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Zoe Cooper


Zoe is a playwright and theatre practitioner. Her latest play OUT OF WATER played at the Orange Tree Theatre between April 27th – 1st June 2019. It was produced in association with the RSC. Chosen from an international group of over 160 nominated plays,  OUT OF WATER has been named as a finalist in the 2020 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize. It was also shortlisted for the Charles Wintour Award for Most Promising Playwright at the Evening Standard Awards 2019, and nominated for the ‘Best New Production of a Play’ Award in the Broadway World UK Awards.

In TV, Zoe is the first recipient of the ScreenSkills New Writer’s Award, and has contributed an episode for the forthcoming series of CALL THE MIDWIFE (Neal Street Productions).

Praise for OUT OF WATER:

“Captivating… Whatever it is that distinguishes rare writing talent, Zoe Cooper has got it. ★★★★” The Guardian

“With a tang of authenticity and a powerful emotional undertow beneath its gently eddying surface, Zoe Cooper’s new play is a stealthy enchantment. A tale of gender, love, myth and motherhood drenched in the bracing brine and ozone of the Tyneside coast, it has a dreaminess that drifts through the ebb and flow of life in a small community…Out of Water is poetic, rich and strange; it’s also beadily observed and sharply funny. ★★★★” The Times

★★★★★ Broadway World
★★★★★ London Theatre 1
★★★★ Time Out
★★★★ The Stage
★★★★ The Upcoming
★★★★ Essential Theatre

Her play JESS AND JOE FOREVER won her the Most Promising Playwright Award at the Off West End Awards 2017 and was longlisted for the Evening Standard Most Promising Playwright Award for its production at the Orange Tree. It then went on a UK Tour, played at the Traverse during the Edinburgh Festival 2017, and was revived at the Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough from 25th October 2018.


★★★★ “If Zoe Cooper’s play looks like a country boy meets city girl story, it springs a whole heap of surprises before it’s done.” Matt Trueman, WhatsOnStage

★★★★ “This is a small play with a big heart, a romantic comedy that’s genuinely funny but also unexpectedly powerful.” Henry Hitchings, Evening Standard

★★★★ “very wise, very funny – and feels utterly authentic.” Miriam Gillinson, Time Out 

★★★★ “quirky, funny, moving and theatrically thrilling – a small play that packs a great emotional punch…it is Cooper’s choice of theatrical form that raises this small story to sublime heights.” Aleks Sierz, The Arts Desk

★★★★ “The lightness of touch and splashes of humour quietly, charmingly, deftly coalesce into heartrending and heartwarming beauty.” Tim Bano, The Stage

Zoe is also writing new plays for the National Theatre, Northern Stage, Leeds Playhouse & Unicorn Theatre.

She participated in Paines Plough and Fiery Angel’s The Big Room, which is a scheme for 5 established playwrights to create work for larger audiences. Zoe is also completing a PhD at Newcastle University, where she also lectures on drama. Zoe took the M Phil in Playwriting at the University of Birmingham and was on the Royal Court Young Writers Programme. She worked as literary assistant at Hampstead Theatre and her plays Nativities and Petrification were developed and produced at Live Theatre in 2012 and 2016 respectively.


Out of Water
Commissioned by RSC and Orange Tree Theatre
Director Guy Jones
Finalist in the 2020 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize. Shortlisted for the Charles Wintour Award for Most Promising Playwright at the Evening Standard Awards 2019. Nominated for the ‘Best New Production of a Play’ Award in the Broadway World UK Awards.

The Snow Queen
National Theatre
‘Let’s Play’ Initative

Jess and Joe Forever
Producer Farnham Maltings & Orange Tree Theatre
Director Derek Bond
Commission from Old Vic New Voices as part of their TS Eliot Exchange project.
Winner of the Most Promising Playwright Award at the Off West End Awards 2017
Orange Tree Theatre, UK Tour, Traverse Theatre, Stephen Joseph Theatre

Director Mark Maughan
Developed for Telltale Theatre Co, Northern Stage and Live Theatre

Man on the Moon
Director Ruth Johnson
Stage adaptation of Simon Bartram’s children’s picture book.
UK Tour

Wolf Pack
Commission from Live Theatre

Learning How to Swim
In development with Oval House Theatre

Director Max Roberts
Live Theatre, Newcastle

The Father
Director Jane Fallowfield
Adaptation of an August Strindberg play
National Theatre Studio

Oval House

Director Steve Marmion & MAx Roberts
Soho Theatre/Live Theatre

Director Lisa Blair
Royal Shakespeare Company

Silent Night
Theatre 503

Short play about celebrity
Theatre 503

The Interview
Rapid-response piece
Theatre 503


Creative England film
Feature film for Creative England’s iWrite scheme

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Not to be reproduced in any form without permission of the Copyright holder.

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