Welcome Florence!

8 Mar 2024
Florence Espeut-Nickless

Introducing Bristol Old Vic’s new writer on attachment as part of the Peggy Ramsay/FilmFour Awards.

Last month, Bristol Old Vic welcomed Florence Espeut-Nickless to the theatre to begin a year-long residency as part of the Peggy Ramsay/Film Four Awards. This award celebrates and supports emerging British writing talent by providing a £10,000 bursary to six playwrights who also fulfil a year-long attachment with their respective theatres while they write a full-length play. 

The aim of being attached to a venue is to provide the opportunity of meeting a variety of industry professionals and to gain first-hand experience of a working theatre.

We thought it was time to get to know her a bit better...

Florence in DESTINY. Photo by Chelsea Cliff

Florence is an award-winning writer and actor from Chippenham in Wiltshire. She writes for stage and screen about (and with) working class communities in the hope of making the arts more accessible to everyone, regardless of background and location. 

Her debut play DESTINY was developed with support from Bristol Old Vic Ferment and was a recipient of the Pleasance/BOV National Partnerships Award. It toured extensively across the UK and recently had its international debut in Denmark while an online version has been  nominated for an Off-West End Award for ‘Online Production’. 

Florence’s project Blinded By Your Grace received a Ferment development commission, with further R&D planned this spring/summer. She will continue to develop the script with support from the new work team during her attachment. 

Florence was a former Open Session Writer at BOV, CRF Writer in Residence at Pentabus, and an associate artist at Strike a Light, as part of their Let Artists Be Artists scheme. She is on Dancing Ledge’s TV New Writers scheme and was part of BBC Voices last year.

Florence said: 

“For me being on attachment at BOV as a writer is the absolute dream!! It’s a pinch me moment for sure, that still hasn’t fully sunk in.

Growing up in Chippenham, Bristol felt like the coolest, most exciting place to me. And the Bristol Old Vic was like this shiny creative palace in the middle of this big bright city. So yeah, right now, I do feel a bit like a Southwest theatre princess!

To have the backing and support from Bristol Old Vic, Peggy Ramsay and Film 4 gives me confidence and belief in my voice and skills; in what I bring to the table. Being a playwright can often feel really isolated, vulnerable and exposing. Now though being in residency at BOV, I feel like I’m surrounded by the most incredible cheerleaders and mentors, who I know I can always lean on for guidance and expertise. Everyone’s made me feel proper welcome. Already I feel like a valued member of the team, which is lush! And I’m gaining such great insight into how a leading producing theatre operates. I’m involved in literary and programming conversations, my voice feels like it matters in those spaces, and it’s really refreshing to feel so included as a freelance artist.

I hope my time at BOV will give me the courage to be bolder, to dream bigger, to push myself as a writer. To grow my ambition in terms of scale and form. I want to write a big play for the big stage at BOV! That is loud and joyful and challenging. I want young people and artists from Bristol and the wider SW region to be at its heart.”

The full list of Peggy Ramsay/Film Four award winners are:

  • BABIRYE BUKILWA (“Cake”)  Clean Break & Soho Theatre
  • FLORENCE ESPEUT-NICKLESS (“Destiny”)  Bristol Old Vic
  • MAREK HORN (“Octopolis”)  Hampstead Theatre
  • SHAHID IQBAL KHAN (“10 Nights”)  Paines Plough
  • MARTHA LOADER (“Bindweed”)  New Wolsey Theatre
  • MORNA YOUNG (“Aye, Elvis”)    Traverse Theatre

About The Peggy Ramsay Foundation Peggy Ramsay was one of the best-known play agents in the United Kingdom during the second half of the Twentieth Century.  When she died in 1991, her estate was left for charitable purposes to help writers and writing for the stage. The Peggy Ramsay Foundation was established in pursuance of this objective.

About Film4 Film4 is Channel 4 Television’s feature film division. Film4 develops and co-finances films and is known for working with the most distinctive and innovative talent in UK and international filmmaking, both new and established.

Film4 has developed and co-financed many of the most successful UK films of recent years, Academy Award®-winners such as Florian Zeller’s The Father, Yorgos Lanthimos’s The Favourite, Martin McDonagh’s Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Lenny Abrahamson’s Room, Alex Garland’s Ex Machina, Asif Kapadia’s box office record breaking documentary Amy, Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave and Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire, in addition to critically-acclaimed award-winners such as Lynne Ramsay’s You Were Never Really Here, Rungano Nyoni’s I Am Not a Witch, Chris Morris’s Four Lions and Shane Meadows’ This is England.

Find out more about ways we support and work with artists here