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Jessica Swale

Writer, Director
Agent: Helen Mumby

WRITER, DIRECTOR

Jessica is an Olivier award winning film maker, writer and director. She trained at Central School of Speech and Drama and Exeter University.

As a playwright, her first play Blue Stockings (Shakespeare’s Globe) won her an Evening Standard Most Promising Playwright nomination and is now on the GCSE drama syllabus.

Her second, Nell Gwynn, transferred from the Globe to the West End starring Gemma Arterton, and won the Olivier for Best New Comedy. She is currently writing the screenplay for Working Title. In 2012 she won a BAFTA JJ Screenwriting Bursary.

As a film maker, her first short, the comedy Leading Lady Parts (starring Felicity Jones, Florence Pugh, Emilia Clarke, Tom Hiddleston, Gemma Chan and other luminaries) became a viral hit with over 25 million views.

She then wrote and director her debut movie, Summerland in 2020, which was released by IFC Films and Lionsgate on July 31 to great acclaim. The British period drama, starring Gemma Arterton, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Tom Courtenay and Lucas Bond, is a visually stunning and heartfelt story about a folklore writer (Arterton) who solves myths using science, and reluctantly opens her home to a World War II evacuee (Bond).

Since then she has shot two episodes of Ten Percent for Amazon/ Bron, and, as a writer, latest projects include Swan Lake for Universal Pictures to star Felicity Jones, Persuasion for Fox Searchlight, Longbourn for Studio Canal and creating a TV series, based on A Knight’s Tale for Left Bank / Sony. Previously she wrote the screenplay for Horrible Histories: The Movie.

In theatre, Jessica founded Red Handed Theatre Company in 2005, and, as Artistic Director, won the Peter Brook Empty Space Award for The Belle’s Stratagem, alongside an Evening Standard Best Director nomination. As director, work includes Fallen Angels (Salisbury Playhouse), Bedlam (Shakespeare's Globe), Winter (Theatre Newfoundland, Canada) and Sleuth, Sense and Sensibility and Far from the Madding Crowd (Watermill Theatre) and numerous productions at the Arcola, the Park and Southwark Playhouse.

Jessica has also written many much performed adaptations of classic novels for the stage, including The Secret Garden, Far from the Madding Crowd, Sense and Sensibility, The Jungle Book and Stig of the Dump.

Jessica is also an Associate Artist with International NGO Youth Bridge Global, who use theatre as a development tool in war torn countries. As such she’s directed community productions of Comedy of Errors, The Tempest and Much Ado about Nothing in the Balkans and the Marshall Islands (North Pacific).

She is author of a best-selling series of drama games books, published by Nick Hern.

Jessica is involved in Times Up UK and the 50:50 campaign, actively campaigning for greater equality across theatre and film.