Elspeth Penny: Writer, Director – audio drama, memoir and creative letter writing

Elspeth Penny (MA Cantab, MA UEA) is an award winning Writer and Director of drama, memoir and creative letter writing. She is also an arts + health specialist. She is making a second podcast drama, funded by Arts Council England. She loves handwriting, letters, teaching creativity, wilderness and dance.


Elspeth Penny (She/her) (MA Cantab, MA UEA) is an award winning Writer and Director, making stories which empower and give voice to marginalised communities which are funny, shocking and conversation starting using drama, memoir and drama. Funded by Arts Council England, Wellcome Trust, Bristol, Nottingham and Durham University and ESRC IAAS. She is also an arts + health specialist. Her first podcast drama, Silva Lining’s Care Plan, funded by Arts Council England, had a stellar cast (Shappi Khorsandi, Disability Activist and actor Melissa Johns) and won five award nominations: BBC Audio Award 2022, Best Audio Fiction Series, Indie Series Awards 2022, Women’s Prize in Playwriting 2020, Rocky Awards, Miami Web Fest. Elspeth is proud to be neurodiverse.

Recent work:

  • Silva Lining’s Care Plan: Podcast drama. Three brains, two bodies, one secret plan: an absurd journey into the invisible world of the carer. Arts Council England/University of Nottingham funded, using original research – see the first phase Silva trailer. Award nominations: Shortlisted Marlene Sidaway, Best Actress, BBC Audio Award 2022, Shortlisted Best Audio Fiction Series, Indie Series Awards 2022, Longlisted for Women’s Prize in Playwriting 2020, Rocky Awards, Miami Web Fest. 
  • Out Like Fudge: Translating research into drama 2019-20: with Dr Barny Hole, a play performed at Wills Memorial Building, Bristol and Denmark in Nov 2021. Our collaboration extended in 2020 to include Letter to My Kidney, a Futures2020 funded participatory project and online exhibition. Barny and Elspeth are now developing the project along with Dr Lucy Plumb in 2021.
  • Collected and compiled Bournville Tapestry, a collection of fables about flourishing, told near the sea. This is a story telling evaluation report, commissioned by Arts and Health South West and Theatre Orchard, published in 2021.
  • Creative writing facilitator and Producer including two online courses funded by Arts Council England, Write without Rules and Your Creative Sparkle.


  • Cambridge University degree in Anthropology and Theology.
  • MA in Theatre Directing/Script Writing from UEA.
  • Enhanced Disclosure and Advanced Safeguarding for Children Level 2
  • Alumni of National Arts Fundraising School 2021, Distinction.

I have two children, I love running, dancing and yoga, I love tootling on the piano, and I am learning how to sew on a sewing machine.

Previous credits:

  • Arts&Health lead of Letter to my Breath: as part of the award-winning team at Life of Breath Project (2018 Health Humanities Award). One of two Consultants for Catch Your Breath, the end exhibition and workshop programme for Life of Breath. Two papers: Penny, E., & Malpass, A. (2019). Dear Breath: using story structure to understand the value of letter writing for those living with breathlessness–a qualitative study. Arts & health, 1-15. Read here
    Malpass, A., & Penny, E. (2019). Invisible Breath. Storytelling, Self, Society, 15(1), 43-70.
  • Creative arts and health workshop programmes developed and delivered for Nailsea Town Council, West of England Centre for Independent Living, Mindful Emotion Coaching for EHCAP, University of Bristol.
  • Twenty years of teaching at all ages and stages – for example Tutor – Leader of new MA module in Narrative at Norwich School of Art and Design and team member for new MA in Animation and Soundscape, 2002-2004.
  • Plus fifteen years of experience as a facilitator, actor and consultant for patient-medical communications.
  • Regular speaker eg at medical conferences, arts&health conferences, zooms and Tedx.
  • Wellcome Trust funded animation tv series idea development, Frankie.
  • The Owl – Writer, Director, with musician Paul Bradley. In association with Bristol Old Vic, with 2011 full house shows at St George’s Bristol.
  • BBC Doctors – Writer: Sharp Seedlings, broadcast Nov 30th 2004: An elderly woman falls out with a competitive fellow allotment holder over prize vegetables and weeds.
  • The Line Up – Writer: for Menagerie Theatre, play commissioned for reading 2005.
  • In The Same Breath – Writer/Director: short documentary film, funded by the Arts Council, previewed at Cinema City, Norwich in 2001. Currently distributed by Concord Media http://www.concordmedia.org.uk/products/in-the-same-breath-472/
  • Beauty and the Breast – Writer/Director/Producer: Performed at Battersea Arts Centre’s festival Sharp Intake of Music 1998, along with ‘cellist Matthew Barley.
  • What About Billy? Animation, Anglia TV. Radio Journalist – BBC Radio Bristol, 1991-1993

View Elspeth’s CV: 


Elspeth Penny Showreel 2 mins Writer/Creative Producer (Film)