We are pleased to announce the writers selected for the inaugural Belfast Voices development groups for Comedy and Drama. Sixteen writers were selected from the best emerging talent in Northern Ireland, with the majority of writers coming from a theatre background.


As part of our overall strategy to help nurture local talent, this programme will help some of our most innovative and exciting voices from theatre bridge the gap to writing for television and radio.


Over the next six months these writers will participate in workshops and training on writing for digital, radio and TV, as well as receive support with writing their first television spec script from Keith Martin and Vanessa Haynes.


Vanessa has working in script development for some of the most influential production companies in the UK including Kudos Film and TV, Baby Cow Productions, CPL (formerly Celador) and Talkback Thames. She has developed, produced and edited projects for the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Comedy Central, BBC NI, TG4 and CBBC.


Our Belfast Voices are:

Comedy Group:


Seamus Collins

Seamus' play Away with the Fairies was staged as part of the Lyric Theatre's New Playwrights Programme in October 2017 and then in New York at the 1st Irish Festival in January 2018. He is currently attached to The Lyric as part of Fishamble's 'A Play for Ireland' scheme. At the end of May 2018, his bilingual play Monsieur Somebody was performed in Paris by Theatraverse. It also travelled to the Edinburgh Fringe this summer. He previously worked with the BBC on the Writersroom 10 scheme.


Patrick Dunlea

Patrick has contributed to BBC online comedy and had work performed at the Belfast Media Festival, Brian Friel Theatre (Belfast), Soho Theatre (London), Lost Theatre (London) and Brixton Market (London). His play The Dinner Party was selected to represent Northern Ireland at the 2018 View From Here Festival at Theatre 503 London. He is a graduate of writing programmes at Queen’s University Belfast and Goldsmiths College London.


Mary Flanigan

Mary Flanigan is a stand-up comedian and writer. Her comedy short Worst Halloween Ever was part of the Writersroom’s Fright Shorts series which was released on BBC iPlayer. Her work also featured in the Digital Cities Comedy Showcase at the Belfast Media Festival 2017.

Mary has performed across the UK and Ireland, including supporting Colin Murphy on tour and appearances in the Belfast Comedy Festival, the Vodafone Comedy Festival and the Edinburgh Fringe with her show Mary Flanigan is a Pisces, Obviously.

Mary was a semi-finalist in the Funny Women 2016 competition. She has performed and written for BBC Radio Ulster and is also a regular contributor to BBC NI Digital Tight Shorts.


Oisin Kearney

Oisín's background is in the study of Politics, and in directing documentaries and plays. Oisín adapted Willy Russell's Educating Rita for the Lyric stage in Belfast, and worked as writer on a community outreach project with Prime Cut Producitons. He co-wrote My Left Nut which has just completed its Irish tour and was performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2018. Oisín has begun his second play with writing partner Michael Patrick, as part of the 'A Play For Ireland' programme run by Fishamble: The New Play Company.


Dave Kinghan

Dave Kinghan has written for screen and stage. His work includes Costume Drama, one of six Fright Shorts that were available on BBC iPlayer in 2017; Gordon Osràm’s Funeral, an immersive theatre piece performed in Belfast and Dublin in 2016; DEATH (on a shoestring), a musical comedy performed at the Belfast Festival at Queen’s in 2012; and episodes of Joe & Jack, an animated series for pre-schoolers which was broadcast in Ireland, the UK and internationally.


Matthew McDevitt

Matthew Mc Devitt is the creator of Let's Get Quizzical, a comedy gameshow which performed at the 2016  Edinburgh "Heroes of the Fringe" Festival and Belfast Comedy Festival 2016 and 2017. He has contributed to the hit Northern Irish comedy Soft Border Patrol and his radio comedy Lock In, starring Conleth Hill, pilots this August on Radio Ulster.


Susannah McKenna

After graduating from Queen’s University Belfast with an MA in Creative Writing, Susannah wrote her first play The Wanderer From Drumagurn as part of Tinderbox Theatre Company’s Fireworks Young Writer’s Programme, as well as writing several Outreach projects. She won a commission from Aisling Ghéar Theatre Company for one woman play Alice Milligan – A Girl of Genius which toured New York as part of CualaNYC (NYC’s Irish Cultural Festival) before touring Ireland. Her two person sketch show That’s You Now If You Wanna Take Your Wee Card Out was first performed at the Belfast Comedy Festival 2016 and then a full run at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2017. Sketches from the show were also commissioned for BBC NI’s Late Licence series 2 by Moondog Productions. Susannah wrote the character of Penny for BBC NI’s Soft Border Patrol, who appeared in every episode of series 1.


Andrew Parkhill

Andrew has written for Soft Border Patrol, Future News and The Ten Commandments on BBCNI, and wrote and directed the short films Friggers and the award-winning I'll Be Here All Night. His sitcom scripts West Haven and Chieftains were finalists in the Laughing Stock and Craic Off competitions, and his feature script Choirmaster was a finalist in the 2017 PAGE Awards. He works as a subtitler in Belfast.


Michael Patrick

Michael is a writer and actor from Belfast. My Left Nut, a play he co-wrote with Oisín Kearney was nominated for the best show under one hour at the Dublin Fringe 2017, toured to sellout audiences throughout Ireland and was presented at The Edinburgh Fringe 2018. Michael is currently writing his next play with Oisín through Fishamble's ‘A Play for Ireland’ scheme, in conjunction with the Lyric Theatre Belfast.

Acting credits include theatre work with The Abbey Theatre, The Lyric Theatre, Tinderbox, Bruiser, radio work with The BBC and Roundhouse Radio, and film/tv with HBO, BBC, RTÉ, and Zephyr Films.


Drama Group:


Jonathan Bailie

Jonathan is a playwright and screenwriter. In 2014 he was invited to attend the Stewart Parker Trust residential for emerging playwrights at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre. His plays include All There Is (most recently performed at the MNIN Theatre in Athens, Greece), Butterflies, The Electrical Storm, Whitewash, and Cunning Folk. He was also one of the writers involved in What We’re Made Of, produced by Tinderbox Theatre Company.

His short film work includes Quiet (due for release later this year, and supported by Northern Ireland Screen), and Grey Skies, produced by The Playhouse as an educational tool to warn young people about the impact of crime. He also wrote the concept and script for the music video The Few And Far Between by upcoming band PORTS.


Emily DeDakis

Originally from the Southeast United States, Emily is now a Belfast-based writer and dramaturg. Her work has been broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and Syndey’s 2SER, printed in Dead Housekeeping, The Vacuum, The Yellow Nib, and Ulster Tatler, and nominated for a 2017 Pushcart Prize.

In 2012, she collaborated with drummer David Lyttle & pianist Conor Scullion on an improvised musical reading called Voicetown. In 2016, she wrote and performed musical essay F R E A K Floods with harpist Úna Monaghan.

Her current projects include 47¢ (a collection of flash fiction forthcoming from Whittrick Press), stage play Shipwrecks & Lighthouses, and Piñatas (a PechaKucha), as well as Stowaway City, a soundwalk, as part of the MAC’s Hatch programme.


Ewen Glass

Ewen is a screenwriter from Ballymoney. He has worked as a storyliner on Hollyoaks and written A Sign of Things for RTE Storyland, for which he was nominated for debut writer at Edinburgh TV Festival’s Debbie Awards. Living with the Dempseys, a drama pilot he co-created and co-wrote, which is in development with BBC NI.


Sarah Gordon

Sarah is an artist and writer from Belfast. Her first play A Sinkhole in Guatemala, premiered at Dublin Fringe 2016 (nominated Best Performer, shortlisted for the Stewart Parker Award). She graduated from Dublin’s NCAD in 2011 and has been working in Lighting for Film and Theatre since 2013. She is a REVEAL artist with theatre company Prime Cut Productions (2016-18). She overthinks text messages and panics about emails after she has sent them. She is also currently co-writing and directing, Billy, a new play premiering at this year’s Dublin Fringe Festival.


Fionnuala Kennedy

Fionnuala is a writer and theatre-maker from Belfast. Her first play Hostel, toured for six years and is based on Fionnuala’s own experiences, examining sensitive issues around homelessness and human rights. Entitled, which Fionnuala both wrote and directed for Macha Productions, looked at the impact and inequality of welfare cuts. While Hatchet explored racism and homophobia in Belfast, told by a black Belfast teenager. Her credits also include Closer, a multi-sensory show for young PMLD audiences, Hatch which was part of Accidental Theatre’s ‘Fast & Loose’ Programme, The Glass Bell as part of the Pic N Mix Festival in Belfast.

Fionnuala is currently under commission with Prime Cut Productions creating a play about young people in the care system in Northern Ireland.


Alice Malseed

Alice Malseed is a writer, theatre maker and boxer from Belfast. Alice studied at Goldsmiths, graduating with a BA Hons in Drama and Theatre Arts and then returning to study MA Applied Theatre, completing this in 2011.

Her first play, Jellyfish premiered at Tiger Dublin Fringe 2015 and toured to UK including sell out audiences at High Tide Festival. It made it to the final 20 out of over 900 in Verity Bargate Award 2015 and allowed her to win the Fringe Wild Card Award in Dublin. Her second work it's getting harder and harder for me premiered at Dublin Fringe 2017 in Smock Alley Theatre, playing to sell out audiences and receiving great critical acclaim.

Alice is currently on the New Playwrights Programme at Lyric Theatre, Belfast.


Dominic Montague

Dominic is a playwright and theatre-maker working across both stage and site-specific theatre. His recent theatre writing credits include Deporting Patrick (Kabosh, 2016), Catching Up (Accidental Theatre, 2016), If Walls Could Speak (Kabosh 2016) and Quartered: Belfast, A Love Story (Kabosh and Outburst Queer Arts Festival, 2017). Most recently his comedy monologue Ghosted was filmed and produced by the BBC Writersroom and The Biggest Weekend, and featured as part of the The Biggest Weekend’s Fringe programme 2018. 



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