I’m Simon Marshall, a playwright, writing facilitator and dramaturg from Derbyshire, living in Sheffield. As Associate Artist of Derby Theatre, I have been proud to develop my working practice in my home city, and be a part of initiatives in Derbyshire and South Yorkshire enabling disadvantaged people to explore their creativity. My writing and facilitating practice seeks to empower rural and marginalised narratives and LGBTQ+ individuals, and has been informed by collaborating with charities, care-experienced groups and communities local to me.
My playwrighting practice blends a strong Midlands heart with a continued exploration of sexuality, belonging & ambition. I tend to write comedy-dramas, with an onus on realistic dialogue and unpicking relationships.
Recent work includes:
BONFIRE, November 2023, Production, Participation Programme & Tour
The 2023 production and participation programme has been made possible through support from Arts Council England, Derby Theatre, Sheffield Theatres, Nonsuch Studios and Derby City Council, with additional support from Derbyshire LGBT+, New Perspectives Theatre Company, Boundless Theatre, the ReCreate Agency and In Good Companny.
We have showings in Derby, Sheffield and Nottingham;
Friday 10th and Saturday 11th November 8pm at Derby Theatre Studio.
Wednesday 15th and Thursday 16th November 8pm at Sheffield Theatres Playhouse.
Thursday 23rd and Friday 24th November at 7.30pm at Nonsuch Studios, Nottingham.
The Fossil Kids, June 2023 Sheffield Theatres' Tanya Moiseiwitsch Playhouse. A new comedy-drama written with Sheffield Theatres' Young Company.
'So we were all packed off here. The 4 of us.
Like Narnia but we were all wearing GAP, and there was nothing worth finding in the wardrobes, trust.'
4 siblings raised by their Grandfather suddenly find themselves in charge of his legacy.
No family's perfect, but The Fossil Kids have history.
A new play about growing up, showing up and learning to be there for those who need you.
Main Character Energy (Queer Folio 2023 Commission, Theatre Deli Sheffield, May 2023)
Follows Sebastian from 'The Tempest' reimagined to a present-day megayacht, in the pursuit of personal gain.
The piece is part stand-up comedy, part monologue, performed by Curtis Dunn and directed by Alice Fitzgerald (Purple Snowflakes and Tittywanks, Stage Debut Awards Best Director Nominee 2022). It has been researched and developed over 3 days with support from Theatre Deli, Sheffield and Sheffield Theatres. Queer Folio is a nationwide initiative reconnecting Shakespeare's plays with their queerness.
In Defence of Adventurous Mothers [In Development, showcased at the North Wall Arts Centre, Oxford during Catalyst, April 2023]
A comedy drama exploring the lengths a brother and sister will go to hold onto love as they grow up and apart, and our duty to family, but also to ourselves, to find our own extraordinary.
It is a fictional portrayal of a climbing dynasty of a Derbyshire family, with Theo and Nancy telling their story together, over each other, around each other, with movement and object manipulation, as well as within their storytelling.
Bonfire (R&D and Work In Progress, 2019-2022)
[directed by Alice Fitzgerald, starring Oliver McLellan, choregraphed by Robia Milliner]
'Honest, brave and acutely written work from Simon Marshall, often sharply funny too, with a terrific performance from Ollie McLellan. It should get further life' - Lyn Gardner on Bonfire [Work In Progress]
‘Bonfire’ is a tragicomic monologue-play exploring bodies, identity & the experience of a young queer digital native left to it alone in the wilderness.
It was shared at Departure Lounge 2022, following support from Derby Theatre, Boundless Theatre, The ReCreate Agency & New Diorama Theatre. In its future life we hope it to reach studio theatres, rural communities & Fringe audiences.
The piece was the recipient of the IGC Artist Support Fund 2019, with an R&D supported by Arts Council England, Déda & Derbyshire LGBT+, presented as a sharing (Déda, Autumn 2019) with consultations for Derbyshire LGBT+ Youth Services groups in Chesterfield & Derby.
a new audio play inspired and dramaturged by care-experienced young people and lgbtq+ young people in Derbyshire. It follows 2 queer young people from Derbyshire, exploring young love, sense of self and making somewhere home.
Saving Mel Spencer:
A short audio drama exploring how a nightmare causes chaos between a gay couple on a farm in rural Derbyshire. Commissioned by Podium.me.
Come To Where I Am Derby: Beau Repaire: (Online, June 2020)
A monologue-poem recounting a journey through Belper and the way we keep inhabiting our past, commissioned by Paines Plough in partnership with Derby Theatre. Video
Island Nation – (The Space London, October 2018),
A short duologue exploring grief, sense of home and ASMR for Little Pieces of Gold.
Wading (Create Theatre Mansfield 2018, developed with Vision West Nottinghamshire College)
[longlisted for Royal Court’s Lynne Gagliano Award 2019]
A full-length dystopian comedy-drama set in a future Nottinghamshire, where sea levels have risen 13 metres, and society is split between those building the future and preserving the past.
Holly And/Or Ivy (Arcola Theatre November 2017 & Bread and Roses Theatre for The Platform January 2018)
Brave Face, (rehearsed readings, Mountview Academy 2017 & Place Theatre Bedford 2018)
Zips, From Devon With Love festival (Exeter Bikeshed 2017)
Community Engagement Officer for Sheffield Theatres, building relationships with communities across the city as legacy of 'Together In The City', to maintain access to theatre and creative opportunity. Lead Producer of the 'Together Too' Festival 2023, reaching 4000+ individuals in Sheffield with free creative workshops, performances, installations and activity.
[Part-Time] (Nov 2022 - Present)
WINNER OF THE STAGE AWARD 2023 'DIGITAL PROJECT OF THE YEAR'
'So ambitious as it takes audience on a journey; at heart a mediation on home, what you leave behind, what you take with & standing on the shore facing the future.' Lyn Gardner on 'Odyssey.'
Co-created 'Odyssey' VR audio-play with care-experienced young people from Plus One, navigating growing up, ambition and hope.
[Derby Roundhouse, July 2022, available online here]
Dramaturg & Facilitator for 'Everywhere' by Nicky Bellenger
A new youth theatre play exploring Alzheimer's, co-created with those living with Dementia and their carers and Universal Services for Carers in Derby.
[Derby Theatre, Feb-April 2023, rehearsed readings before being shared further.]
Co-created 'Reimagine: What the Stars Mean To Us', an original musical written from young people's contributions across North and South Derbyshire on what their futures, dreams and hopes mean to them. [Derby Theatre, February 2022 - July 2022, Buxton Opera House Sep 2022]
Drama & Creative Writing Workshop Leader for BBC Radio Sheffield & Creative Lives' 'Where We Belong' workshop series, inspired by the musical film 'Everybody's Talking About Jamie' at Theatre Deli (6th November 2021)
Produced, programmed & hosted 'Derby Loves You: A Night of New Writing' for Derby Theatre in the Market Place venue, featuring original writing by Paines Plough, Boundless Theatre & Charlotte Vickers [August 2021]
Co-created original film 'Our Place' with Derbyshire LGBT+ & Junction Arts, exploring the queer experience of Chesterfield, see adjacent (July - August 2021)
Co-created animation scripts with 3 Derby city primary schools for Reimagine with Derby Theatre (July 2021)
Déda, Learning Coordinator (This Is Derby & Reimagine) [Part-Time] (Jan 2019 – July 2021)
Leading on communications, programming & evaluation of sports & arts activity for schools & community venues in Derwent & Chaddesden as Hub Coordinator for Déda. Reporting to Derby’s Cultural Education Partnership, working alongside Youth Workers and partnered primary & secondary schools, community centres & young people. Facilitating development of creative talent, including producing young performance companies & young poets for national symposiums.
Plus One creative writing Half-Term Residency with Zee Musiq (October 2020)
‘Homegirl’ by Alex Wheatle Online Book Club (Summer 2020)
Reimagine Audio Plays (Summer 2020) online
- nine original audio dramas facilitated during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Care About Care, Newcastle (October 2019)
Short play co-created with care-leavers and care-experienced young people, alongside Derby Cultural Education Producer, for national ‘Care About Care?’ Conference hosted by Curious Monkey Theatre (Gosforth Civic Hall, October 2019)
As a Creative Mentor with Plus One for Derby Theatre since 2019, I regularly lead 1to1 creative sessions and enable participation in cultural activities for care-experienced young people. My participation efforts in 2020-21 earned me a nomination in the top 3 for the Mainframe Award 2021's Rising Digital/Creative Star Under 25.
Hubbub Theatre, Development Producer [Part-Time] (Dec 2019 – Nov 2022)
- Leading on major fundraising & developmental bids including successful Arts Council England, National Lottery Community Fund, Garfield Weston, Foyle Foundation & COVID-19 Response funds.
Working alongside the Artistic Director & Co-Producer across creative production development, organisational growth & outreach plans for SEND schools & Learning Disabled orgs.
Administrates & expands company’s Board and partnerships. Achieved ‘Creativity for Good’ Mainframe 2020 award & launched successful individual giving & press campaigns.