Naomi is delighted to announce that SAME SAME DIFFERENT will be developed and produced with the support of Eclipse Theatre Company, York Theatre Royal and Pilot Theatre as one of Eclipse’s Slate Commissions.
During 2016 Naomi gathered stories from adoptees and their families about family life, identity and belonging via a series of face to face interviews and an online anonymous survey. Using the words stories and exeriences of these families she wrote a new verbatim play exploring the “nature vs nurture” debate and how both influence identity.
A week of Research and Development was held at STUN Studio in Z-arts during February 2017 culminating in an informal sharing for an invited audience who gave feedback. The piece is currently under a second phase of development with its commissioning partners and will tour during early 2019.
The Presence Project is the creative element of Beyond The Western Front a local history project co-ordinated by Identity on Tyne which researched the contribution of Black, Asian and ethnic minorities in the First World War.
Naomi is one of 7 BAME writers who has been commissioned to use the primary research gathered by Beyond The Western Front to create poetry in response to the stories of immigrants who came to serve during WW1 and how some of their ancestors continue to live in the North East.Being of Chinese ethnicity, Naomi’s research is focused on the Chinese Labour Corps.
This original poetry will be audio recorded to accompany an interactive installation of voices. At the same time of the recording taking place, the writers will be photographed . These portraits will form part of the final exhibition along with the audio recordings.
Naomi was one of the National Theate’s 2017 Step Change cohort where she further explored making the transition from working in Community Engagement and Participation to New Works and Literary Management.
During her year on the programme she spent time working at the National Theatre’s New Work’s learning from Head Dramaturg Nina Steiger and Live Theatre Newcastle. She also received mentoring from Box of Tricks Theatre Company and Ola Animashawun, Associate Artist at The Royal Court Theatre.
Naomi was commissioned to write a response piece to source material from the Gertrude Bell archives at Newcastle university as part of the Beyond Destruction project. This project looks at how the First World War impacted the Middle East comparing it with present day conflict and displaced people.
Beyond Destruction, aims to uncover hidden histories within the Gertrude Bell archives at Newcastle University to bring to light a more extensive knowledge of the Middle Eastern communities before and during the First World War. Bell, a British woman travelled extensively in the Ottoman Empire before WWI and helped establish the modern state of Iraq, recorded details of minority groups within 7000 photographs, archaeological records and textual sources https://research.ncl.ac.uk/
The response pieces will be featured on the Beyond The Western Front website.
in The Spotlight 2016 Anthology
As one of Commonword’s Women in The Spotlight, Naomi has had several poems published in an Anthology alongside work from the other writers on the scheme.
The Anthology titled Sounds That Exceed 80 Decibels was launched on 5th May 2017 at an event at The Three Minute Theatre in Manchester with readings from the featured writers.
Anthologies can be purchased by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
YOURS was selected by Pokfulam Rd Productions to be included in the first ever Foreign Goods Last Forever, a showcase of new work by female British South East Asian playwrights. The event took place on 29th November 2016 at Theatre 503 in London with support from Old Vic New Voices Lab and China Exchange.
Inspired by Naomi’s own adoption experience, YOURS is about inter-cultural adoption and adoptee meeting their birth mother for the first time. The key question the play asks is “What does it mean to be a Mother?”.
The writers spoke about South East Asian Representation in Theatre to Exeunt Magazine covering stereotypes, quotas, parental pressure and why British East Asian stories need to be told.
YOURS by Naomi Sumner is highly dramatic, for two reasons. Firstly, there’s some excellent and witty poetry to be enjoyed to begin with. Secondly, the dialogue that follows retains a richness of language that is far from naturalistic but nonetheless compelling. (www.londontheatre1.com)
Following on from the success of the first performance at Theatre 503, Naomi and the cast are now looking for other opportunities to share this short play in London and nationally.
The first play YOURS by Naomi Sumner was undoubtedly the best one in the show. The plot was strong and intriguing, exploring what it means to be British with Asian heritage. The writing was poetic and lyrical… (www.everything-theatre.co.uk)