L-R Top Row: Adiza Shardow, Amanda Ajomale, Aqsa Arif, Drew Taylor-Wilson, Katherine Nesbitt
L-R Bottom Row: Lana Pheutan, Louise Barrington, Lucy Halliday, Shona Cowie
In September 2023 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 assessment and selection process – carried out by external assessors, the Short Circuit team and course leader David Pope – nine participants were chosen to take part in Convergence and learn the fundamentals of screenwriting shorts and feature films.
The selected participants are:
Find out more about the participants and what they’re most looking forward to about the programme:
Adiza Shardow is a Scottish/Ghanian writer performer. Screen Credits include, Waterloo Road (BBC), Casualty (BBC), River City (BBC). Theatre credits include Close Quarters (The Crucible Theatre), OZ (Tobacco Factory), and most recently was in The National Theatre of Scotland’s production of Thrown, which premiered at the Edinburgh International Festival. Adiza won the Sky arts award 2021 with The Royal Society of Literature for screen writing and is developing a new pilot with mentor Tanika Gupta and head of the program Bernadine Evaristo. She also completed the Bridge programme for TV writing with Theresa Ikoko as her mentor
“So happy to be selected for this amazing course, I’m excited to meet the other creatives and pitch to industry professionals. Even though it will be scary I can’t wait to learn from the feedback and progress my writing skills.” – Adiza Shardow
Amanda Ajomale is a Poet, Novelist, and Researcher known for weaving Yoruba and Latin American culture and language through the heart of her work. After becoming a mother in 2019, Amanda created the blog, The A Word, which features poems and short stories surrounding Queer Love, Post-Natal Depression, and Generational Healing.
Performances include the Scottish BPOC Writers Audio Anthology and the 2022 Edinburgh Book Festival, and her debut poem ‘Mama, I Really Did Try My Best’ is featured on The New Mothers’ Writing Circle website. TV credits include BBC’s The Firm, Bridge of Lies, and Question Time.
“I screamed at the top of my lungs when I found out I’d been selected for Convergence 2024. Writing has always been a major part of my life and I cannot wait to meet and connect with the other storytellers and the industry professionals, to learn and grow in our art, and to see our screenplays come to life. This will be one for the books, and I’m buzzing to get stuck in!” – Amanda Ajomale
Aqsa Arif is an award-winning Scottish-Pakistani artist and filmmaker based in Glasgow. She incorporates film, printmaking, photography and poetry to construct installations in which she explores themes of dual heritage, migration and cultural dissonance. Her practice is deeply inspired by narrative structures built within folklore, mythology and cinematic spaces, exploring this through her own dual identity to reclaim and re-imagine the pre/post-colonial world.
Her film Spicy Pink Tea has been selected for BAFTA qualifying festivals and won Best Dance Film at Aesthetica Film Festival and was nominated for the Young Scottish Filmmaker prize in Glasgow Short Film Festival. Arif was selected to undertake the 20/20 residency by UAL’s Decolonising Arts Institute: a 15-month residency at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum leading to her first solo exhibition, Anam Ki Almari (The Trophy Cupboard) and 20 new permanent acquisitions in 20 UK public art collections.
In 2023, she was awarded the Platform: Early Career Artist Award as well as the RSA Morton Award. She has also been nominated for the major national touring exhibition, Jerwood Survey III, launching at Southwark Park Galleries in March 2024 and touring in Cardiff, Sheffield and Edinburgh.
“The timing for Convergence couldn’t be better. I’ve recently completed two commissioned short films, and now I’m eager to dive deeper into the art of crafting narratives, developing well-rounded characters, and honing my skills in writing dialogue. I see Convergence as the perfect opportunity to nurture these aspects of my filmmaking journey, especially with the invaluable guidance and industry insights that the mentor, peer group, and Short Circuit will bring to the programme.” – Aqsa Arif
Drew Taylor-Wilson [they/them] is a neurodivergent, queer creative working in TV, Film and Theatre. They recently obtained a Masters in TV Fiction Writing from Glasgow Caledonian University. “A glittering colossus -5*” [Metro] Drew writes to advocate for seldom heard voices, creating bold contemporary queer stories that de-stigmatise mental health difficulties. Their plays have been seen across the UK, they are a former performance poet and frequently bend genre and form in both screen and stage writing. Drew is a founding co-director of Sanctuary Queer Arts and works freelance as a Director and Dramaturg. Their first TV show is currently optioned by Stampede Ventures, Los Angeles.
“I am beyond excited to be in a learning environment again – an artist’s work is never done, and collaboration fuels my fires. Having dipped my toe into TV recently, realising a life-long ambition [casually side-stepping from Theatre] – I am hungry to get to grips more with the nuts and bolts of film and film formatting, especially with the expert guidance that Convergence offers. The process has been glorious so far!” – Drew Taylor-Wilson
Katherine is a theatre director from Belfast, based in Glasgow. She is an Associate Director for National Theatre Connections and was an Associate Artist at the Traverse Theatre. She’s a member of the Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab (New York) and was a finalist for the JMK Award 2021 and the Sir Peter Hall Directors Award 2021. Credits include This is Paradise (Traverse Theatre), Everyman (GSMD), Jade City (Bunker Theatre), The Present (NTS/BBC Scotland). She was recently commissioned by the MAC Belfast.
“I’m so excited to learn everything I can from David and the wider Short Circuit team, and from the rest of the cohort with the diverse experiences that they bring to screenwriting. I’m looking forward to challenging myself and moving my skills from theatre into film.” – Katherine Nesbitt
Lana Pheutan is an actor, writer and director from the Isle of Skye. She is a native Gàidhlig speaker and works bilingually across theatre and television. This year she co-wrote Glan Fhèin, BBC Alba’s highly successful flagship sitcom and directed Pretty Knickers Productions’ 5 * show Salamander. She is passionate about representing Gaels as the bold and complex individuals they are, writing stories about the people who live in these communities today, not the tweed wearing, sheep herding, whisky drinking, tattie loving, backward thinking, accordion playing version of Gaels that people are used to seeing. Although she does love tatties.
“I’m delighted to be part of Convergence 2024 and can’t wait to get cracking. Film has always felt slightly out of reach for me, so this opportunity will be perfect to help bring my stories to life through a new medium.” – Lana Pheutan
Louise is a multidisciplinary artist based in Orkney using film, dance, textiles, and sculpture. Her work focuses on the aesthetic and environmental aspects of the landscape experienced over the four seasons, weaving together a tapestry of people and place. Her screen dance film Sylph was selected for LUX Scotland September’s ONE WORK. Louise completed her film Four Seasons this autumn, which follows the changing colours and textures across the seasons experienced on Orkney, while listening to the voices from the landscape.
“I’m delighted to be part of the Convergence cohort. The opportunity is an important step forward to further develop projects, along with making new connections. It’s an exciting start to 2024.” – Louise Barrington
From Paisley, Scotland. Growing up was a member of PACE Youth Theatre, which delved me into performing and theatre, as a result worked with The National Theatre of Scotland on Holding/Holding On (2021). Was entirely set against ever following a path into this industry, due to utter uncertainty. Then as a teenager was cast in Blue Jean (2023) and discovered a newfound passion for the screen industry I had been catapulted into, specifically wanting to engage with it in Scotland. Most importantly, I like green beans and the Rubik’s Cube.
“The calibre of screenwriting talent in Scotland is overwhelming, so being able to be a part of a programme such as Convergence is an opportunity I won’t be taking for granted. I am looking forward to the collaborative approach Convergence offers, and most of all hoping that by the end of this course someone, or something, will be able to help tame my ceaseless thought bubbles and ramblings.” – Lucy Halliday
Shona is a storyteller and participatory artist with a broad international career. She trained at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama and L’Ecole Jacques Lecoq before founding story-education company Fósforo, in São Paulo, Brazil and travelling with her collective Senza across Europe and Tunisia to research and platform stories of Mediterranean migration.
Now firmly based in Argyll, she continues to lead pioneering projects in heritage, social care and performance sectors in Scotland and beyond and is thrilled to be taking her first steps into broadcasting.
“I’m delighted to be part of the 2024 Convergence cohort and enter what feels like uncharted territory that has been pulling me in for a while. I’m excited about building on the foundational narrative craft I’ve developed as a storyteller, excited about telling new stories,and excited about digging up forgotten ones and figuring out the ways to bring them to life. As an artist who mainly flies solo, I’m also looking forward to learning, working and creating within a top notch team of creative companions. The journey will no doubt improve my practice exponentially. Bring on January 24!” – Shona Cowie
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