Esosa received the Project Award, 2022, to develop her farce, DOWN WITH
JAZZ. With support from axis arts centre and Smock Alley. Esosa was Assistant Director on the Abbey Theatre's production of An
Octoroon 2021. She was then invited to direct two short form pieces, which were
shown at the Peacock Theatre. She was selected for Smock Alley’s Rachel Baptiste Programme 2022 to
develop her play, LET ME IN, which has subsequently received support from The
Everyman Theatre, Cork, with plans to go into production in 2025. She is one of the 2023 resident artists at axis, Ballymun where she will
be developing three new short form pieces. As a writer, director and performer, she creates work that amplifies the
voices of people of colour and showcases the diverse range of black experiences
in Ireland. She is a member of the newly formed Diversity
Council at Irish Theatre Institute.
What did you do with your Project
the next draft of my farce, Down with Jazz. I organised two intensive workshop
weeks. I worked with a group of actors focusing on the existing text and
developing the characters. And playing with the form of farce, finding places
in the existing script to develop characters and ideas, but also where I could
step outside of the form of a traditional farce. For the second week, I worked
one on one with director, Aoife Spillane-Hinks investigating the new ideas, thoughts
(and problems) that had come up after the first workshop.
I researched a
variety of farces (and other plays) and spent a lot of time thinking and
redrafting, then thinking and redrafting again – and yet more thinking and
What was the biggest challenge you
faced when working on your project?
The biggest challenge was not allowing myself to veer too far off my
initial goal in writing the farce. Once the play is opened up to collaboration,
it can be so easy to get swept up by the new ideas in the room so it is about
finding the balance between what is useful and potentially elevates the piece,
versus what is really brilliant and in the case of a farce, exciting and fun –
but not helping the story we are trying to tell.
What has receiving a Project award
meant to you as an artist/for your career?
It gave me the opportunity to be in a room with other professionals to
really interrogate the work and to benefit from their insight and experience.
The project award
meant that I could afford to take the time to work on this piece that I would
like to see. Being awarded the project also acted as encouragement to keep
How would you describe your creative
I’m flexible. The process can very from project to project. For this
particular project, and probably most projects, the initial seed might actually
be a number of different seeds coming together to create a new idea.
I am always thinking about my relationship with racism and its representation.
I was interested in farce. I had a thought about the ignored implications of
the history of the campaign to ban jazz in Ireland. I was thinking about the
contemporary Irish jazz scene. And eventually, there was only one logical
conclusion – write a farce about a contemporary Irish jazz festival.
I like to outline – but not in huge detail. I like to get stuck into a
first draft so I have something concrete to work from. I can then better see
what the piece wants to be and where I need to develop (or change) things.
What is the best piece of advice you
received as an emerging artist?
As an actor I was told – “Forgive yourself immediately!”. Said in the
context of if (when) you make a mistake in performance, you need to let it go
immediately and keep going otherwise you carry the
disappointment/shame/embarrassment unnecessarily throughout the rest of the
performance. We tend to be so tough on ourselves.
As a writer, I have extended that
to “don’t judge yourself”. It is important to get to the end of a piece, then
you can go back and assess the work, but it can be detrimental to judge
yourself as you write.
What or who has influenced your
practice the most?
I think I write
and create mainly because I need to! There is still a lot I would like to see
in the Irish Arts, so instead of complaining about the lack of, I choose to
create and try to make what I would like to see!
inspired by my contemporaries – we are all just trying to create. We don’t
always have the resources to make the work we would like, but we keep
going somehow. That inspires me.