Scratch the Surface is a new writing initiative that brings together some of the most exciting writers, actors and directors in an evening of theatre and networking.


New pieces are selected from an open call out and playwrights are matched with directors who bring their writing to life! Several plays from previous scratch nights have now gone on to be produced as full length productions and we are proud to have brought creatives partnerships together and to support new writers.

In October we took to the Bread & Roses Theatre for for another night of topical, exciting theatre and this time it was all about The Female Playwright!

""The evening brought together an enjoyable and innovative showcase of new writing talent.


Liz Dyer, TheBlogofTheatreThings

#iAmResilient by Lucrezia Pollice

Director: Lucrezia Pollice

Emma Uden

Catherine Deevy

Ellie Rose

Felicity Huxley-Miners

Ronald Nsubuga

#iAmResilient is an ambitious, brutally honest and technologically innovative vision on millennials, mental illness and following one’s dreams. This roller-coaster ride of an existential crisis magnifies a group of millennial’s everyday life and and provokes uneasy introspection.

Sharp Edges by Amelia Sweetland

Director: Nathan Theys

Amelia Sweetland

Life isn’t perfect. Sophie is having important guests over to her house. While she is preparing and making everything ‘just perfect’, she is interrupted by something important which sends her mind into chaos and her anxiety begins to spiral. The audience are flung into Sophie’s private struggles of debilitating anxiety, behind the facade of her high-functioning, sharp and ‘perfect’ exterior.

No-One Wants A Pretty Girl by Francesca Mepham

Director: Laura Clifford

Farran Mitchell

It's Saturday night and Amber finds herself alone watching Doctor Who, sound familiar? After splitting from her boyfriend Rich for the millionth time and suffering from loneliness due to so-called friends wanting to party rather than just catch up with her, Amber is living the Saturday night nightmare...

Manspreading by Laura Hall

Director: Niamh Handley-Vaughn

Fiona McGee

Claire Marlein

Laura Hall

Jack Cox 

This true to life play lets you peep in on the drunken
conversation of three women as they discuss feminism, vaginas, 'Yorkies' and the spreading of legs. I mean, what more could you want? It will make you laugh, cringe and most importantly shout out in battle cry as you are converted into the war on Manspreading. Come on you know you want to…. Give into the temptation… grab a pint and join the conversation. Yes, I know, that rhymed.

Maternity by Stephanie Silver

Director: Stephanie Silver

Rachel Fenwick

Jennifer Evans

Motherhood is the best time of your life. Meet Laura, she's pregnant and can't find a maternal bone in her body and meet her friend Kate whose organising her leaving do. Two woman clash in a dramatic comedy about being pregnant.

Crossing Boundaries 13th March 2017

Mushrooms by Benjamin Wal

Director: Chloe Doherty

Marina Tapakoudes

Eliza Perraine  

Two women are struggling with their relationship and decide to take magic mushrooms as a novel kind of joint therapy. The tension is clear between them, but eventually, as they wait for the drugs to have an effect, they begin to warm to each other again, and reminisce about beginning of their relationship. But as they become comfortable, a confession is made.

Should by Francesca Mepham

Director: Laura Clifford

Tayo Elesin

Should is a monologue from a series called 'No One Wants a Pretty Girl', stories from three women that are told truthfully and without sugar coating, with a hint of dark humour. Ella who has recently come to the end of a very important relationship, a relationship who was perhaps the love of her life. In this raw and honest monologue she talks openly about her selfish wants and her heart ache of seeing him with someone else.

The Interview by Mark Jones

Director: Calum Robshaw

Yusuf Bhaimia

Harry Boyd

Stephanie Houtman

Daniel Palmer has arrived at his interview only to discover that a 'Daniel Palmer' has already arrived and taken his slot. The piece mirrors our modern-day ultra-competitive job market, twisting it to the point where you have to fight for the job interview you've already been awarded.

And Another Thing by Keith Large

Director: Jaclyn Bradley

Bryony Miller

Rachel August

Introducing new boyfriends to family can be uncomfortable at the best of times, but when it’s a possibility that your sister has already met him before it takes awkward to a whole new level. This funny and fast witted piece looks at modern relationships and most importantly, modern women in relationships. ​

My Celebrity Friend by Andrew Sharpe

Director: Lily Driver

Charlotte Hunter 

Amy Kakoura

Two women, best friends at University, meet for the first time ten years after a betrayal that divided them. Tris is a twice married mother of three who reaches out to her old friend Lottie, a well- known writer and columnist. They compare how different their lives have turned out, but are either of them content?

The World Today, Hen & Chickens Theatre, November 2016

The first night was held at the Hen & Chickens Theatre on 14th November and brought together four new plays centered around the theme The World Today and hosted by actor and presenter Paul Lavers.

"The evening was compared by the capable Paul Lavers and his wry humour framed these four pieces perfectly, creating a sense of community and shared endeavour. Instinct Theatre are to be congratulated for curating an evening of thoughtful and well executed new writing" LondonPubTheatres

"Great success to Instinct Theatre in providing a platform for new writing on the London theatre scene." LondonTheatre1

"Each of the four plays featured in Scratch the Surface is complex and sensitively written and with a lively discussion in the bar afterwards, the scratch night was undoubtedly a big success; hopefully it’s the first of many." Blog of Theatre Things

Suck, Squeeze, Bang, Blow by Jonathan Skinner

Director: Hilary Burns

Harrison Trott

Felicity Huxley-Miners

An intimate look at a modern day, imperfect couple. Him and Her have lost their way and aren't sure if they want to find it again.

Tea and Good Intentions by Felicity Huxley-Miners

Director: Dominique Gerrard

Catharine Humphrys

Yusuf Bhaimia

Erin Geraghty

Lily Driver

A look at the first meeting between Adar, a Syrian refugee, and Margaret, a middle-aged housewife who has opened her home to him for all the wrong reasons much to the scandalised delight of the neighbours. 

Besides the C by Francesca Mepham

Director: Michelle Payne

Leanne Petitt

John Dayton

A couple living in Dorset near the beach. Natalie is isolated and is mentally abused by James who is cold and cruel. When she tells him she has early stage ovarian cancer this is more an inconvenience than anything else. 

Guerilla Kingdom by Saria Steyl

Director: Thomas Attwood

Laura Hall

Marina Tapakoudes

A black comedy about two women, one room, one bomb... clock's ticking.