Asif Khan announced as one of the winners of the Channel 4 Playwrights' scheme

8 February 2018

We are delighted to announce that playwright and actor Asif Khan has won a year’s paid attachment with ‘Wifco’ (Rifco Theatre Company and Watford Palace Theatre),  through the Channel 4 Playwrights’ Scheme.  WPT and Rifco jointly proposed him for this award, which celebrates and supports emerging British writing talent, as Brigid and Pravesh found they had a shared interest in his work.  The five winners were selected by the scheme’s panel chaired by Sir Richard Eyre and including Film4’s Commissioning Executive Julia Oh and Channel 4’s Head of Development for Drama, Matthew Wilson.  

Brigid Larmour, Artistic Director of WPT says "I first met Asif when he was in a workshop run by WPT on the script of our commissioned play by Neil de Souza COMING UP, which we produced in 2015. I have offered him acting work since but he was not available!  A friend who mentored him at RADA invited me to see his play COMBUSTION in the RADA festival last year, which really impressed me.” 

Pravesh Kumar, Artistic Director of Rifco says "My relationship with Asif goes back a few years now and I've been reading his scripts, including COMBUSTION, which I loved but just could not fit into our programme. We had been talking about a new play and we decided on a play around a British Muslim Stag night. Asif has a real authentic voice, which I know our Wifco audiences will love and I am very excited about him working with us.  It's rare for an artist to work in a theatre building with a resident company working together to make work that is created for local audiences.”

Over the past 40 years, the playwrights’ scheme has celebrated and supported some of the finest British playwriting talent including Tanika Gupta, who wrote WPT’s adaptation of GREAT EXPECTATIONS in 2011, Jack Thorne, who wrote STUART, A LIFE BACKWARDS, which WPT co-produced with Hightide and Sheffield Theatres in 2013.  We have a link with another of this year’s winners, Janice Okoh, who led a workshop here in the tiata delights weekend in 2015,  and has won an attachment with Menagerie.  One of last year’s winners, performance poet Zia Ahmed, can be seen  our forthcoming British Asian Festival (performance poet) and Pravesh is in discussion with Sonali Bhattacharya, another of this year’s winners, about a possible future commission.

Matthew Wilson commented: “It’s hugely exciting to help forge new relationships between theatres and writers... The theatre has always been an amazing source of original screenwriting talent – and with previous bursary winners Martin McDonagh and Jack Thorne riding high on the back of Film4’s ‘THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI’ and Channel 4’s ‘KIRI’ respectively, it’s a privilege to get a snapshot of the next generation.”  Sir Richard Eyre added: “The standard of writing put forward by Artistic Directors this year was particularly strong – and I was delighted not only by the skill shown by each of our winners, but also their willingness to tackle big contemporary questions around race and class. This award has a tremendous pedigree in identifying the best new British writers, and it’s gratifying to see that continue with Francis Turnly’s debut at The National.”

Asif is currently on tour playing Dr Aziz in A PASSAGE TO INDIA.