Interview With…Tori Allen-Martin and Sarah Henley

Emma Clarendon chatted to Tori Allen-Martin and Sarah Henley about their new not-for-profit organisation, Burn Bright.

Hi Sarah and Tori, I hope you’re both keeping well. Could you explain more about your organisation Burn Bright? Burn Bright is a not for profit organisation which aims to level the playing field in as many ways as
possible for writers who identify as women. Ultimately, we hope it will prevent writers facing some of the hurdles we did – we hope it’ll help to connect and inspire women writers to tell their stories, in their own voices, and on their own terms, and to feel that help and support is accessible to them in a way that is not usually as readily available as it should be. We hope it’ll bring much needed change to the industry.

How did the idea for Burn Bright come about? It came about because of a situation we had where we were pushed off a project and not credited
for our work. We had worked so hard for so long to finally receive an opportunity like this one, only to find ourselves side-lined and all requests purely for our work to be properly acknowledged ignored – there’s a lot more about it on our website – we’re keen not to
dwell on the past because we are looking forward and the future burns bright.

Could you tell me more about the types of initiatives that you are working on within the organisation? Currently we have the Time Bank which offers women writers the chance to connect one-on-one
with industry professionals offering mentorship, feedback and advice, with very little red tape. We also are doing Better in Person – an online event, which just took place and there will be more of in the future – where we commission women writers to write short stories designed specifically for
Zoom so that we can move with the times and create work fit for purpose, where you don’t have to be a famous writer to have your voice heard. There’s much more to follow too.

For those wanting to get involved with Burn Bright in some form how can they? Visit our website – and follow our socials @we_burnbright on Instagram and Twitter. We share all opportunities there and are as responsive as humanly possible. We get emails asking to be considered for things but it can be hard to keep track of everyone, so unless it’s very specific – the best way is to keep an eye on socials – we will never make the submission process complicated or time consuming, we’re very against that as we know how it feels. If you have an idea of something you could offer in terms of help or support then you can contact us direct via our website.

Who would you say inspires you working in this industry? I think each other and our friends who are trailblazers and won’t sit down and sit pretty to suck up to the big bods. People like our friend Morgan Lloyd Malcolm – she massively inspires us. As do actors like Daniel Kaluuya and John Boyega who won’t compromise their beliefs for popularity or likes.

Do you have an ultimate goal for Burn Bright?  To make theatre fairer for women – to create a safe space where women can have their voices
heard and to have fun doing it – where a diverse network of people can share ideas and connect and create – we want to spread love, support and solidarity – we want to be the change we want to see so no doubt it’ll keep evolving and that’s exciting. We want marginalised groups to feel represented, supported and heard because it’s what is deserved.

By Emma Clarendon

To find out more about Burn Bright visit:

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