About

Calling all North East writers, performers, artists, musicians, photographers, film makers, animators, poets, comedians, radio producers, illustrators, editors, designers… We’d love to hear from you!

Writers’ Block provides a service for new and established writers. It plays host to regular training events to teach writers new skills. It provides networking and business-to-business opportunities, introducing creative people and their work to industry professionals.

Writers’ Block provides the facilities and resources to enable writers to get their work in to print, on film and performed to an audience. It provides opportunities for writers to work alongside emerging actors, crew, animators, musicians and artists.

Since January 2010 Writers’ Block has facilitated the production of 11 short films, 8 plays, 3 radio plays, 2 animations and a ‘zine. These have seen writers working with filmmakers working with musicians, actors, animators, designers and artists. And in the process Writers’ Block members have collaborated with professionals from Northern Stage, New Writing North, the Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art (mima), Live Theatre, the Arc in Stockton, BBC Blast, the Berwick Arts and Media Festival and production companies including Changeling Productions, Time out of the Box, Duffel Films, Voxpopular and Kumo Project.

Completed work has been showcased at Northern Stage, Middlesbrough Town Hall and the Tyneside Cinema; at the Discover Middlesbrough Festival and various Concept film events; via Community Voices FM, North East movies, You Tube and BBC Big Screens; and distributed to the BBC Writersroom, BBC Radio North, festivals including Bristol’s ‘Brief Encounters’ and production companies including R S Productions, Kudos Film and TV, the BBC In-house Drama Department and Tiger Aspect.

Writers’ Block aims to train and support creative individuals and businesses, to find ways for them to work together, and to celebrate the impressive results of these collaborations: with regular screenings, launches, discussion groups and showcasing events.

We’d love you to be involved. We’re currently based at Unit 5, Broadcasting House, Middlesbrough, as part of Middlesbrough Council’s ‘We Are Open’ scheme, which aims to support innovative ideas and create new opportunities in the Tees Valley area.
Any questions, comments or suggestions – get in touch!

Writers’ Block is supported by Middlesbrough Council and the European Regional Development Fund.

Laura Degnan 
Director, in-house workshop leader and project manager

Laura has worked in drama development and script editing roles at Kudos Film and TV, RS Productions and for the BBC in-house drama department. She is an emerging writer/director working in film and theatre and her film ‘Blind Eye’ was recently screened as part of the official selection at the Palm Springs Shortfest. Her film ‘Between You and Me’ was recently completed with support from the Film Council and her plays have been performed at Live Theatre, Northern Stage, Theatre Royal and Alnwick Playhouse. She set up ‘Writers’ Block North East’ to support emerging creative talent in the North East.

Laura has completed a Digital City Fellowship at the Institute of Digital Innovation, the Software Ventures Business course at Sunderland BIC and is a member of Digital City. Laura is a board member of Mudfog Publishing, Women into the Network and Middlesbrough Libraries. Laura runs regular writing, performance and filmmaking workshops for The Arc in Stockton and Club Creative in Saltburn, and has delivered creative writing and screenwriting workshops for mima and Northern Architecture.

James Harris 
Project manager and in-house workshop leader

James is a comedy writer, performer, animator and filmmaker who has had work commissioned by Hat Trick Productions, BBC3, BBC2 NI, Channel 4 and Dave. He has written for the likes of Spacehopper, Scallywagga, and The Comedy Unit’s Rough Cuts. He founded the Manchester-based Monkeywood Theatre Company and has participated in the popular 24:7 Theatre Festival of New Writing. He is on the advisory committee of the Florida Freethought Film Festival. James delivers regular writing, performance and filmmaking workshops for The Arc in Stockton, Earthbeat Theatre and Club Creative in Saltburn.

Peter Flannery 
Winner of the best writer award at the RTS Programme Awards 2009 and Writers’ Block sponsor

When I first began writing (shortly after The Fire Of London) there were few organizations dedicated to helping the young writer. The Theatre Writers’ Union, The Arvon Foundation, and that was about it. That was why, nearly 30 years ago, I helped set up The North West Playwrights Workshop. One of our early successes was to persuade Paul Abbott to burn his first script in the car park. Ah, well nobody gets it right every time. (I mean NWPW, not Paul!). So initiatives like Writers Block in Middlesbrough are priceless. Join it, use it, support it.

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