When Bijli Met Laura…

In April 2022, Bijli Productions had Laura Walker join us as Assistant Director for the One Mississippi tour, part of the Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival 2022.

Read more about Laura's experience with us here:


I cannot believe my luck and good fortune to have worked on One Mississippi as an Assistant Director this April. I was offered this role after winning a prize in Theatre of Diversion’s Theatre, Lime and Salt – a student-ran competition for original ten minute plays.

I was invited by Bijli’s Artistic Director, Mariem Omari, to shadow the One Mississippi rehearsals leading up to its 2022 tour. I leapt at this opportunity, and thoroughly enjoyed two weeks of observing and learning, leading warm-ups, calling lines and contributing notes and ideas to the Director, Mark Jeary-Fairbairn, and Movement Director, Skye Reynolds.

As an aspiring Director and Playwright, I was so excited to work with a professional cast and crew, and upon reading the text of One Mississippi I realised how fortunate I really was. The play is hugely emotional and passionate, full of powerful highs and lows and many heart-wrenching moments that made it an absolute joy to direct. One Mississippi is also an incredibly important play, and though the responsibility of appropriately representing real-life stories was intimidating, I always felt it was safe in the hands of a sensitive cast and Mark Jeary-Fairbairn’s equally sensitive direction.

Whilst this experience was initially described as shadowing, I was encouraged at every point to be as involved as possible and was warmly welcomed by both the creative team and the cast. I’d been apprehensive going into rehearsals that my job wouldn’t be creative, but this was a complete misconception. Both Mark and Skye were fantastic to work with, taking time to listen to my notes and try out my ideas. My age and lesser experience wasn’t felt, and like everyone else in the rehearsal room I was encouraged to contribute and voice my own interpretations of the text.

Bijli truly felt like a community during my time at rehearsals. Everyone was easy to talk to and helpful in gaining both experience in my Assistant Director role, and my understanding of the wider industry. As the rehearsals went on, I felt very safe and secure in my role and my confidence grew enormously because of this. Bijli provided a great environment to learn and grow in, as well as a fun rehearsal space and friendly community.

Moving forward, I hope to gain more creative and supportive experiences such as those I found at Bijli, alongside completing my degree and continuing to work with Theatre of Diversion. I’m hugely passionate about original Scottish drama, and hope to play a part in sharing Scottish stories in theatres soon!

Read more about One Mississippi here.