Zodwa Nyoni

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Zodwa Nyoni (born c. 1988) is a Zimbabwean-born poet and playwright, whose works have been performed at the Leeds Playhouse and the Royal Exchange. She was a finalist in the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize.


  • At the time when I did my course it was attached to a Theatre Studies Foundation Degree at Leeds College. I needed to do a top up year to get a BA. The previous course has been more traditional theatre and the year at Beckett introduced me to performance art.
  • I recently became a Lecturer in Scriptwriting at Manchester Metropolitan University. Previously, I worked at the University of Manchester (Drama), Warwick University (Poetry) and guest lectured at Leeds Beckett (Performance). My teaching is attached to my work as a poet, screenwriter, playwright, dramaturg and director. I have been working as a freelancer for 15 years. I have performed poetry and competed in international poetry slams. My theatre work has been produced across the UK, France, Germany, South Africa, Zimbabwe and USA. I have made short films and produced radio plays. I have purposely worked on multidisciplinary projects to challenge myself as a writer and grow my skills.
  • Where possible, I took part in various development programmes and workshops. These helped me move through various mediums and build networks over the years. As a result of my industry experience, I'd be invited to lead workshops for arts organisations, theatres, schools and universities. I built a teaching portfolio while simultaneously continuing to do my vocation. When the position at MMU came up, it welcomed applicants who had industry experience where a PhD was missing. I knew I was qualified for the job.
  • The course introduced me to new performance principles and techniques. It gave me an appreciation for performance art. However, it crucially highlighted that as much as I enjoyed performing work, writing was where I thrived more. Researching and creating scripts is a genuine passion.
  • I've had many proud moments over the years. When I was 17, I represented the UK with Leeds Young Authors at Brave New Voices International Poetry Slam in New York.
  • In 2014, my first play BOI BOI IS DEAD won the Channel 4 Playwrights Scheme and was a finalist for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize.
  • My plays are published by Bloomsbury. My first narrative short, THE ANCESTORS premiered at the Pan African Film Festival in LA in February 2023.
  • This month, the spin off anime Castlevania: Nocturne premiered on Netflix. I am one of the screenwriters on the series.
  • The performance of my final project, HOME HAS DIED was my favourite memory. The project was a tribute to family members who had passed away. It touched on migration, disconnection, grief and healing. It was my first ever solo show. My mum joined me on stage. She played the drum and sang.
  • The notion of discovery is very important to hold on to. Sometimes we think we know who we are or what an idea is; or we are debilitated by what it isn't or what we aren't. But by remaining in a space of discovery you'll be open to experiment, to ask for help, to throw things out and receive the unknown, to collaborate with other practitioners and to put yourself forward for opportunities. You'll be scared, but still do it and discover what comes.
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