Belfast Lyric appoints new writer-in-residence

Michael Quinn

Actor-turned-playwright Abbie Spallen is to succeed David Ireland as the Lyric Theatre Belfast’s new writer-in-residence.

The Newry-born writer has previously enjoyed attachments to the Royal Court and National Theatre, and scored a hit in 2007 with her play Pumpgirl, which garnered a clutch of nominations and awards and was seen at the Bush Theatre, the Traverse and in the US.

Spallen said she was “thrilled” by the appointment and is looking forward to working “with newer playwrights during my year here”. She added: “I am very excited to see how we can learn from each other as artists to produce work that is vital, unflinching and relevant to all parts of our changing society.”

She will also be writing a new play “celebrating Northern Ireland and specifically the Lyric’s place as a symbol of neutrality.”

The Lyric’s artistic director Richard Croxford said: “We are delighted to have such a skilled writer as Abbie Spallen take up the post of writer-in-residence. She has such a fine touch with dialogue and has already produced some very gutsy and exciting work for the Lyric. Anyone who saw Pumpgirl will know what a talent we have working with us. We look forward to supporting her over the next year.”

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