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News: Arabella Arnott and Lindsay Rodden selected for Live Theatre’s South of France residency with Shelagh Stephenson

Arabella Arnott and Lindsay Rodden selected for Live Theatre’s South of France residency with Shelagh Stephenson

North East writers Arabella Arnott and Lindsay Rodden have been selected out of a highly competitive process at Live Theatre Newcastle, to spend a week writing in the South of France hosted by acclaimed playwright and screenwriter Shelagh Stephenson.

The groundbreaking initiative has been set up for women over 35 whose creative work has been affected or paused due to child care, caring duties and other life circumstances. Both women will work on new plays with Shelagh Stephenson’s guidance over the ten days in May 2024.

Shelagh Stephenson

Explaining the importance of such an initiative Stephenson said: “Many women feel they’ve missed the boat. It takes a huge leap of faith to write anything at all, confidence ebbs and flow. I wanted to offer a bit of space for writers to work in peace and quiet, in beautiful surroundings, away from domestic responsibilities. (I’ll do the cooking). And hopefully, by the end of the stay, they’ll feel they’ve made some progress with the work.”

Selected writer Arabella Arnott said: “I'm over the moon to have been selected for this incredible opportunity. It's just the confidence boost I needed after a year of battling breast cancer. I'm  so excited to focus on my writing again.”  

Lindsay Rodden added: “I'm blown away by Shelagh's generosity and kindness. I'll be doing nothing but writing, reading and eating - my three favourite activities! I'm looking forward to my first time abroad in ten years, some much-needed quiet, a complete lack of responsibility, and a deep and abiding peace.”

Arabella Arnott and Lindsay Rodden

Live Theatre’s Artistic Director Jack McNamara said: “Writing on home turf is great but sometimes you just have to get away. I am so happy for these two writers and somewhat jealous of the week they will spend in idyllic France thinking, writing and soaking up Shelagh’s brilliance (whilst eating her food). We had a huge amount of interest in this opportunity and pretty much everyone who applied was deserving. So we really hope to keep being able to offer opportunities like this when there is clearly a demand for them. I can’t wait to see what work is created over the week, bringing a sprinkle of France back to the North East.”

To learn more about Live Theatre and get involved see

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