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New Year, New Patrons!

Matthew Dunster and Jessica Swale, award-winning directors and playwrights, have become ArtsEd patrons following a highly productive period as Writers in Residence.

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We are delighted to announce that Jessica Swale and Matthew Dunster, who have been working as Writers in Residence on two new plays for production later in 2016, have joined our stellar cast of ArtsEd patrons.

MATTHEW DUNSTER is an Olivier-nominated director, playwright and actor. He is as an Associate Artist at the Young Vic Theatre and recently directed Martin McDonagh’s new play Hangmen at the Royal Court, now transferred to Wyndham’s Theatre. Directing credits include: Hangmen and Liberian Girl (Royal Court), The Seagull and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Open Air Regent’s Park), Love’s Sacrifice (RSC), The Lightning Child, Troilus and Cressida and Doctor Faustus (Shakespeare’s Globe), The Love Girl & the Innocent, You Can Still Make a Killing (Southwark Playhouse), Mametz (National Theatre Wales), Before the Party (Almeida), A Sacred Flame (English Touring), Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (Royal Exchange Manchester), Mogadishu (Royal Exchange Manchester and Lyric Hammersmith – Olivier Award nomination for Outstanding Achievement in an Affiliate Theatre), Love and Money (Royal Exchange Manchester and Young Vic – Olivier Award nomination for Outstanding Achievement in an Affiliate Theatre) and Love the Sinner (National Theatre). 

As writer, his theatre includes: Children’s Children (Almeida), The Most Incredible Thing (Sadler’s Wells), and You Can See the Hills (Royal Exchange Manchester).

“I have a great deal of faith in the work that Gareth Farr does with his acting students and in my relatively short association with ArtsEd I have relished working with those students. I've found them inspiring when devising work with them and have now worked with a number of them in shows of mine at the RSC and the Royal Court –two of them were still third year students at the time. So I've already gained a lot from my association with the school and hope as a patron I'll learn more and look forward to helping where and when I can throughout the organisation.”

JESSICA SWALE is an award-winning playwright and director. She trained at Central School of Speech and Drama and Exeter University, after which she set up Red Handed Theatre Company whilst working as Max Stafford-Clark’s Associate director at Out of Joint. With Red Handed Jessica’s directing work includes The Belle's Stratagem (Evening Standard Best Director 2012 nomination), The Busy Body, The Rivals, Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me (Southwark Playhouse); The School for Scandal (Park Theatre) and Palace of the End (Arcola).

“I couldn't be more delighted to become a patron. ArtsEd has always strived to give their students the very best training and with innovations like the Writer in Residence scheme the students' experience is elevated beyond conventional teaching to give them genuine experience of Industry practice. I work in exactly the same way with the students as I do with actors in rehearsal. The school understands the importance of staying in touch with current theatre practice.

Jessica started writing in 2012, winning a Most Promising Playwright nomination at the Evening Standard Awards for her first play, Blue Stockings (Shakespeare’s Globe). Her most recent play, Nell Gwynn, transfers to the West End this spring after a sell-out run at the Globe. Other writing includes All's Will that Ends Will (Bremen Shakespeare Company), adaptations of Sense and Sensibility, Far from the Madding Crowd (Watermill) and The Secret Garden (Grosvenor Park, Chester) and a new play, The Mission, about illegal adoptions in the 1920s for ArtsEd. In 2012 she won a BAFTA JJ Screenwriting Bursary and has just completed an original screenplay, Summerland.

As director, her credits include Fallen Angels (Salisbury Playhouse), Bedlam (Shakespeare's Globe), Winter (Theatre Newfoundland, Canada) and Sleuth, Sense and Sensibility and Far from the Madding Crowd (Watermill Theatre). Jessica has also directed a number of Shakespeare plays in the Balkans and the Marshall Islands for the NGO Youth Bridge Global. She is the author of a best-selling series of drama games books, published by Nick Hern.

"I was flattered to be asked to write for this year's third years. I have been constantly impressed by their ability, attitude and energy. I hope they are learning from the experience, I certainly am! I believe it's vital for those in the industry to stay connected to the next generation of theatre makers and performers – valuable to both students and professionals. I have no doubt that we'll be working together for many years to come.”