Jessica Swale

Jessica Swale Portrait


As a Writer/Adaptor for Theatre, credits include: NELL GWYNN (Olivier Award for Best New Comedy, West End, Shakespeare’s Globe; Dir: Christopher Luscombe); THE MISSION (Arts Ed); THE PLAYHOUSE APPRENTICE (for Dulwich College at The Sam Wanamaker Playhouse); THOMAS TALLIS (The Sam Wanamaker Playhouse; Dir: Adele Thomas); BLUE STOCKINGS (Shakespeare’s Globe; Dir: John Dove); STIG OF THE DUMP; THE SECRET GARDEN (Grosvenor Park Theatre). FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD; SENSE & SENSIBILITY (Watermill Theatre); ALL’S WILL THAT ENDS WILL (Bremen Shakespeare Theatre, Germany; Dir: Raz Shaw)

Screenwriting projects include: NELL GWYNN (Working Title; in development).

In 2014 Jessica was a recipient of the JJ Screenwriting Bursary in Association with BAFTA during which she completed an original screenplay; SUMMERLAND.

As Director credits include: THE COMPLETE WALKS (THE TEMPEST, MUCH ADO & TWELFTH NIGHT) (Shakespeare’s Globe); FALLEN ANGELS (Salisbury Playhouse); FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD; SENSE AND SENSIBILITY; SLEUTH (Watermill Theatre); THE SCHOOL FOR SCANDAL (Park Theatre); THE BUSY BODY; SOMEONE WHO’LL WATCH OVER ME; THE BELLE’S STRATAGEM (Southwark Playhouse); ONE TURBULENT AMBASSADOR (LAMDA at Lyric Hammersmith); THE ROVER; THE HOUSE OF SPECIAL PURPOSE (RADA); THE TEMPEST (Mostar, Bosnia-in-Herzigovina); WINTER (Newfoundland Theatre, Canada); MURDER IN SAMARKAND – a new play by Robin Soans (LAMDA The Long Project – 2011/12); MAN OF MODE (Guildhall); PALACE OF THE END (Arcola); BEDLAM (Shakespeare’s Globe); THE RIVALS (Southwark Playhouse); MAD KINGS AND ENGLISHMEN; SCHOOL FOR SCANDAL (Bridewell Theatre and Tour); FINDING ALICE (A Single Leaf Co. Tricycle, Lyric and Tour); MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING (Youth Bridge Global, Bosnia-in-Herzigovina and Tour); TWELFTH NIGHT (Bridewell Theatre); COMEDY OF ERRORS (Youth Bridge Global, Marshall Islands, South Pacific); THE GLASS TOWER (Pleasance Theatre); LOST LUGGAGE (Theatre Royal Haymarket – Workshop Performance); BAGHDAD BABY/BARE (Camden People’s Theatre) 

As Associate Director: HENRY IV PART I AND II (Shakespeare’s Globe); ANDERSEN’S ENGLISH (Hampstead Theatre & National Tour, Out of Joint); MIXED UP NORTH, DREAMS OF VIOLENCE (Out of Joint, National Tour)

Jessica is the Artistic Director of RED HANDED THEATRE COMPANY which aims to produce fresh interpretations of classics and develop new writing. She is also an Associate Director for YOUTH BRIDGE GLOBAL, an International NGO which uses theatre as a development tool and aims to instil social and linguistic skills in the participants and assist damaged communities worldwide. She became an Artistic Associate of Shared Experience in 2017. 

06 March 2018

THE JUNGLE BOOK by Jessica Swale is currently on tour around the UK.

THE JUNGLE BOOK by Jessica Swale is currently on tour around the UK.

Adapted from Rudyard Kipling’s classic tale, Jessica Swale brings a fresh take with this new production currently touring the UK, directed by Max Webster. 

The Stage ★★★★

“joyfully inclusive spirit”

“it all coheres through Swale’s pacy, comic script” 

LondonTheatre1 ★★★★

“a real treat for the all-ages audience”

“Her powerful patriarchy-busting panther was a delight and an excellent role model to Mowgli”

“a fab night out full of colour, laughter, thrilling music and more” 

WhatsOnStage ★★★★

“Swale teases fresh ideas out of a story you may think you know already. It feels largely contemporary – a celebration of diversity and the power of family, no matter what form it takes.”

“a Jungle Book for the present day, one ready to enchant and educate in equal measure.”

The Reviews Hub ★★★★

“All of this… culminate in a show that is a true showcase of extraordinary talent and skill.”

“a family-friendly, visually impressive, toe-tapping, feel-good show… while also providing a subtle social commentary, and that’s exactly what it needs to be.”

21 July 2016

Jessica Swale and Derek Bond open STIG OF THE DUMP at Grosvenor Open Air Theatre

Jessica Swale and Derek Bond open STIG OF THE DUMP at Grosvenor Open Air Theatre

Jessica Swale’s adaptation of Clive King’s classic children’s novel is directed by Derek Bond and plays in Chester until the 21st of August.

The Stage ★★★★★

“Jessica Swale has adapted the text with loving attention to detail and Derek Bond’s direction brings it to life in a way that grasps the attention of young and old alike”


“Bond’s production is likely to cause as many tears of nostalgic joy as it does youthful laughter.”

“This is family theatre of the highest standard.” 

“Outstanding adaptation and astute casting combine in a magical piece of family theatre” 

Guardian ★★★★

“the realism of Derek Bond’s production” 

“the strength of Jessica Swale’s adaptation” 

“As for the realisation of Stig himself, I wouldn’t wish to spoil the surprise; except to declare that it is pure, theatrical mahoo.”

Chester Chronicle ★★★★

“it was with no small degree of satisfaction that one heard the news that Jessica Swale, who adapted that children’s classic for GPOAT, was returning to the fold to take on another piece of landmark primary school fiction”

“what Swale has done with the tale and how director Derek Bond interprets that in the performance space was nothing short of magical.”

15 February 2016

Jessica Swale’s NELL GWYNN opens in the West End!

Jessica Swale’s NELL GWYNN opens in the West End!

Following a critically acclaimed and sell-out limited season at Shakespeare's Globe, Jessica Swale’s new comedy transfers to the West End, staring Gemma Arterton as Nell, playing until 30th April.

Telegraph ★★★★★

“gloriously funny and touching bio-drama”

“a triumph for Shakespeare’s Globe and a breakthrough for its author Jessica Swale”

“Swale bangs a playful feminist drum” 

“a right royal treat. Go.”

The Times ★★★★★

“a bawdy, witty, engaging romp.”

“it lifts you up and puts a smile on your face.”

The Stage ★★★★★

“one of the most joyous and magical evenings to be had on the London stage at the moment.”

“wonderful, warm-hearted and generous piece of theatrical history”

“Bawdy and brilliant West End transfer of Jessica Swale’s vivacious comedy” 

The Guardian ★★★★

“cannily mixes Carry On double-entendres with an explicitly feminist message.”

The Evening Standard ★★★★ 

“How jolly-making it is, in these dreary February days, to find bouncing around in the West End Jessica Swale’s witty play” 

“How pleasing to see the ladies, from Swale to Ms Gwynn herself, leading the way.” 

The Arts Desk ★★★★ 

“told by playwright Jessica Swale…with a real comic flair and a bawdy sensibility that winks and smirks its way across the stage.”

“a joyous example of popular theatre.”

London Theatre 1 ★★★★★

“a well-paced comedy with entertaining songs. I guarantee that you’ll leave with a smile on your face.” 

“fizzes with energy and colour” 

A Younger Theatre

“such a heart-warming piece of entertainment”

“Jessica Swale’s brilliant writing”

“an incredibly uplifting and notoriously fun evening”