School of English Literature, Language and Linguistics

Staff Profile

Dr Zoe Cooper

Lecturer in Creative Writing


I am a playwright. 

Recent work includes: 

Jess and Joe Forever, which played at the Orange Tree in London in 2016 before touring. It then had a second run at the Traverse Theatre in 2017. It received a new production at the Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough. It has since enjoyed productions in Australia and the Czech Republic. A production in the US will take place next year. I won the Off West End Most Promising Playwright Award for the play. 

The Snow Queen, a new theatrical version of the short story by Hans Christian Andersen, with songs by the award winning singer and song writer Josienne Clarke. The play was commissioned by the National Theatre's 'Let's Play' scheme in 2018. The 'Let's Play' scheme commissions new plays for primary school children to perform. The Snow Queen has since enjoyed many school productions all over the country. 

Out of Water, which was commissioned by the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Orange Tree Theatre. It opened in April 2019 at the Orange Tree. The play was shortlisted for the Charles Wintour Evening Standard Award and was a Finalist for the Susan Smith Blackburn Award.

As a playwright I have worked/am working with: the National Theatre, Live Theatre, Old Vic Theatre,  Paines Plough, the Orange Tree Theatre, Farnham Maltings, Unicorn Theatre, the Leeds Playhouse, Theatre503, Northern Stage and the Royal Shakespeare Company amongst others.

I was the inaugural winner of the ScreenSkills New Writers Award in 2019. My work has been shortlisted for the Rod Hall Memorial Award and the Adrienne Benham Award.  I have undertaken residencies at the Macdowell Colony and Yaddo. I have been awarded a TS Eliot Commission. Four of my plays are published by Bloomsbury/Methuen. 

After growing up in London, I studied at Cambridge University. I then worked in theatre for a number of years in London as a literary officer and script reader. I trained as a playwright on the Royal Court Young Writer's Programme and on the playwriting Masters at Birmingham University, taught by Steve Waters. I completed my PhD at Newcastle University, supported by funding from the AHRC.

I am represented by Jonathan Kinnersley at The Agency. All professional enquiries about my work as a playwright should be directed to Jonathan.


This year (2020-2021) I am the module leader on the following modules: 

SEL22226: Theatre Script Workshop

SEL3401: Script Portfolio

This year I will also be lecturing on SEL1000 and SEL2215.

I am currently supervising two playwrights at PhD, both of whom are supported by an AHRC Northern Bridge studentship and a script student at MLitt.

My office hours for semester 1 are:

Tuesdays: 5-630pm

Wednesdays: 5-630pm

Office hours are currently via Zoom, so please email me in advance if you wish to set up a meeting

Please note I am a part time member of staff, and my University days this year will be Tuesday - Wednesday mornings.