The Crip Monologues: Writers Commission Q&A Summary

On Friday 13 October, we held a Q&A for writers interested in pitching for our new commissioning opportunity, The Crip Monologues. Here’s what we discussed.

The CRIP Monologues Banner. The text 'The CRIP Monologues' is repeated over and over again in turquoise lettering, slanting upwards from left to right. The CRIPtic Arts and Arts Council England Logos are in the top left corner.

What is The Crip Monologues?

The Crip Monologues is a theatre piece exploring what it is to experience scrutiny as a disabled person, and the ability the stage offers to reclaim that power.

The eventual show will consist of four monologues interwoven into a play, giving the sense of storytelling in a shared space. They will be performed by disabled performers, and will be performed naked. They give the performer a chance to reframe the constant power dynamic of what it is to constantly experience stares – putting the audience in the position of ‘having’ to stare, and the performer in control of those stares. At the moment, we’re just looking for authors, so no nudity required.

How did the idea for the Crip Monologues come about?

The idea for the Crip Monologues came from other famous series’ of monologues – the Vagina Monologues, the Butch Monologues, and what it meant to create theatre from a  perspective of being someone who is, in some ways, always being watched at on a stage.

The initial commission was for a residency at CPT where over a week,  Jamie Hale worked on two monologues, which they performed at a scratch night. They expected to be nervous about the nudity, but by the time they got there, they were more nervous about being in sync with the creative captions. They were also really stunned by how powerful it felt to be in the position of control over people staring for the first time: taking an often-demeaning experience, and turning it into a powerful one.

We want performers to experience that power, but also want audiences to experience something that is radical and challenging, vulnerable and intimate, forcing and expecting them to engage with what it means to be scrutinised and to experience that, but also inviting them inside the stories disabled people tell each other when it feels like there’s nobody else present. By asking audiences to confront the ways in which they scrutinise our bodies, we invite them to also understand our realities.

What is the Writers Commission?

We currently have a call-out for pitches, and from those pitches, we will commission the first 12 draft monologues. The 12 selected ideas/writers will each receive £250 to develop their pitch into a short monologue. The hope is that if we have the anthology published in future, all 12 will be in that anthology. 

Four of these will be adapted to create a semi-verbatim script based on the monologue content and performed as ‘The Crip Monologues’. The four selected writers will be paid £1000 to write their monologue and participate in a 4-day R&D in December 2023 as part of the adaption process. Within this, we anticipate keeping much of the text of the monologues intact, but adapting them to bring them together into a consistent play and world. 

We will cast performers later in the process. You can express your interest in performing in the show, but you would not perform your own monologue. 

Our long term goal for the Crip Monologues is to create a show that can tour with no performers – a script into which different monologues can be switched out for different performers in different venues, with an anthology that contains that script.

What is the ‘theme’ of The Crip Monologues

We are using the term ‘theme’ quite broadly here. The Crip Monologues centre on the ideas of observation, scrutiny, and the ways in which the disabled body becomes public property. These will be drawn together into a play, and performed naked (or whilst becoming naked), as a way of reclaiming the experience of being stared at – and doing it on our terms. 

We are looking for pieces that unpack what it is to be scrutinised. This theme is there to inspire and serve as a starting point for ideas, not to constrain you. How you interpret this theme is entirely up to you. 

Pieces can be funny, tragic, fictional, autobiographical, set in any place and time, character-driven or narrative-driven. They can reference the performer’s nudity but don’t have to. They should be in the first person from the perspective of the performer. Mostly, we want bold, ambitious ideas, ideas that spark interest and excitement.

What is the development timeline?

We are currently working to the below timeline, however this may go through some small changes:

  • 27 October: Opportunity closes
  • Early November: Interviews & Monologues commissioned
  • 6 – 24 November: Writing period for 12 writers to create draft monologues
  • 24 November: Final deadline for full monologues
  • 24 November: 4 monologues chosen from the pool of 12 to take forward to R&D
  • 4 & 5 December: Writers R&D with Dramaturg (online)
  • 6 & 7 December: Writers R&D with Dramaturg (in person) 
  • The Monologues will be performed in 2024 at Camden People’s Theatre, with other performances anticipated.

What we’re looking for in applications:

We’re asking for 3 things when you apply.

  1. A pitch of no more than 250 words, telling us about your idea. This could include telling us about the character, what will happen, and the tone it’s in.

The 250 word pitch is your chance to tell us about your idea for a monologue. We would suggest using this space to tell us:

  • Who the character is
  • What happens to the character / what story they’re telling
  • What emotional state they’re in, or the ‘tone’ of the piece
  • Why this story is interesting. What makes it unique, bold, creative?

Here, be as specific and as vivid as you can. The more you tell us about your piece, the more it will come alive.

This is going to be the main factor in us deciding which pieces to commission.

We are going to want a range of monologues, themes, topics, styles, concepts etc. When Jamie did two short pieces at Camden People’s Theatre, one of them was about being invisible in the queer community and the experience of being desexualised, and the impact of a short interaction with a man who flirted with them, and the other explored vision, communication, and the experience of navigating other people’s expectations of the progression of their underlying condition. 

We’re interested in pieces that unpack the theme in  quite a broad way, that are unique, that deal with a small aspect of scrutiny. We want to commission 12 very different and original ideas, so don’t be afraid to be bold and creative with how you respond to it.

2. A short answer (no more than 250 words) to the question, ‘How do you relate to the theme of being “the kind of disabled person who is stared at whatever they enter a room”?’

Here, we want to know how you resonate with this statement: why you feel this statement applies to you. You might talk about a specific moment where you have felt stared at, the intersecting ways you experience scrutiny, how you fit with the work, and how you connect with the theme.

The theme is at the heart of the piece, but can be interpreted very differently. You may have had very different experiences of public scrutiny to other people, but this question explores how your own experience fits with the point of this work. We’re keen to commission people with lived experiences that fit with the project, but also with a diverse range of lived experiences. This is also a chance for us to see more about how you write, so there’s a definite advantage to answering it thoughtfully and carefully.

3. A sample of your writing (no more than one side of A4). This does not have to be a script, it can be any writing you think shows us how you would write the piece, from poetry to fiction, theatre to essay.

Here, we’re looking for something that really gives us an idea of how you would address the piece you want to write, whether theme, tone, or style. It’s about getting a sense of you as a writer, and of what we’d be likely to receive if we commissioned your work.

This can be something that you’ve never shown anyone, or something previously published. You can draft it for this opportunity, or use something you’ve used lots before.

We very much want submissions in BSL as well as spoken/written English.

Apply Now

You can apply online buy clicking the below button.

If this form is not accessible to you, you can also send a written response, video (in spoken English or BSL), or voice note with the below information to If you are sending audio or video, your pitch and question answer should each be a maximum of 2.5 minutes, and the writing sample (or performance sample if in BSL) should be a maximum of 5 minutes.

1. A pitch of no more than 250 words, telling us about your idea. This could include telling us about the character, what will happen, and the tone it’s in.

2. A short answer (no more than 250 words) to the question, ‘How do you relate to the theme of being “the kind of disabled person who is stared at whatever they enter a room”?’

3. A sample of your writing (no more than one side of A4). This does not have to be a script, it can be any writing you think shows us how you would write the piece, from poetry to fiction, theatre to essay.

If you need any assistance with filling out the application, you can contact the CRIPtic team for help. We’ll be able to transcribe responses, we can’t give any advice on responses.

The closing date for submissions is 27th October, at 5pm.

Other FAQs

What do we mean by disabled?

By disabled, we mean “all people who face disableist [including audist or neurotypist] barriers”, or “people who identify themselves as disabled and/or are identified by others as disabled in society”.’

Who is this opportunity for, can people with invisible disabilities apply?

We’re looking for writers who have lived experience of being ‘the kind of disabled person who can’t enter a room without being stared at’ – and if that resonates with your experience, then we would encourage you to suggest a piece. 

This isn’t limited to people with specific impairments or conditions, we know that people might have fluctuating or dynamic conditions or be read as disabled in some environments and not others. We’re not gong to police whether this fits with your experience ourselves – but we’re looking for people who cannot avoid experiencing intensive public scrutiny and are used to being stared at by strangers.

What do you mean by ‘the tone of the piece’

Here we want you to tell us about the emotion behind the piece. Is it sad? Is it angry? Is it humorous? Is it like a piece of stand up comedy? How is the monologue being told?

I experience scrutiny for a number of reasons, not just being disabled. Can I explore that?

Yes. We’re very interested in the ways in which people face scrutiny for intersecting reasons, the different ways in which it’s experienced by disabled people who are (for example) from the global majority, or visibly queer/trans. We would love pieces that explore this.

You’ve talked about public scrutiny. Does the piece have to be set in a public space?

No – this can be set anywhere. When we say we’re looking for writers that identify with being ‘the kind of disabled person that is stared at when they enter a room’, this is to establish that the writers have that lived experience of scrutiny. The piece itself just needs to interact loosely with the theme of scrutiny, whether that is public, private, self-scrutiny. 

Between pitch, script, and R&D, can the idea evolve from the original application 

A degree of evolution is completely fine, we know that pieces change as they develop. However, we would want the ‘idea’ and tone to remain the same, we wouldn’t want the pieces to change entirely.

Do I have to be UK based?

No – you can be based internationally. However we do not have the funds for international travel for any in person work.