© 2023 by Jennifer Farmer

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Breathing, 2003

'When they're born, in your head you know someday the breathing will stop, don't you?  Because that would be the end.  And in 505 breaths, it all stops.'

 

10:30pm. the inky sky of a Texan beach. Two couples. Twenty years apart. While Gloria and Maria try to outrun the past, Kelly and Joe attempt to avoid the future and they all just want to make it through the night. But whatever they want, time is on nobody's side.

 

'The pleasure of this play is not just in the storytelling, but in the delicate way it tackles the same issue from many angles...this raw, painful play doesn't hold back in examining grief and loss, how you can love your child and hate them for what they have done to you, and the fact that every murderer is somebody's son or daughter.' -  The Guardian

 

Originally developed on Soho Theatre's 2001 Writers' Attachment Scheme, Breathing was produced at Theatre 503 (Latchmere Theatre) in 2003 and directed by Paul Higgins.

Compact Failure, 2004

'I'm Chelle.  Not 'them'; not 'they'.  Not 'Poor Chelle'; 'Victim Chelle'.  Chelle who is a survivor.  Survive with me.  For the next three months, survive with me, Ruthie.'

 

Rules are rules.  But in a place where true friendship is gold dust, rules beg to be broken.  Old-timer Chelle thought she was done with friendship.  But she didn't count on loud, rude ex-junkie Ruthie arricing at HMP Kenton, shaking things up and giving her back her belly laughs.

 

“sharp, eloquent, electrifying” The Scotsman

 

"... as the damaged, defiant stories unravel... it is impossible to remain unmoved."
Time Out

"...has a scope, a rage, a sparky flame of life that makes it compelling and thoroughly enjoyable."
The Guardian

 

Commissioned by Clean Break Theatre Company and directed by Sarah Esdaile, Compact Failure premièred at Contact, Manchester in 2004 before a national tour to Chester Gateway, York Theatre Royal, Traverse Theatre, Arcola Theatre and several women's prisons.   Compact Failure is published by Oberon Books (professional rights) and Samuel French (amateur rights), with scenes published in Scenes from a Diverse World: A Contemporary Collection of 73 Short Scenes About Diversity with Two or Three Characters (International Centre for Women Playwrights)

Holes, 2005

Freddy and Nana are   Fighting the school bullies and holding on to Nana’s memories

 

Commissioned and produced by the National Youth Theatre is 2005, Holes was directed by Tessa Walker.

words words words, 2006

‘Are you good with words?”

 

“I have been known to turn a phrase or two.’

At a check-point a doctor, a peacekeeper, an aid worker and a journalist all try to cross over into Darfur.  But United Nations Secretary Kofi Annan and his crossword puzzle are holding things up.

 

After Rwanda, the world said never again.  words words words is part of seven short plays exploring the nature of the crisis in the Darfur region of Sudan

 

“Which theatre, other than the Tricycle, would commission a series of short plays about Darfur? And where else in London would you find such an intelligent post-show discussion about the extent of the crisis and the international response to it? It is a potent reminder that theatre, among its myriad other functions, has a mission to inform.”  - The Guardian

“Which theatre in London does most to expand consciousness? My vote goes to the Tricycle Theatre in Kilburn…one of the few dramatic masterstrokes I have encountered in new playwriting this year.” - Financial Times

 

words words words was commissioned and produced in 2006 by the Tricycle Theatre and directed by Nicolas Kent.  The seven plays of How Long Is Never: Darfur are published by Josef Weinberger.

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Bulletproof Soul, 2007

'What these Africans need to be learning about is air-con, man. I mean, I thought we were making poverty history!  What was Live 8 for, then?'

In Uganda, at a school for ex-child soldiers, Sol and Rena meet Alice. Sol is a charity worker, trying to keep his rebellious, seventeen-year-old sister Rena in line. Alice is Rena's age, but she's seen worse - and done worse - that either of them realise. As friendship develops, so does the risk of betrayal.

 

“...the gently blossoming friendship of Rena and Alice...Cassie Joseph and Demi Oyediran as the two teenager finding themselves and each other are a delight.” The Guardian
 

Directed by Natasha Betteridge in 2007 and short-listed for the 2008 Brian Way Award, Bulletproof Soul was commissioned by Birmingham Rep, where it premièred before its Midlands tour.  It is published by Oberon Books.

stutter, 2008

‘It was a Sunday night – last Sunday night – last Sunday night at 23.53.  The Moon was out, the stars were out and Luke was lying in a pool of his own blood.  And even though he had a mother, a sister, a girlfriend and a son – a loving family –, Luke was not the sleeping angel we'd like him to be.’

 

Why do we like victims, not survivors?  And why do we need our victims innocent?

 

Commissioned by Menagerie Theatre and directed by Patrick Morris, Stutter was performed at the 2008 Hotbed Festival in Cambridge and published in the Spring/Summer 2009 issue of BRAND literary magazine.

Urban Dreams, 2008

‘I’m scared of what?  Something unseen, unknown.’

 

Developed through workshops with adults, children and elders, Urban Dreams is a multi-art form participatory play that explores our need to live, play, hope and dream.

 

“The show is performed as a dream and explores some of the science of sleeping, asking why we dream and what happens when dreams are frustrated.” - British Theatre Guide

 

Commissioned and produced by London Bubble in 2008, Urban Dreams was directed by Jonathan Petherbridge.

The Fall of Lucifer, 2009

‘I have loved you like a son.  Don’t think I could’ve loved you any more than I do.’

 

In the countdown to the creation of the universe, Archangel Lucifer and project leader has a lot on his hands; the spark for ‘Life’ continues to elude Michael’s team, Beelzebub is slacking off and the Eden Garden Centre still haven’t delivered God’s Tree of Knowledge.  And to top it all off, the Seven Deadly Sins are threatening to escape from the cupboard.  But when the promotion Lucifer (and everyone else) assumed was his goes to the new guy and God’s son, Jesus, the betrayal is unbearable.  The inevitable revolution is the only way forward.

 

Developed with and written for the Belgrade Theatre's Acting Up Youth Theatre, The Fall of Lucifer was produced in their 2009 festival, The Mysteries – In Our Own Words and directed by Leon Phillips.

These Four Streets, 2009

‘I remember when we didn’t need glass for protection, fair enough it’s a safety measure but you’re shutting yourself off from your own community.’

 

Naseem is the proud owner of the African Queen Beauty Salon. Determined to make a success of the business, she delays locking up her shop one night for a final appointment, but the customer – an unruly teenager – wants more from Naseem than a haircut.  In the offices of Tabs Cabs, radio operator Grace is one of the first to hear about the violence spreading through the neighbourhood. Alone in the taxi firm’s office, behind a door that doesn’t lock, Grace just wants to remain unnoticed until things calm down. Then a man walks in and demands a hammer…

 

These Four Streets is a collaboration between six writers, Naylah Ahmed, Sonali Bhattacharyya, Jennifer Farmer, Lorna French, Amber Lone and Cheryl Akila Payne.  Inspired by meetings and interviews with local people who were connected to or affected by the Lozells riots of 2005, the play explores the power of rumour and what it feels like to live in a place that everybody else has given up on. It is the story of a divided community and of the people brave enough to reach across that divide.

 

“Here are writers attempting to unite and mend a community.” - The Independent

 

“...the 80 minutes are over too soon.” - The Times

 

Commissioned and produced by Birmingham Rep, These Four Streets was directed by Gwenda Hughes for its 2009 première at Birmingham Rep and its Midlands tour.

Truth or Dare, 2012 and 2017

'Coz he’s nicer drunk than he is sober.  You know it and I know it.  That, there, is nothing when he’s not had a skin full.  Doesn’t even compare.  Remember that girl, okay, next time you question me.  Remember that.’

 

When learning to accept the truth, a group of young people and those around them discover that the right choice is not always the easiest one. Do they dare find the answers they might not want to hear? A series of interconnecting stories explores what happens when saving yourself could mean hurting the ones you love.

 

Commissioned and produced by the Belgrade Theatre, Truth or Dare was written with and for their Acting Out Youth Theatre as part of the theatre's Creative Gymnasium project, which champions to stimulate engagement with the arts as a way to promote health and well-being – both through participating in arts activity and as a way of exploring key issues.  Truth of Dare premièred at the Belgrade in 2012 and was directed by Orla O'Connor.

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