We’re excited to announce the participants taking part in Convergence 2022 – our programme for aspiring screenwriters.

In December 2021 we invited submissions from Scotland-based professional writers, filmmakers and creative practitioners, currently working in other fields, who were interested in moving into writing for screen.

After an internal assessment and selection process – carried out by the Short Circuit Talent Executives and course leader David Pope – eight participants were chosen to take part in Convergence and learn the fundamentals of screenwriting shorts and feature films.

The selected participants are:

  • Imogen Stirling 
  • Juulia Kalavainen 
  • Kate Hammer 
  • Matthew Hickman 
  • Megan Shandley 
  • Patricia-Ann Young 
  • Ruaraidh Murray 
  • Zyra Evangelista

Find out more about the participants and what they’re most looking forward to about the programme:

Imogen Stirling

Imogen is a writer, performance poet, theatre-maker and vocalist. Highlights: ‘Artist of the Year’ at Scottish Emerging Theatre Awards 2021; inaugural Writer-in-Residence for Paisley Book Festival; writer/performer on Sky Arts’ BAFTA-winning Life & Rhymes; BBC Words First participant. Her five-star debut show, #Hypocrisy, sold out at Edinburgh and Prague Fringe before touring the UK. Her gig poetry show-in-progress, Love The Sinner, is in development with the book version published this month. Imogen co-founded Siren Theatre Company, one of the Gaiety’s New Scottish Companies. 

“After a time of such strange creative isolation, I can’t think of a better way to start the year than by joining this cohort of varied, dynamic voices. There are stories I’ve long wanted to tell that I couldn’t find the words for through poetry, and I’m excited to delve into the potential of a new medium. Through the programme, I’m looking forward to pushing myself well out of my comfort zone, developing and expanding my craft, and learning more about myself as a writer.”

Juulia Kalavainen

Juulia Kala is a Finnish filmmaker, living in Scotland. She has directed four short films that have been screened and won awards at various international film festivals. With an interest in ritual, environmental and spiritual themes, her films explore the relationships between humans and nature, drawing inspiration from myths and folklore. She is passionate about telling the stories of characters who are in liminal phases of their lives – transforming or searching for their place in the world.

“Writing and directing my own scripts has felt like the next step I need to take in order to develop and grow as a filmmaker, but at times, I have been missing guidance and support. Convergence is a wonderful opportunity to develop as a screenwriter, to give and receive feedback and get to know other fellow writers. I look forward to honing my storytelling skills, getting inspired and learning a lot from David and my peers during these next months.”

Kate Hammer

Kate Hammer is a writer and performer based in Glasgow. An award-winning playwright and published writer, Kate strives to create community representation in order to tell the stories that need to be heard. Recently graduating with Distinction from GCU with a Master’s in Television Fiction Writing, she is keen to enter the incredible film and television industry in the UK. Kate is a queer, neurodivergent creator who always stays close to her Canadian, goat farm beginnings.

“Just as we’re not supposed to live in solitude, we aren’t supposed to write in it. I cannot wait to meet an incredible group of people, and learn from David and the Short Circuit team. I’m most looking forward to collaborating, creating, and being challenged in creating impactful stories while knowing I’m in extraordinarily talented company.”

Matthew Hickman

Matthew Hickman is a songwriter and performer from Ayrshire, who’s stellar career in music to date has allowed him to write, release & tour his music under the moniker of brownbear as well as writing for many other artists. Hickman is now looking to develop his writing skills beyond music and start a new creative venture in the world of film.

“I am looking forward to further developing my skills as a screenwriter with mentorship from some of the industry’s top professionals. An opportunity like this is essential for a newcomer like myself to transition from the professional practice of writing songs to writing films.”

Megan Shandley

Megan is a LAMDA graduate and recently gained a screenwriting certificate from NFTS Scotland. Acting credits include short film Kingdom Come which premiered at the 2019 Venice Film Festival, and the Michael Caton-Jones feature Our Ladies. She is currently performing in immersive theatre show Doctor Who: Time Fracture. As a stand-up comic, Megan performed at major UK festivals, as well as on the BBC. She was a 2017 Scottish Variety Award Nominee and 2018 Funny Women Grand Finalist.

“I’m thrilled to be part of Convergence 2022 and excited to learn the most effective ways to approach my writing and execute my ideas, as well as gaining an insight into the workings of the industry. I’m keen to explore the most engaging yet daring ways to tell my stories, drawing on both my classical drama and comedy backgrounds.”

Patricia-Ann Young

​​Patricia-Ann Young is a Glasgow-based features writer whose work has appeared in a variety of Scottish newspapers and magazines, such as The Sunday Post, The Courier, Scottish Wedding, IN BLOOM and No 1 Magazine.

“I am extremely excited to be part of this programme, and feel very privileged to get the chance to work and learn alongside my peers. I am most looking forward to learning from David Pope’s expertise and building a community with my fellow participants. Switching from journalism to screenwriting feels a little daunting, but I feel that I am now in the perfect environment to do so and to grow as a creative writer.”

Ruaraidh Murray

Ruaraidh is one of BBC’s Scottish Voices 2020/21. Critically acclaimed solo shows include Big Sean, Mikey and Me, Bath Time and Boxman and his plays Allie and The Club, which premiered at the Edinburgh Fringe 2012, until 2016. His solo shows and plays toured throughout the UK (Vault Festival, Park Theatre, London) and internationally (Under St. Marks Theatre, New York). Acting credits include Night Bus (BFI LFF Official Selection), Trainspotting (UK Tour), Borgia (Netflix), Bob Servant (BBC). Projects currently in development include TV drama Highlifers (Producer Jules Hussey), short film The Finger and feature film No Trees on Tiree (EP Douglas Mackinnon).

“I’m really looking forward to working with Short Circuit and meeting everyone involved in Convergence 2022, improving my screenwriting skills and making my short and feature scripts the best they can be.”

Zyra Evangelista

Zy is a developing artist with a strong academic background. Their lived experiences as someone with multiple marginalised identities shapes a lot of their work. They want to fuse their academic training and creative skills to produce impactful narratives that champion social justice issues in an engaging and accessible way. Zy’s working projects include an animated short, short story picture book, and an autobiographical essay.

“I’m thrilled to be part of Convergence because it provides a great opportunity for translating my lived experience, academic training, and creative writing skills into producing socially impactful films. I’m excited to collaborate and learn from industry professionals and experts such as David Pope, and other like-minded Scotland-based creators participating in the programme. I wish I grew up seeing more films that represented me and others like me so I’m eager to use what I learn from Convergence to successfully transition into writing uniquely entertaining screenplays that can connect with a diverse global audience while empowering marginalised communities and initiating progressive dialogues about structural inequalities, social justice, and social change.”

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