in Creative Writing and Creative Industries at Sheffield Hallam University.

Nathan Powell  Director

Nathan is a theatre maker, writer and director who has been working in the North West for the last 3 years. He makes work with and for young people as well as with professionals. Earlier this year, Nathan wrote and directed The Spine, which was produced in partnership with 20 Stories High. During lockdown, Nathan directed CHOKKA – an audio play for 20 Stories High youth theatre, written by Luke Barnes and set for release soon. Nathan is interested in telling the stories often unheard in the mainstream; stories about the communities and people he knows and has grown up around that are interesting, important and broadly missing from British media.

Yvonne and Nathan are being mentored by Ivana MacKinnon. They are working with Gabriel Fernández-Gil and Hugh Mann Adamson (Producers).

Harry May-Bedell – Writer-Performer

Harry is a performer and writer based in Leeds. With a background encompassing comedy, dance and design, his current focus is making theatre that blends art-forms to create bold, funny and physical stories with a strong sense of narrative and character. As part of comedy duo You Need Help, he wrote and performed the sell-out show Leeds Needs Help, commissioned for Leeds International Festival. Harry is currently developing The End is Queer – a digital immersive collaboration funded by Arts Council England. As an LGBT+ creator, his work often treads the line between comedy and tragedy while exploring what it means to be human through a colourful, queer lens.

Lily Levin – Director

Lily is a neurodivergent theatre and film director. She is currently completing her first BBC directing job: a one-off short starring actor and disability advocate Melissa Johns. In theatre, Lily is currently working with Johns to develop her autobiographical one woman show about sexuality in the context of disability and growing up with a body difference. Lily believes in making groundbreaking, high quality works which reflect our diverse society rather than simply ticking boxes. Her work seeks to prove that there is no reason why proportionate representation should compromise quality.

Harry and Lily are being mentored by Anna Seifert-Speck and Benjamin Bee. They are working with Steven Atkinson (Producer).

Chris McClure – Writer-Performer

Chris is currently studying to become a qualified Occupational Therapist and has a keen interest in Mental Health. He has previously written and presented documentaries for NME/VICE which focused on the effect of addiction in the music industry. Chirs co-presented The Owl Sanctuary, a football-based podcast with Sheffield artist Pete Mckee. He has successfully been developing his Steve Bracknall character on social media for the past 3 years.

Beth Rowland – Director

Beth is a self-taught director, originally from Stoke-on-Trent but now based in Manchester. Influenced by her time in Stoke as well as the work of Caroline Aherne, Ken Loach and Alan Bennett, Beth is interested in making character-driven films inspired by everyday life. Beth co-runs Pig Media: an independent music video production company and is also developing a short film, Bury the Dogs, with Holly Bryan (Creative Producers School 2019).

Chris and Beth are being mentored by Paul Fraser. They are working with Lewis Coates (Producer).

Melody Sproates – Writer

Melody is a trans / non-binary theatre maker, writer, facilitator and cabaret performer from Newcastle. They make challenging and sometimes daft work to help represent the underrepresented and advocate positive well-being for the LGBTQIA+ community. They have toured theatre shows such as *gender not included, Raising Shame (BRASH) and ReTake ReMake (The Lawnmowers Theatre company). They were recently published in the TransBareAll 10 year anniversary book, were the winner of Live Theatre's New Writing Prize in 2018, and are also 1/2 of the comedy double act, Sowersprouts.

Lea Judge  Director

Lea is a non-binary director with a love of comedy and surrealism. Through their films they aim to find the intersection between humour and humility, focusing on telling emotionally engaging and uplifting stories about LGBTQIA+ identities. Recently they were commissioned by BBC New Creatives, with their film Justin, What Have You Done To Us? later being broadcast on BBC Arts.

Melody and Lea are being mentored by Prano Bailey-Bond. They are working with Sian Carry (Producer).

Scratch Me is a Film Hub North and BFI NETWORK project delivered in partnership with Screen Yorkshire and SIGN (Screen Industries Growth Network).