EXPLODE is the Sherman’s programme for established writers, with a focus on creating work for bigger audiences and larger spaces.

This series of attachments provides writers with mentorship, development, and the time and space to make their work. The programme will culminate in thirty minutes of work being performed at a script-in-hand reading.

EXPLODE is an invitation-only programme and has a focus on supporting under-represented voices (women, queer voices, d/Deaf and disabled and global majority artists).

If you’d like to get involved with our development programmes, you might be interested in EXPLORE or EXPAND.

This year’s EXPLODE participants are:

Connor Allen:
Connor Allen is the current Children’s Laureate of Wales and associate artist of The Riverfront in Newport. He is a former member of the BBC Wales Welsh Voices and Welsh Royal Court writing groups. He has written for Wales Millennium Centre, BBC Radio 4 and more. Connors work is heavily inspired by elements of his own life such as grief, love, masculinity, identity, and ethnicity. He was a Jerwood Live Work Fund recipient, won the Rising Star Wales Award 2021 and was the 2023 winner of the Imison Award for his Radio 4 audio drama The Making of a Monster.

Ciaran Fitzgerald:
I am a disabled playwright and screenwriter from Port Talbot. Since graduating from the BA Scriptwriting course at the University of South Wales, I have written for The Other Room theatre, and Theatr Clwyd. I participated in the first incarnation of the Oli Lansley Mentoring Scheme for Writers in 2020/21 run by London-based charity WildChild. I was a member of the Sherman Theatre, writers group for, 2021/22, and am now delighted to be part of the EXPLODE programme. For television, I am currently developing Yr Hen Elyn/The Old Enemy with Ranga Bee, a comedy about two adversarial secondary schools on either side of the England and Wales border. In addition to this, my TV pilot BWMP! will air on S4C later this year.

Mari Izzard:
Mari is a Welsh writer/actress from Bridgend, South Wales. She appears in BAFTA Nominated Feature Film Brian and Charles dir. Jim Archer (BFI/Film4). She was the winner of the inaugural Violet Burns Award for Welsh Language Female Playwrights in 2018 and then nominated for Best Writer for The Stage Debut Awards 2020. In 2018 Mari was chosen as Paines Plough & Theatr Clwyd’s Writer in Residence. Mari has recently graduated from Royal Central School of Speech and Drama’s MA in Writing for Stage and Broadcast Media programme.

Her other credits include: ★★★★★ “Expertly executed” A Midsummer Night’s Dream dir. Joe Murphy (Sherman Theatre), Spoffin dir. Madeleine Kludje (Sky New Comedy REP), The Ongoing, Internal Search for Da dir. Tamara Harvey & Emyr John (Theatre Clwyd) and HELA dir. Dan Jones (The Other Room/Theatr Genedlaethol). She is currently further developing Spoffin with Sky Studios, working with Wales based production company Little Wander to develop her first comedy pilot for BBC Radio Wales and co-writing an original musical for Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru.

Mari is really excited to be joining the EXPLODE programme and hopes to use this opportunity to develop her first, full-length two-act play.

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