Script Lab 2021 Participants
Meet the Writers taking part in our latest development programme

Introducing the Script Lab class of 2021.

After spending a rewarding month reading and reviewing the hundreds of applications submitted for Script Lab 2021 – thank you to everyone who applied! - we’re excited to announce the 10 creatives selected to take part in our annual Writers development programme.

We’ve already hosted our first session of the programme where we introduced the Lab Writers to each other, and now we’re introducing them to you. The hard work starts in June, when our cohort will learn the fundamentals of screenwriting and start refining their short film ideas. They’ll be ably assisted along the way by our new industry mentors, Paul Fraser and Rebecca Mark-Lawson – who you can read more about in our recent article.

With backgrounds spanning spoken word, stand-up comedy and biomedical science – as well as theatre, film and literature – we can’t wait to see what our Script Lab Writers come up with over the next 5 months. Without further ado, meet the class of 2021.

Jennifer Gallagher

Jen is a Writer/Director from Middlesbrough. In 2019, she worked with BFI NETWORK and Tees Valley Screen to write and direct the microshort Mansplain - The Musical. She was then commissioned by Channel 4 to create two comedy sketches for their online platforms: Ghosted and What If Boobs Were Like Balls?, which was nominated for a Royal Television Society North East & Border Award. Jen’s work focuses on women and uses comedy to explore the female experience from a working class perspective.

Joe Hakim

Joe Hakim lives and works in Hull. He is a writer and spoken word performer, and was a featured poet at the BBC's Contains Strong Language festival in 2017 and 2018. His first novel, The Community is a sci-fi/horror and was published by Wild Pressed Books in 2019. Recent projects include Extra Life, a four-part sci-fi serial with The Broken Orchestra for Freedom Festival 2020, and Whisper, a collaboration with visual artist Anna Bean and The Broken Orchestra for Hull Truck’s Meanwhile Festival.

Elsa Hunter-Weston

Elsa Hunter-Weston is a Writer/Director from the Wirral. Her latest film, Please Introduce Yourself was nominated for Best Experimental Short at the BFI Future Film Festival and screened on BBC iPlayer. Her previous film work has been selected for showcases on Channel 4’s website and at the Belfast Film Festival, and was nominated for a RTS NI Student Award. Elsa is currently working with State of Grace Films as an Assistant Producer. She is delighted to participate in the Script Lab and sees it as a great opportunity to develop her writing.

Humira Imtiaz

Humira is a Producer, Director and Writer, and more recently a digital experimenter using the theatrical lens. Humira has been involved in producing NE Culture Social, a digital open space connecting creatives in the North East, and has also been involved in filmmaking, having worked with My Life Productions as an Associate Producer. Humira currently works as a Creative Associate with Northern Stages’ Young Company and an Administration Assistant with Curious Monkey Theatre Company. 

Sean Linnen

Sean is a Writer/Director from Manchester. He was previously Trainee Artistic Director at Sheffield Theatres and Paines Plough, and Resident Assistant Director at the Donmar Warehouse. He has worked for organisations including Manchester International Festival, Royal Exchange Theatre, Old Vic, English Touring Theatre, The Yard, National Youth Theatre, Nottingham Playhouse, Arcola, Bridge Theatre, Edinburgh International Festival, National Theatre and the Park Avenue Armory in New York. He makes work that centres queer, working class joy.

Hafsah Naib

Hafsah Naib is a visual artist, filmmaker and writer based in Manchester. Originally from a biomedical science and fine art background, Hafsah’s first short film script won a BBC new talent competition. She then went on to direct her first short film project with Creative England’s North West Emerging Filmmakers award in partnership with HOME. She is the founder and director of independent youth filmmaking project Working Class Film School. Hafsah is currently resident artist at Open Eye Gallery in Liverpool and teaches on the Female Documentary Shooters course at the NFTS. 

Nic Owen

Nic is a Gateshead-based Writer. She has been long-listed twice for BBC Writersroom and once for the Bruntwood Prize For Playwriting. She will write and direct her first short film, The Fall Of Hartlepool, this summer. Nic's writing celebrates the unique culture and diversity of the North East with a bias towards showcasing the resilience, humour and warmth of female relationships. Nic is particularly interested in creating authentic work based around her own experiences growing up in a working class home and informed by her observations of over a decade working as an emergency responder on the streets. 

Leo Skilbeck

Leo is a Writer/Director/Creator for stage and screen and the artistic director of Milk Presents. Their work includes Chekhov cabaret The Bear and The Proposal (Young Vic), drag king play Joan (winner of Off West End Award, Fringe First Award), and transmasc odyssey Bullish. Leo's work as Associate Director includes Fun Home (Young Vic) and The Complete Deaths (Spymonkey Comedy/ Tim Crouch). Leo's latest play When We Begin was shortlisted for the Verity Bargate Award 2020 . Leo is currently developing a new queer cabaret show for under 5s with Milk Presents and Derby Theatre, and The Perverts Podcast with She Wants A Dog. 

Mitchell Vernals

Mitchell Vernals is a Writer and Theatre-maker from Sheffield. He is a graduate of MA Writing for Performance and Publication at the University of Leeds and is currently the Stage One Trainee Producer at Leeds Playhouse. In 2017, Mitchell co-founded Pour Another Theatre Company which produced his first play, Smoking Area. He has since contributed to new writing festivals and scratch nights, organised LGBTQ+ arts events, and curated grassroots exhibitions as well as an online zine exploring Sheffield’s socialist history. Mitchell is currently collaborating with a dance artist on a new physical-theatre play exploring queer oppression and resistance.

Louise Young

Louise Young is a comedian from Newcastle upon Tyne. Her stand up has seen her nominated for Best Festival Appearance at Leicester Comedy Festival 2021 and she placed third  after being nominated for Leicester Mercury Comedian of the Year 2020. She has written and acted in a number of online sketches for Channel 4. She also presented a weekly comedy show on BBC Newcastle and received a Gillard Award nomination in 2020 for Best Local Radio Newcomer.