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> > Clive Essame

I have lived with an impairment since birth. I have worked with people who are disadvantaged for one reason or another for many years and have been a professional writer and workshop leader since the early 1990s. I worked with South African actor and writer Ellis Pearson to create my first play Impisi – about disability and identity; and Devon based writer Judith Maitland on Mbali – about mental ill health.

The best place to write a play!

22 December 2015


A photograph of a performance of Clive Essame's Impisi in Grahamstown in South Africa featuring performers Sdumo Mtshali and Ellis Pearson

There can be few places that can be better to write a play script than on the beach in Durban, South Africa! Having been so impressed by the work of South African actor/writer Ellis Pearson, and made a plan to tell the story I wanted to tell about disability and ‘difference’, I went home. I raised enough money from commercial sponsorship through a family member to return to South Africa, and write the play. I was writing with Ellis, who has no direct experience of disability, and he...

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Writer Clive Essame, creates innovative theatre inspired by the sounds and sights of the African bush.

11 December 2015


watercolour illustration of a lion's face

People of all ages ask me why I have written two plays; Impisi is about disability and Mbali is about mental ill-health; using African wild animals as the main characters – good question!   It all started in South Africa a few years ago when I was taken to see a performance by two amazing actors in a school hall in front of over 100 young pupils. They were telling the story of poor people who were displaced by wealthy property developers after the tsunami of 2004 – the main...

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