A local writer, theatre-maker and performer has been announced as the first ever Birmingham Writer in Residence in a bid to increase Midlands voices on air and on the stage.
In a new initiative by BBC Birmingham, BBC Writersroom and Birmingham Repertory Theatre, award-winning writer Caroline Horton has secured the opportunity to work for six months across three popular national radio and TV dramas, all produced in the city. These include BBC Radio 4’s The Archers and Home Front, and BBC One’s Doctors. Caroline will also join The REP as Writer on Attachment.
Speaking of her appointment as the first Birmingham Writer in Residence, Caroline said: ‘I was really surprised to be selected and feel so lucky to have this opportunity. I’m looking forward to the huge variety of work I’ll be exposed to and working alongside the brilliant teams at BBC Birmingham and Birmingham Rep.’
Over the years Caroline has won awards for plays that she has not only performed in but also written. She is also an associate artist at Birmingham Repertory Theatre where she mentors young theatre makers and is a regular workshop leader.
Joe Godwin, Director of BBC Birmingham, said: ‘We’re pleased to have Caroline on board as the first ever Birmingham Writer in Residence. Caroline is an award winning Birmingham writer who has already had two radio plays produced for BBC Radio.
‘Caroline will spend six months observing and working alongside the wonderful teams at the BBC Drama Village, Archers and Home Front. This is an incredible opportunity for her to see into all our practices and build up some invaluable skills.
‘Supported by the BBC Writersroom, Caroline will help us to champion local voices inside the BBC, and help to increase Midlands voices on air, as well as on stage at one of the UK’s leading regional theatres.”
Tessa Walker, Associate Director at Birmingham Repertory Theatre, said: ‘We are delighted that Caroline will be the very first BBC Birmingham and Birmingham Repertory Theatre Writer in Residence. We had a huge number of applicants who shared work of an incredibly high standard which speaks volumes about the breadth of writing talent here in Birmingham.
‘The panel were all incredibly impressed with Caroline, with the imagination and ambition of her writing and her commitment to reflecting the city of Birmingham in her work. We are very excited about working with Caroline on this inaugural residency; for the stories she will tell with us and the different forms she will explore.”
The Birmingham Writer in Residence is a collaboration between three of the key cultural producers in the city - BBC Radio Drama, BBC Television Drama and Birmingham Repertory Theatre.
Sir Lenny Henry, patron of the Birmingham Writer in Residence initiative, said: ‘We need to hear more Midlands voices on TV, radio and on stage. The Birmingham Writer in Residence is an excellent step to make this happen and is a clear sign that the BBC and Birmingham Repertory Theatre value regional voices and are prepared to invest in their future. Its enduring success will just take like-minded people who are keen to collaborate and co-operate across different programmes, channels and productions.’