Call Out: writing commission opportunity to adapt 'Home Girl', a novel by Alex Wheatle MBE

Are you a professional writer interested in the opportunity to adapt an established novel for performance, in collaboration with young theatre makers aged 16-25?

Derby Theatre is offering an exciting writing commission opportunity to collaborate with young theatre makers, Derby Theatre, Derby’s Cultural Education Partnership and British novelist, Alex Wheatle MBE, writer of Home Girl, Crongton Knights and The Guardian Children's Fiction Prize winner.

This opportunity is being offered as part of our Reimagine and Plus One Projects, which place young people’s voices at the centre of a creative process.

We welcome and encourage people from underrepresented backgrounds to apply. We are committed to providing opportunities for people of colour, Deaf or disabled people and people who identify as trans and gender diverse.

We would also be interested in hearing from writers with a lived experience of the Care system.

We would particularly like to hear from writers who were either born, raised or are now based in the Midlands.

We will provide suitable access provision and support, in consultation with the people we work with.

Home Girl Adaptation - work with young people

The Brief

Derby Theatre and Derby’s Cultural Education Partnership has partnered with award-winning British novelist, Alex Wheatle MBE to commission a writer to work with young theatre makers to write a brand new stage adaptation of Alex’s novel, Home Girl, which will be performed at Derby Theatre during Summer 2021*

This specially commissioned adaption of the novel will be directed by Derby Theatre’s Artistic Director, Sarah Brigham and will be performed by a professional company of actors and young performers.

Home Girl follows the story of a young girl in care who struggles to adapt to the foster care system. More information can be found here.

Working with Young People

We are inviting applications from writers who have a strong interest in co-creating work with young theatre makers aged between 16-25. 

Within the adaptation, we are keen to explore opportunities to include new text written by the young theatre makers. Many of these young people will have experience of the care system, and so will bring a unique viewpoint to the process.

Creative discussions and workshops will initially take place on Zoom to bring the young people together, inspiring them to produce excellent ideas and authentic language.

We imagine there will be around 5-10 young people in the discussions and workshops. We are looking for applicants who will be confident working in a virtual space, creatively supporting and mentoring young people through their ideas. You will also be working with Alex Wheatle himself who will contribute to the sessions.

Length and Age Guidance

The final adaptation should be no longer than one hour in length and needs to be suitable for a flexible cast of 15-30 performers and an audience with the age guidance of 11+.

Alex Wheatle - Home Girl Adaptation Call Out

How to Apply

We are looking for a writer with at least 2 professional** production credits.

You will need to send:

- A full CV (including writing and work experience) with full contact details.

- An extract of your previous work, no longer than 10 pages.

- A completed Equality and Diversity monitoring form

Please send to Stuart Allen with 'Home Girl Adaptation Submission' in the subject line.

Download Equality and Diversity Form as PDF

Download Equality and Diversity Form as Word Doc


The deadline to apply is by midday on Monday 6 July. PLEASE NOTE: We cannot accept submissions after this time.

Selection Process

For those we would to like to discuss the project with further, we will invite to a Zoom session.

We will ensure feedback is given to any unsuccessful applicant, but please bear with us in sending this.

Shortlisted writers will then be invited to virtually meet the young theatre makers. Following the meeting, they will be asked to present a short proposal for how they would like to approach working with the group to successfully incorporate their voices and ideas.


July/Aug 2020 - Initial online workshops with the young people.

Monday 2 November 2020 - First draft submitted

November 2020 - Intensive Research and Development (R&D) with young people (face to face) plus one day (or two half days) to explore a draft script

Monday 4 January 2021- Rehearsal draft delivered

July 2021 – Performance (proposed w/c 12 July)


£3,992.23 (in line with current Writers’ Guild Agreement for short play). Royalty will be paid in line with Writers’ Guild Agreement.

* Much of this timetable is subject to the lifting of the Coronavirus lockdown.

** A production with a professional creative team for a minimum of a one week run.

Home Girl is part of...