I write female-centric (and sometimes all-female) work, in a variety of mediums, that seeks to tell stories of people who are often marginalised in mainstream media. Special interests include gender, feminism, GLBT issues, the disability spectrum, and mental health. I am also a comedy writer and comedian (sketch and improv) and some kind of comedy, usually dark or satirical, runs through much of my work.
Currently one of Graeae's Write to Play writer for 2017, writing a new play for them about language control and class warfare.
|2016||Sugar Babies||High Tide Festival / St James Theatre (part of RE:act)|
|2016||Stories From My Mother||Royal Court Upstairs (part of Open Court)|
|2016||The Neighbourhood Project||The Bush Theatre|
|2016||Fallout||St James Theatre (part of RE:act) / Bread and Roses Theatre|
|2016||563 Days||Southwark Playhouse (part of Courting Drama) / Lion and Unicorn Theatre|
|2016||Des Res||Wandsworth Fringe|
|2015||Tortoise||Arcola Theatre (rehearsed reading) / Criterion Theatre (showcase)|
|2014||Tortoise Redux||New Wolsey Theatre / RichMix / Cockpit Theatre|
|2014||A Shakespearean Carol||Royal Shakespeare Theatre (part of Christmas Stage Festival)|
|N/A||The Cats of Brexit|
Claustrophilia A one-woman play about a kidnap survivor, dealing with themes of isolation, solipsism, unrequited love, and living inside your own head. Debuted at Vault Festival 17th February 2017.
Critical acclaim for Claustrophilia:
"Westerman’s writing is compelling [...] a great piece of theatre." A Younger Theatre
"A brilliant piece." Sonderlust Theatre
"A very strong piece from Westerman." View from the Cheap Seat
"A compelling and well-delivered examination of trauma, privilege and resilience. Westerman’s strong script is sturdy and thought-provoking." The Play's The Thing
"Really chilling and gripping drama. Writer Naomi Westerman is an evident real talent and strong voice and this is probably one of the best straight plays I saw at Vault this year." Time Out Online
"Anyone who has seen Westerman’s play Tortoise knows she has a knack for articulating the interior experience and showing for the stage the dichotomy between being ‘well’ and ‘of sound mind’ in public, and the private space where we let our innermost insecurities surface." Breaking the Fourth Wall. "It's a tribute to the writing, direction and performance that, at the end if the hour, I was concentrating hard. There was still more I wanted to know. I like leaving the theatre with that feeling. The show had been quite different from my expectations, and that was a very enjoyable surprise." DefineArts.
Puppy Comedy play about dogging, lesbian romance, a feminist porn. Debuted at Vault Festival, 23rd February 2017. Second place, Bread and Roses Theatre Award. Selected for the 11th Women Playwright's International Conference in Santiago, Chile.
Name checked in the Guardian and Time Out's Pick of the Week sections. Critical acclaim for Puppy:
"A quiet beauty, the writing and dialogue really capture the awkward sweetness of a relationship in its early stages. The script is a gem -- the makings of a brilliant piece of theatre." Time Out Online.
"Puppy is a powerful important piece. A gripping and personal script from Naomi Westerman [who] manages to present us with two very likable but humanly flawed characters [which] makes the whole piece believable and gives it a hook that sinks into your heart." LGBTQ Arts.
"A play that has the potential to be groundbreaking." View from the Cheap Seat.
"Puppy stacks feminism with porn, sex with sexuality, patriarchy with protest and crams it all into a one act, no mean feat, and yet Westerman weaves these challenging issues together thorough the journey of the two young girls, in a way that doesn’t feel forced but liberating. Brazen writing like Westerman’s should not only be encouraged but heralded as essential." ChristinaBulford.co.uk
Tortoise Dark comedy drama about three woman Sectioned in an NHS psychiatric ward, exploring issues of mental health, mental health treatment, and gender.
I was commissioned by the New Wolsey Theatre to write a short play ("Tortoise Redux") for their Pulse Festival, and this short was also performed at RichMix as part of their Seize the Stage female-theatre festival, and at the Cockpit Theatre. I extended the piece into a full-length play, which had a showcase performance at the Criterion Theatre and a rehearsed reading at the Arcola Theatre. I am currently in talks with a number of theatres and production companies for a full run.
Tortoise was developed through the Criterion Theatre's Playwriting Programme, and later selected for inclusion in the Arcola's Playwrought new play development programme. It was shortlisted for the Leslie Scalapino Award, and Diva Magazine chose it as one of their theatre events of the month. Longlisted Bread and Roses Playwriting Award.
Critical acclaim for Tortoise:
"A good choice to open Seize the Stage and set the bar for the rest of the afternoon. The afternoon as a whole was quite extraordinary and we were privileged to be the first to have seen these plays. The variety and quality of the pieces performed were inspiring, reminding everyone of the talent within those four walls." FemaleArts.
"Although it deals with serious themes, it's not heavy. Rather, it is a funny and touching at the same time, breaks stereotypes about mental illness forces you to think and ask questions. [...] Very well-received." Zachodnikoniec.
Body Political Adaptation of Aristophanes' comic play Ecclesiazusae.
Fallout One-man play. "Simon is going to be a STAR, BABY! At 30, he's finally achieved his lifelong dream: to have his own cabaret show. The audience never leave. Literally. But why are the foot-thick metal doors to the outside locked and bolted?" This was written for the St James Theatre's RE:act, and then had a week-long run at the Bread and Roses Theatre and a one-off scratch performance at the Pleasance.
Absolutely Battersea & Clapham Magazine's Show of the Month and London Pub Theatre Magazine's Top Pick for July.
563 Days Short version of the play that would go on to become Claustrophilia. It has been performed at the Southwark Playhouse (as part of Courting Drama) and the Lion and Unicorn Theatre.
A Shakespearean Carol An adaptation of A Christmas Carol with Shakespearean characters (Juliet, Lady Macbeth and Hamlet) replacing the ghosts. This debuted at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon as part of the Royal Shakespeare Company's Christmas Stage Festival.
War Pig Short comedy play about two elderly Jewish women organising a women's march in their Trump-loving Florida retirement community. Debuted off-Broadway as part of a female theatre festival, before a rehearsed reading at the Birmingham Rep. Will next be seen in San Francisco in August as part of a reproductive rights fundraiser.
Grandma Fought a Bear Monologue based on my ancestors' experiences as Eastern European Jewish refugees. This monologue was included in the Royal Court's 'Stories from my Mother' which had one performance at the Jerwood Theatre Upstairs as part of Open Court.
Sugar Babies Short play about two teenagers on a beach, both formenting rebellion in different ways. This was written for the St James Theatre's RE:act and was staged at the High Tide Festival in Aldeburgh. BroadwayWorld article
Des Res Short play about the Barnes Elm Guest House scandal, commissioned for the Wandsworth Fringe Festival.
Nosology Short play: a whistle-stop tour of the history of psychiatry. Debuted at Theatre N16.
Los Escapa Short horror-comedy about an idyllic vacation resort with a dark secret. Had a reading at ScriptTank.
The Cats of Brexit Short play commissioned in response to Brexit.
The Frogs Monologue for an elderly lady.Won Raindance Film Festival, Ammo Live.