Shaun McCarthy is a professional playwright and dramaturge for stage and radio, a university and community arts creative writing tutor and author of over twenty educational resources titles. He is currently Royal Literary Fund Fellow in Residence at Cardiff University and teaches short courses in writing for performance at Oxford and Bristol universities.

Recent new plays for stage include BEANFIELD and CIRCUS BRITANNICA (2010, 2011, both for Bike Shed Theatre, playing in Exeter, Bristol and London), COLLIDER (2009, Ustinov Studio, Theatre Royal Bath and Katie Read’s Saturday Matinee Company, Oxford), NO BLIND FAITH (2009, Ustinov Studio) and SAFE (2008, Hen and Chickens Theatre, London, winner of Grit Productions New Writing Award). Commissioned adaptations and new writing for stage include A CHRISTMAS CAROL, SMOKE AND MIRRORS, also for Bike Shed Theatre, their 2011 Christmas show, and VENICE ISN’T LONDON, for Mutiny Theatre. (This show toured London by boat to raise awareness of the threat of flooding from rising sea levels. Unfortunately, the ‘consultants’ hired to advise London are Venetian commedia dell’arte characters who think a flooded city desirable and highly romantic.)

Most of these plays have combined highly theatrical design and language with themes that spring from strong left wing and internationalist commitments. He is, however, currently under commission to write a comedy!

Shaun designs and delivers a wide range of writing for performance courses, one day master classes for writing groups, festivals, schools and colleges etc, and is always ready to discuss opportunities with potential clients.

Shaun’s writing for stage has been financially supported by The Royal Literary Fund, Arts Council England and The Peggy Ramsay Foundation

Current Projects

Shaun is currently funded to work with a director, dramarturge and actors to develop a new play, THE HOOLIGAN NIGHTS, in a week of rehearsal-based research and development.

He is also co-writing a musical, SCRUMPY AND WESTERN: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF ADGE CUTLER, with writer Tom Henry. While THE HOOLIGAN NIGHTS explores the striking parallels between the late Victorian London hooligans and contemporary gangs and their street violence and postcode wars, Tom and Shaun envisage their musical as being ‘a good night out’ with fast-paced comedy, impossible feats of doubling and of course Adge’s ‘agricultural arias’, fuelled by limitless cider.

For radio, Shaun is completing a single drama (Daily Play) for BBC Radio 4. FROST FAIR is a comedy (with a critical edge) that imagines what might happen if colder winters allowed for the possibility of a modern version of the ‘frost fairs’ that sprang up, unlicensed and unregulated, on the River Thames two hundred years ago. Will contemporary capitalism destroy the basic pleasures that once delighted many ordinary citizens and incensed city authorities who found they had little control over the temporary, icy realm of the ‘lord of misrule’?

A short play available to read or download

At the bottom of the list of stage and radio productions on the ‘Plays’ page of this site you will find a link to a full script in PDF format which can be read online or downloaded. A BRAVE VESSEL is a ‘calling card’ designed to show both the style and content that typifies much of Shaun’s current writing.