A series of short films shining a light on disabled, d/Deaf and Neurodivergent playwrights

Beacon is a series of short films shining a light on disabled, d/Deaf and Neurodivergent Writers who share their experiences of the sector, talk about the importance of writing for theatre and what it means to them, and what they wish our theatres could do to truly change the under-representation of disabled playwrights in the industry.

A provocation to think differently and to continue the dialogue with new and existing voices in writing. How can we sustain theatre if we don’t actively nurture artists that make it happen? When we do not have all the answers, let’s not be afraid to ask.

In early 2023 we invited disabled Writers from our Wellspring 2021-2022 cohort to tackle these questions together and gauge what solutions could look like.

We share their ideas and provocations, through the Beacon films: four films profiling each Writer and a curated group discussion with Robbie Curran, Fatima Serghini, Gabriella MacPherson and Victoria Taylor Roberts, a total of five short films.

With thanks to Alex Bulmer, actor, director and playwright for interviewing each Writer, and Deirdre McLaughlin, director and dramaturg, for steering the discussion with the Writers. Many thanks to Gursen Houssein for filming and editing the short films.

The Beacon films are produced by Vital Xposure Ltd and funded by The Harold Hyam Wingate Foundation and Didymus CIO.

Let the dialogue continue…

We would love to know what you think about the shorts films. You can fill out a short survey (click here to access the survey), get in touch with the team or connect with us and the playwrights via social media.


As an emerging Writer, there are no avenues for me. And that’s really when they shouldn’t pick us up but we’ve learned a bit about craft, when we’re not beginners anymore. We’ve actually developed our skill.

Victoria Taylor Roberts

Just having an open dialogue about things at all stages, wherever possible. I think that would be great not just for new writing but for d/Deaf, disabled and Neurodivergent. Writers too. Yes, it may take extra time and care but you will get amazing plays that you didn’t see coming!

Robbie Curran

What I would need from theatres to do my work is a buy-in full blown commitment and confidence that we’re in it together. That I won’t be the token brown girl, Muslim girl Neurodivergent girl, that there’s a real commitment in the work and the purpose that works.”

Fatima Serghini

Lots of writers could be supported with transparency around how to build relationships with theatres, and the best way and the most efficient way and the most celebrated way to do that and that everyone involved feels really good about.

Gabrielle MacPherson

Artists learn from other artists. So the more disabled artists are we stage, work or platform, the more of us will come out of the woodwork.

Fatima Serghini

I want to see more parity, in the stories. I need to be allowed to put something controversial on that stage and have people absorb it and disagree with it, or agree with it.

Victoria Taylor Roberts

I would like to see plays about working class people that are hopeful. I would like to see plays about disabled people that are hopeful and it’s not just about those identifying factors. It’s about life and about who they are as individuals but amplifying those voices.

Gabrielle MacPherson

We need to look at funding.

Writers are not producers.

Victoria Taylor Roberts

To help create a welcoming environments of writers, I would suggest to anyone from any department to ask everyone their access requirements from the start, whether they are disabled or non-disabled.

Robbie Curran

Playwrights profiles

Four Wellspring 2021-2022 Writers talk about their work, why writing for theatre is important to them, the stories and kind of plays they wish to see on stage, the support they would like the sector to provide and a wish – or two – for a change they would like to make in theatre.

Robbie Curran

Robbie Curran is a neurodivergent actor and writer, and was the first autistic performer to graduate from the Oxford School of Drama. He is perhaps best known for co-starring with Greg Davies in BBC’s The Cleaner: A Clean Christmas, for which he was also part of the writing team. He is currently working on ‘Doctors’ as a writer, and was recently part of a writersroom with Lighthouse Film for an upcoming Sky drama by Cat Jones.  As an actor, Robbie’s credits stretch across the UK, including projects with Soho Theatre, Nottingham Playhouse, Selladoor, Wildcard, Studio Hamburg UK and the BBC.

Follow Robbie on Twitter.

Gabrielle MacPherson

A writer and performer proudly from The North TM. She is especially excited by form bending stories exploring class and disability with lots of heart and humour. Her debut one woman show Outside, The Pleasance, The Space, The Rosemary Branch was nominated for an OnComm Offie during 2021. Gabrielle is a founding member of Degenerate Fox Theatre Company, their show The Dirty Thirty is a valiant attempt to perform 30 plays in 1 hour, ever changing and all written by the company.

Follow Gabrielle on Instagram.

Fatima Serghini

Fatima Serghini, born and raised in London, is an emerging playwright and dramaturg. She trained as a Dramaturg at Stockroom (Theatre’s Writers Room) and in Television Writing at The National Film & Television School. Fatima has worked in writers’ rooms on Netflix Shows and other television projects while also a script reader for Theatre 503. In 2021 Fatima was selected to join VAULT New Playwrights and chosen by UKScreenSkills for television writing mentorship with the scriptwriter and Director of the Writers’ Guild, Lisa Holdsworth. Credits include: War & Women (Southwark Playhouse), Blaccine (Pitlochry Festival Theatre), and Vaults New Playwrights Showcase (Pleasance Theatre).

Follow Fatima on Twitter and on Instagram.

Victoria Taylor Roberts

Victoria is a winner of the EDALYA 3rd Annual International Youth Theatre Playwright Award in 2019 and the Kenneth Branagh Drama Writing Award in 2015. Her short drama, Mary in the Mirror, premiered at the BFI in 2019. Victoria’s directorial debut, The RAFTAs, shortlisted for the Funny Women UK 2018 Short Film Awards and her 2nd film, The Cookie Cutters, enjoyed success on the world festival circuit, becoming a FINALIST of the 2020 OAXACA International Film Festival.

Following a writer-on-attachment scheme at the Oxford Playhouse, in association with Vital Xposure, Victoria completed the stage play, MERRINEUM, mentored by former Hampstead Theatre’s Literary Manager, Davina Moss.

Follow Victoria on Twitter and on Instagram.

Playwrights in conversation

Part one: What do you think of the term emerging artist?

Part two: What barriers have you encountered? What do access solutions look like?

Part three: What can theatres do to help create a welcoming environment for writers now?

Captioned and BSL interpreted. BSL Interpreter: Sumayya Si-Tayeb.

Captioned and BSL interpreted. BSL Interpreter: Sumayya Si-Tayeb.


The Beacon film series is supported with funding from The Harold Hyam Wingate Foundation and Didymus CIO.

Alex Bulmer

Named one of the most influential disabled artists by UK’s Power Magazine, Alex has over thirty professional years’ experience across theatre, film, radio and education. She is fuelled by a curiosity of the improbable, dedicated to collaborative practice, and deeply informed by her experience of becoming blind. She is activated by obstacles, well exposed to the absurd, and embraces the disciplines of generosity, listening, and uncertainty within her artistic and personal life.

Her work has been produced with The Royal Court Theatre, Graeae Theatre, London 2012 Olympics, Polka Theatre, Nightwood Theatre , BBC radio, Channel 4 and more.

Alex is co-founder of The Fire and Rescue Team, former artistic director of Common Boots Theatre, and is lead curator of CoMotionFestival 2022 with Harbourfront Centre.
She established the New Writing department with Graeae Theatre in the UK, is writer of award-winning BBC radio drama, writer of the Dora and Chalmers nominated SMUDGE, , and co-writer of the BAFTA-nominated television series Cast Offs.

Her interdependent practice infuses blindness and seeing into the arts.

Deirdre McLaughlin

A multi-award-winning London-based director and dramaturg who combines her work as an artist and facilitator to develop socially engaged new work that explores creative approaches to integrating access. Deirdre is a recipient of the Writer’s Guild’s Olwen Wymark Theatre Encouragement Award and the Genesis Foundation Future Directors Award.

Her professional industry credits include Shakespeare’s Globe, National Theatre Studio, Old Vic Labs, Theatre Royal Haymarket, SPILL Festival, Arts Admin & Toynbee Studios, Tempting Failure, Unlimited, artsdepot, Camden People’s Theatre, Theatre Utopia, Orphee Productions, The Place, Stratford Circus, Battersea Arts Centre, Finborough Theatre, The Pleasance (Islington, Edinburgh), Dance City (Newcastle), Unity Theatre (Liverpool),Cambridge Junction, Panic Lab, The Yard, Hackney Showroom, Hackney Studios, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Pittsburgh Playhouse, Pittsburgh Irish & Classical Theatre, Quantum Theatre, Powerhouse Theatre and New York Stage & Film , and award-winning productions at Edinburgh Fringe (World Fringe Alliance Award 2018), Adelaide Fringe (Best Cabaret Weekly, Overall Innovation Award 2017) and Vault Festival (Origins Award 2018). Deirdre is a former Associate Artist (Community Outreach) for Stockroom and is a regular Visiting Lecturer at The Royal Central School of Speech of Speech & Drama.

Further information

You can find out more about Wellspring 2021-2022, the Writers’ Blog and the event showcasing work from the first cohort of participants.

For information about Wellspring 2023 – 2024, visit the programme’s page.