Shelagh Stephenson writing retreat in France

Shelagh Stephenson writing retreat in France

Live Theatre in Newcastle is teaming up with internationally acclaimed playwright Shelagh Stephenson to offer two women over the age of 35 a week-long writing retreat in the South of France in May 2024.

This groundbreaking initiative is intended to give creative space and support to women who have stopped, paused or slowed their writing due to childcare, caring duties and other life circumstances. The residency will take place in Shelagh’s country home near Avignon, with the two participants being offered travel, board, subsistence and cooked meals throughout their stay.

Shelagh Stephenson said: “There’s a lot of focus on young writers – which is as it should be. But some people, particularly women, take a while to get started. Many feel they’ve missed the boat. It takes a huge leap of faith to write anything at all, confidence ebbs and flow. We have an old stone house in the Southern Rhone Valley, where I spend a lot of thinking/noodling/writing time, and often there’s just me and the dog there. There are a few houses in the hamlet, but that’s it. 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). The writers will have their own rooms and bathrooms. There’s a tiny pool. Behind the house there’s nothing but vines, and at night it’s completely silent. If they want to talk about the work, I’m happy to do so. If they don’t, I’m happy too. If they need a bit of down time, they can come with me to St. Quentin la Poterie and Uzès for the Thursday market/lunch. And hopefully, by the end of the stay, they’ll feel they’ve made some progress with the work.”

Live Theatre’s Artistic Director Jack McNamara said: “A week in idyllic Southern France with nothing to do but think and write? What is not to like? Shelagh brought this dreamy idea to us with characteristic generosity and we are thrilled to get behind it. Theatres can often overlook how hard it can be to maintain creative energy and focus at all phases of life and Live Theatre want to try and so something about that. For women who have had children or taken on other caring responsibilities there is very little messaging out there that their creativity is just as valuable, perhaps more so, than before. We hope this initiative gives the selected writers exactly what they need, exactly when they need it.”

The opportunity is open to writers based in or from the North East of England. Application forms can be found at  

Discover more from Home

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading