The word 'Wellspring' appears in white letters on a bright red background

We are seeking London-based disabled, Neurodivergent and D/deaf playwrights and script writers to join Wellspring, a new professional development programme.

We are very excited to have teamed up with some of the most important disabled writers working in theatre today; Cheryl Martin, Sophie Woolley, Alex Bulmer and Vici Wreford-Sinnott, giving not only their skills, but also their experience of how their careers were built.

The programme aims to bring disabled artists centre stage. You don’t have to have written a play before, though you are welcome if you have.

All you need is a passion for the world you live in and a curiosity for what words and stories might be within you.

Applications open on Thursday 24 June and close on Thursday 22 July. 


The programme will be delivered in partnership with Paines Plough, the Bush Theatre and Theatre503, and is funded by City Bridge Trust.


Further information on the Wellspring:

Our new Artistic Director

We are absolutely thrilled to announce that Simon Startin has been appointed as our new Artistic Director!

He will join the Vital Xposure team in early 2021 as we celebrate our 10-year anniversary.

Simon is an acclaimed actor, published playwright, director and activist, who last appeared in The Visit at the National Theatre. He has also performed recently at Shakespeare’s Globe, Arcola Theatre and Birmingham Rep as well as TV roles on BBC, Channel 4 and Paramount.

He has been an Associate Artist of Theatre Royal Stratford East, London Bubble and Graeae; an alumni of the Battersea Arts Centre 21st Century Leadership scheme, China Plate Enhanced Optimists course and a Graduate of the Young Vic Directors Program. He has directed at the Young Vic, Royal Shakespeare Company and Nottingham Playhouse.

As an activist he has worked with many organisations to increase disabled representation on stage and screen.

Our founder and outgoing Artistic Director, Julie McNamara will return to Vital Xposure for White Pariahs: Quiet Rebels, a co-production with Dervish Productions that is co-written and co-directed by McNamara and Hassan Mahamdallie. White Pariahs: Quiet Rebels will tour in 2022.

A red line that matches Vital Xposure's branding, replicating a line from the letter 'X' from the word 'Xposure'


Simon Startin said of his new appointment:

‘I am profoundly excited about taking the helm at Vital Xposure and building on the outstanding work of Julie McNamara.

There has never been a more important time for society to hear the voice of disabled artists, who have been living at the sharp end of human fragility and resilience long before the rest of the world woke up to it.

There is an urgent need for disabled theatre makers to proudly communicate not just the disabled experience but to take that perspective to universally question the times we live in.

Under my leadership, the Vital Xposure commitment to hidden voices and social justice will continue to drive our work, but we will also begin to interrogate what participatory political theatre, led by disabled people, for the benefit of all, can achieve in the 21st century.

There is also still much work to be done in creating community and opportunities for disabled people within the wider theatre sector, and Vital Xposure will be looking to broaden our work with partner organisations to reframe the old narratives and forms that favour one community over another.

We will further our commitment to working with artists of colour and other excluded communities, beginning with our production of White Pariahs: Quiet Rebels.

I look forward, with the Vital Xposure team, to making our theatre spaces a fairer place to gather when we come out of tiers and lockdowns, and to sharing the stories and voices that connect us all.’

Simon Startin, Incoming Artistic Director


Message from Julie McNamara:

‘I am thrilled that Simon has chosen Vital Xposure as his next life adventure.

Simon comes with a wealth of experience in the creative industries and a highly respected body of work both in the mainstream and in Disability-led theatre.

His is a uniquely imaginative voice that will bring fresh energy and ideas to the future direction of this extraordinary company. I am hugely excited and very curious to see what imaginative Disability-led leaps and bounds he will lead the company onto next. Indeed, I look forward with a sense of glee! ‘

Julie McNamara, Outgoing Artistic Director of Vital Xposure


Message from Jonathan Meth, Chair

‘We are delighted that Simon Startin will be the new Artistic Director of Vital Xposure.

Simon brings extensive experience to the role and the board could not have wished for a better appointment to build on the pioneering work of Julie McNamara. We look forward with great excitement to Simon joining us in the New Year.

Where to start with Julie McNamara is almost as hard as where to finish. Julie’s work straddles the length and breadth of the UK and beyond. But her impact is far wider. She uses her voice to speak for all those whose voices are unheard and whose stories are too often untold. That she can talk to anyone, as well as enable others to find their voices, belies the complexity and richness of her creative working processes – as theatre maker, as a disabled artist and as advocate, activist and leader.

In forming and leading Vital Xposure over the past decade Julie has created a company dedicated to the embodiment of these qualities. On behalf of all those involved with Vital Xposure we wish Julie great success with her Australian adventure.”

Jonathan Meth, Chair of Vital Xposure’s Board of Trustees


Click here to download the Press Release in PDF format

A flavour of our future plans: Simon Startin, incoming Artistic Director talks about inclusive theatre on Broadway World

The performing arts are battling for survival at a time when theatre matters more than ever. It’s not only the West End, the annual panto, world-class musicals, dance, opera and Shakespeare – it’s the creative and outreach work happening around the country in our diverse communities, outdoors, in pop-up spaces, at festivals and online.

Theatre tackles contemporary issues head-on. With Black Lives Matter stirring our national consciousness, theatre can play a critical role, inside and outside the sector, in challenging, educating and informing.

Theatre is a national success story, vital to Britain’s economic prosperity. Theatre attracted 34 million visitors last year, employs 300,000, promotes tourism; and generates huge tax revenues, including VAT of £130m in London alone.

Our industry depends on the £1.3 billion of annual ticket sales which has now disappeared, with disastrous effects on companies, employees and freelancers. Even with a 1 metre social distancing rule we could only fill around 25% of our seats – not a financially viable option.

Without immediate and substantial support, theatres and performing arts companies will inevitably close and tens of thousands of artistic careers will be cut short.

We urge readers to lobby Government and parliamentarians and join our fight for the survival of UK theatre.

Dame Margaret Hodge, Chair, Theatre Royal Stratford East
Glenn Earle, Chair, Young Vic
Robert Delamere, Chair, ETT
Ben Monks, Chair, Deafinitely Theatre
Geraldine Brodie, Chair, Actors Touring Company
Dame Joan Ruddock, Chair, The Albany Deptford
Luke Johnson, Chair, Almeida Theatre
Amanda Parker, Chair, artsdepot
Chris Lawrence, Chair, Blue Elephant Theatre
Charles Glanville, Chair, Boundless Theatre
Simon Millson, Chair, British Youth Music Theatre
Simon Johnson, Chair, Bush Theatre
Kate McGrath and Isobel Colchester, Co-Chairs, Camden People’s Theatre
Prue Skene, Chair, Cardboard Citizens
Richard Philipps, Chair, Cheek By Jowl
David Micklem, Chair, Chris Goode and Company
Kim Evans, Chair, Clean Break
Lucy Davies, Chair, Clod Ensemble
Vicki Busfield, Chair, CoDa Dance Company
Benjamin Yeoh, Chair, Coney
Catherine Rowan, Chair, Culture & Libraries Committee, Vision Redbridge Culture & Leisure
Lord Browne of Madingley, Chair, Donmar
Áine Duffy, Chair, Duckie
Dana Kohava Segal, Chair, Emergency Exit Arts
Dr Harry Brunjes, Chair, English National Opera & London Coliseum
Mark Beddy, Chair, English Touring Opera
Mark Hawes, Chair, Frantic Assembly
Sean Egan, Chair, Fuel
Sarah Howard, Chair, Graeae Theatre Company
Kevin Walton, Chair, Green Shoes Arts
Delphine Brand, Chair, Hackney Empire
Dawn Harrison-Wallace, Chair, Half Moon Theatre
David Tyler, Chair, Hampstead Theatre
Donna Munday, Chair, Headlong
Melissa Butcher, Chair, Immediate Theatre
Natasha Freedman, Chair, Improbable Theatre
Dawn Austwick, Chair, Kiln
Bernard Donoghue, Chair, LIFT
Joseph Seelig OBE, Chair, London International Mime Festival
Lisa Burger, Chair, Lyric Hammersmith
Jodi Myers, Chair, Musical Theatre Network
Sir Damon Buffini, Chair, National Theatre
Charlotte Mooney, Ockham’s Razor
Lisa Mead, Chair, Oily Cart
Nick Clarry, Chair, The Old Vic
Charlie Thompson, Chair, Out of Joint
Kim Grant, Chair, Paines Plough
Sarah King, Chair, Polka Theatre for Children
James Freedman, Chair, Punchdrunk
Simon Turner, Chair, The Roundhouse
Anthony Burton CBE, Chair, The Royal Court Theatre
Lady Heywood, acting Chair, Royal Opera House
Nigel Higgins, Chair, Sadler’s Wells
Dr Margaret Casely-Hayford CBE, Chair, Shakespeare’s Globe
Heather Rabbatts, Chair, Soho Theatre
Michelle Smith, Chair, Spare Tyre
Robin Saphra, Chair, Stagetext
Georgina Philippou, Chair, Stratford Arts Trust
Karen West-Whylie, Chair, Studio 3 Arts
Deepa Patel, Chair, Tamasha Theatre Company
Sunita Pandya, Chair, Tara Arts
Gareth Hughes, Chair, Theatre Centre
Sioban Whitney Low, Chair, Theatre Peckham
Elizabeth Lynch MBE, Chair, Theatre-Rites
Sophie Scott, Chair, Told by an Idiot
John Langley, Chair, Unicorn Theatre
Jonathan Meth, Chair, Vital Xposure
Nick Starr CBE, Chair, Yard Theatre, Hackney Wick
Wai Mun Yoon, Chair, Yellow Earth Theatre Company


The Chairs’ letter was originally shared by Theatre Royal Stratford East on 24th June 2020.

Vital Xposure presents

The Disappearance of Dorothy Lawrence
A new play by award-winning theatre artist Julie McNamara directed by Paulette Randall MBE explores the remarkable stories of the silenced First World War correspondent Dorothy Lawrence

UK tour September – October 2015
London, Wolverhampton, Ipswich, Salisbury, South Shields

It’s 1915. England is at war. Journalist Dorothy Lawrence aims to become War Correspondent, cycles to the frontline in France never to be seen in public again. ​

Vital Xposure interrogates the ways society deals with women who step out of line, back in 1915 or 100 years on when a Punk Prayer is screamed out in an orthodox cathedral.

A cast of four with integrated stage text and audio-visual elements leads the audience back in time to explore themes of inequality and power that still resonate today.

VITAL XPOSURE is a bold, dynamic, disability-led production company operating under the creative leadership of Julie McNamara, who has just completed a 19-month tour of her latest show Let Me Stay. Vital Xposure promotes hidden voices with extraordinary stories to tell. The company creates exciting, innovative theatrical experiences for audiences, artists and communities alike. All our work is inclusive and BSL integrated.

Vital Xposure is part of Arts Council England’s National Portfolio.