26 November 2020

Announcing the Old Vic 12

Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, the previously announced Old Vic 12 season at Shoreditch Town Hall will no longer be able to go ahead as planned. The Old Vic, with continued support from Shoreditch Town Hall, remain committed to these extraordinary artists and their exciting projects which will now culminate in more development time, the creation of a digital content pack to help facilitate each play’s next steps and digital rehearsed readings for an invited audience.

The Old Vic and Shoreditch Town Hall announce this year’s The Old Vic 12 – a group of writers, producers, directors and creatives who, since March, have been working together digitally and in person, in line with social distancing, to create three new pieces of work.

The Old Vic 12 are: Penny Babakhani, Milli Bhatia, Nicola Chang, Poppy Corbett, Tim Foley, Chi-San Howard, Hannah Joss, Nassy Konan, Cindy Lin, Reece McMahon, Madelaine Moore and Nessah Muthy.

Introduced by Artistic Director Matthew Warchus in 2015, The Old Vic 12 is a group of developing artists ready to take the next step in their careers. The scheme provides access and insights into top-level theatre-making, mentoring from industry experts, opportunities to deliver masterclasses to emerging artists and paid opportunities to collaborate with each other to create brand new work.

This year, for the first time, the scheme will go beyond The Old Vic in a collaboration with Shoreditch Town Hall where, following the year-long attachment, the plays will be presented in spring 2021. This year’s chosen plays are: Gobble Gobble Gobble Gobble Goblin by Tim Foley, Fake Melania by Poppy Corbett and Jineolojî by Nessah Muthy.


Gobble Gobble Gobble Gobble Goblin by Tim Foley
Directed by Madelaine Moore
Produced by Nassy Konan

‘If you need to get away, sometimes the edge of the universe is the only option’

Nick’s mum is sick. When he returns home in the midst of his own crisis, instead of finding solace he finds a meddling neighbour, a freeloading brother, overdue PIP forms… and a goblin at the bottom of the garden. Over the ensuing days, months and years, Nick must face the might of the local council, the entire Goblin Kingdom, and worst of all, his own conscience.

Gobble Gobble Gobble Gobble Goblin is a dark and fantastical domestic comedy about mental illness, duty of care,
and creatures that lurk beneath the surface…

Fake Melania by Poppy Corbett
Directed by Hannah Joss
Produced by Reece McMahon

‘You cannot change a person’ Melania Trump

Donald Trump won that second term, and he’s planning a third… Meanwhile, Abby, an ambitious New York actor, aces an audition only to discover she’s cast as ‘Melania Trump’ – but not on stage. Abby must keep her new role secret from everyone, including her husband Daniel, a celebrated documentary-maker working on a Trump exposé. Bundled on to Air Force One to accompany Donny on his second state visit to the UK, when she arrives at the hotel, she discovers she has more than perfecting Slovenian vowel sounds to keep her busy. As White House staffers control Abby’s every move, increasingly agitated protestors gather outside.

Fake Melania is a contemporary political farce set in a post-truth world, uncovering the consequences of deception on personal, political, and global levels. Can Abby convince the world she’s the real First Lady? Is she contractually obliged to hold the President’s hand? And how can she even start to plan that ‘Christmas stuff’ when she’s hiding in a cupboard? #FakeMelania

Jineolojî by Nessah Muthy
Directed by Milli Bhatia
Produced by Penny Babakhani

‘Somebody let the brown women take charge!’

Jineolojî is about: Equality. Revolution. Freedom. It’s a revolution that not only attempts to rip away patriarchal and oppressive systems but calls for a whole new world order – tearing down traditional western notions of feminism, freedom and ecology. Inspired by the Kurdish women’s movement, this is a new story, a new offer, a living essay that puts women at the centre and demands a radical rethinking of… everything.

Nicola Chang (Sound designer/Composer), Chi-San Howard (Movement Director) and Cindy Lin (Designer) are a part of the creative teams for all three productions.


Penny Babakhani
Penny is an Iranian-German independent producer and climate activist whose artistic practice is rooted in her experience as an organiser. She works primarily with migrant and diasporic artists who seek to empower audiences by blurring the line between theatre and protest. Her most recent project, Peyvand Sadeghian’s DUAL دوگانھ ,won Show of the Week at VAULT Festival 2020. Penny graduated from Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts’ MA Creative Producing programme in 2017, and has previously worked across production, programming and administration at Selladoor Worldwide.

Milli Bhatia
Theatre includes: seven methods of killing kylie jenner by Jasmine Lee-Jones (Royal Court); My White Best Friend and other letters left unsaid (Bunker/Royal Court); Dismantle This Room by Nina Segal (Bush/Royal Court); Half Full by Yasmin Joseph (Royal Court/RWCMD); The Hijabi Monologues (Bush). Film includes: home(body), or the tall story by Jasmine Lee-Jones (Young Vic); Yash Gill’s Power Half Hour by Nikesh Shukla. Audio includes: Ghosts In The Blood by Joel Tan (Audible). Milli is also a Dramaturg and a Literary Associate at The Royal Court.

Nicola Chang
Composer/Sound Designer
Nicola is a composer/sound designer for stage and screen. She moved to London six years ago from Hong Kong to pursue a music career and has since worked across a variety of shows in the capacities of composer/sound designer, musical director and performer. Her work has been nominated for the Off West End Theatre Awards (Sound Design), and as a percussionist she has performed at the Royal Albert Hall, the Royal Festival Hall and the Shakespeare’s Globe. She also occasionally plays for Six the Musical (West End) as MD/Keys 1 and is a former cast member in STOMP! (West End/World Tour).

Poppy Corbett
Theatre includes: Hatchling (inaugural Masterclass Pitch Your Play winner); Applause (Arts Educational); Checkout (Miniaturists); Robin Hood (BigFoot Arts tour); OMG! (Millfield Arts Centre). Poppy has developed a special interest in writing plays that draw on historical archives, recently collaborating on a project about 19th century French witchcraft with the University of Bristol, and writing a play about York Theatre Royal’s history with the University of York. She has a PhD in contemporary theatre, teaches playwriting and screenwriting at Royal Holloway, and supervises theatre practice students at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama.

Tim Foley
Theatre includes: Electric Rosary – Bruntwood Prize Judges’ Award; Astronauts of Hartlepool – VAULT Outstanding New Work Award (VAULT Festival); The Dogs of War – OffWestEnd Award for Most Promising New Playwright (Old Red Lion Theatre). Audio Dramas include writing for the world of Doctor Who and Torchwood. Tim has had readings with National Theatre Studio, Orange Tree Theatre, Paines Plough and Manhattan Theater Company. His weird fiction podcast North West Footwear Database was featured on BBC Radio 4 Extra. Tim was also the recipient of the Channel 4 Playwright bursary with Pentabus Theatre Company.

Chi-San Howard
Movement Director
Theatre includes: The Effect (English Theatre Frankfurt); The Sugar Syndrome (Orange Tree); Oor Wullie (Dundee Rep/UK Tour); Variations (NT Connections); Skellig (Nottingham Playhouse); Under the Umbrella (Belgrade Theatre/Yellow Earth/Tamasha); Describe the Night (Hampstead Theatre); In Event of Moone Disaster (Theatre 503); Cosmic Scallies (Royal Exchange, Manchester/Graeae); Moth (Hope Mill Theatre); The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Scarlet, The Tempest (Southwark Playhouse); Adding Machine: A Musical (Finborough Theatre). Film includes: Pretending – Orla Gartland Music Video, I Wonder Why – Joesef Music Video.

Hannah Joss
Theatre includes: Original Death Rabbit (Jermyn Street Theatre); Carry on Jaywick (UK tour). Hannah has assisted some of the country’s leading directors, including Polly Findlay, Bijan Sheibani and Erica Whyman and worked with writers such as Jack Thorne, Caryl Churchill, Alice Birch and Nick Payne. Hannah is a former Resident Director of the Almeida Theatre and former Baylis Assistant Director at The Old Vic. She is a tutor for Open Door, a nonprofit organisation that helps talented young people who do not have the financial support for resources to gain a place at drama school, and is a National Connections Mentor Director.

Nassy Konan
Nassy is a creative producer for performance and dance, working across theatre and live art. She is currently a freelance producer for the Streatham Space Project and Dropped Tea Theatre. Nassy has expertise in touring work into mid-scale venues and festivals around the UK and internationally. She is passionate about giving a platform and support to upcoming diverse artists whose work is accessible, political and entertaining. Nassy has produced work for Battersea Arts Centre, Young Vic, Ovalhouse, Southwark Playhouse, and Greenwich & Docklands International Festival. She was previously Assistant Producer for Sadler’s Wells and an assessor for the Total Theatre Awards.

Cindy Lin
Set and Costume Designer
Cindy is a set and costume designer from California and based in London. Cindy trained at Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Theatre Design (MA). Theatre includes: Screwdriver (Lyric Hammersmith); Actually (Trafalgar Studios); Dismantle This Room (Royal Court/Bush); Breathe (Bunker); Hurricane Protest Songs (Graeae); Electra (RWCMD). Opera includes: Madam Butterfly (OperaUpClose); Faust Alberta, Orpheus and Eurydice (Opera in the City Festival). Dance includes: Heist (Zoielogic). Cindy was a Linbury Prize finalist in 2015 and a Royal Opera House bursary recipient in 2017.

Reece McMahon
Reece works across theatre, dance, live and outdoor arts. He is currently Producer at New Diorama Theatre. As an independent producer, Reece focuses on working with underrepresented artists to create work that challenges perceptions and has social justice at its core. He has produced with companies including OutdoorArtsUK, Pleasance Theatre, Good Enough Mums Club, Avant Garde Dance Company, Museum of Homelessness and was previously Assistant Producer at The Place. He is also a Weston Jerwood Creative Bursary Fellow – a programme that addresses the socio-economic barriers that graduates from working-class backgrounds face in the arts.

Madelaine Moore
Madelaine Moore is an award-winning freelance director and Artistic Director of The Thelmas. She works in two main areas; professional text-based theatre, and participatory settings particularly with incarcerated men and with so-called ‘hard to reach’ groups. Madelaine’s work is strongly informed by her interest in disrupting traditional gendered narratives and tackling big ideas through a feminist lens. She explores themes of social justice in surprising and irreverent ways  through form or drilling down into common tropes and subverting them. Theatre includes: Ladykiller (UK tour); Second Person Narrative (Arcola); FATTY FAT FAT (Soho Theatre); NOTCH, Santi & Naz (VAULT Festival).

Nessah Muthy
Nessah is a multi-award winning writer for stage and screen. She has worked with a number of leading theatres and arts organisations including the Royal Court, Punchdrunk, National Youth Theatre, Cardboard Citizens, HighTide, Kali Theatre, Theatre Centre, Iris Theatre, Cloakroom Theatre, the King’s Head Theatre and the Gate Theatre/Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. She has twice been nominated for a Writer’s Guild Award.

The Old Vic 12 is generously supported for 2019–2021 by: Claire Bullus, Nathalie & Nicolas Giauque, The Victoria Wood Foundation, The Noël Coward Foundation, The Roger De Haan Charitable Trust, The D’Oyly Carte Charitable Trust, The Garrick Charitable Trust, The Leche Trust and The Old Vic Impact Fund.

Shoreditch Town Hall’s commissioning and artist development programme in 2019-21 is generously supported by: Cockayne – Grants for the Arts and The London Community Foundation.

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