top of page

Janys Chambers


People often ask me - which do I like best?  Writing?  Directing?  Performing?  Teaching?  Working as a dramaturg?  And the truth is I love all these things.  But when I sit down to write a new script on my own in my room at home - it does always feel like a very special moment

Originally commissioned by BBC Radio 4 and later re-commissioned and produced by York Theatre Royal, this stage version of My Family And Other Animals has just been published by Nick Hern Books in 2022, and there are already forthcoming productions in the UK and Europe

See below for more about this production of North and South for Pitlochry Festival Theatre


Nominations and Awards for Writing

Runner-up, Cheshire Literature Prize 2020 (announced 2021)


Nominated Best Production for Children, Manchester Theatre Awards (The Secret Garden, Octagon Theatre)

Winner Welsh BAFTA Best Series (Shared award, co-writer, Belonging, BBC TV Wales)

Nominated BAFTA Best New Writer to Television

Nominated Best Episode in a Soap, British Soap Awards (Emmerdale, Yorkshire TV)

Nominated Best Radio Play for Children, Writers’ Guild Awards

Runner-up, Greenwich International Poetry Competition

Winner John Pudney Prize for Poetry

(Click on any blue title below to see a poster and sometimes rehearsal or production photos of the project) 

Theatre Writing (see below for Television and Radio)


For Pitlochry Festival Theatre

Peter Pan and Wendy adapted from J.M. Barrie, postponed due to Covid-19 till December 2022

★★★★'Vivid, magical fun'  The Stage 

★★★★ 'This Christmas show more than meets expectations – it is simply wonderful. The adaptation by Janys Chambers is extremely clever: keeping the central story of Peter Pan and Wendy and stripping out other side-plots makes for a pacy two hours that keeps every child captivated throughout'  Musicaltheatrereview (for full review see link below)

★★★★ 'Chambers grasps the magic of Neverland'  The Reviews Hub

★★★★ 'An imaginative adaptation by Janys Chambers'  Broadway World 

★★★★ 'A true tonic for our times'  The Courier

★★★★ 'A show that's never less than charming'  What's On Stage 

★★★★ 'You’ll never really grow up so long as you go to Christmas shows like this'  Corr Blimey

★★★★ 'Bringing the magic of Barrie’s story to life in this exciting new adaptation, this festive offering is a real gift'  Braw Theatre

For TWO WOMEN Productions



The Wasteground Circus cross-form theatre-circus piece, a TWO WOMEN production, postponed due to Covid-19 till July 2022

'It is a highly unusual mix of drama and circus, with great circus technique and also characters that we care about and feel for. The piece is really really easy to engage with because it has both comedy and simplicity. At the same time it takes the audience to a place where they have to think about the nature of relationships, how the future might be, and what a poorer world it would be without circus and art' (Audience member - see also Directing Page)

For Pitlochry Festival Theatre

North and South adapted from Elizabeth Gaskell 

★★★★ The Guardian

★★★★ The Scotsman

‘An electrifying adaptation of the Gaskell novel’ The Guardian (for full review see link:)

For Octagon Theatre Bolton

Jane Eyre adapted from Charlotte Brontë

★★★★ Morning Star/★★★★ Opening Night

'An innovative and fresh feel, allowing audiences to see Brontë’s characters perhaps differently than in previous incarnations... an enormously engaging and entertaining production....engaging, relevant and inspiring theatre' Opening Night

'Her version condenses the drama, deception and romance of the story in two hours of cleverly constructed dialogue' Manchester Salon 

The year kicked off with Jane Eyre at Bolton Octagon, an incredibly uplifting take on Brontë’s classic’  Best of the Year, The Morning Star

‘A light and lucid adaptation directed by Elizabeth Newman.  Gripping, good-hearted and full of gothic terror’ The Guardian

Elizabeth Newman and Janys Chambers in r

   Elizabeth Newman and Janys Chambers in rehearsals for Jane Eyre adapted by Janys Chambers for the Octagon Theatre

The Secret Garden adapted from F. Hodgson Burnett

★★★★★ What's Good to Do

'My expectations were high – would it be comparable to my childhood memories of such a classic novel? Well, I wasn’t disappointed… what a fabulous community summer production!' What's Good to Do

Nominated Best Production for Children, Manchester Theatre Awards

The Railway Children adapted from E. Nesbit

For York Theatre Royal

My Family And Other Animals (see below for the poster of the original production)


Originally commissioned by BBC Radio 4 and later re-commissioned and produced by York Theatre Royal, and now available in print - published by Nick Hern Books 2022 (see above)

★★★★ ‘Durrell gets the revival he deserves.  It fairly fizzes with life.’ The Mail

★★★★  ‘Gerald Durrell’s wonderfully rich tale of an upper-class English family transplanted to sun-dappled Corfu in the 1930’s has sold five million copies, but the episodic nature of the story has put off many adapters.  How to present the ‘other animals,’ of which there are many, is another challenge.  Janys Chambers, the writer, has dealt with these niggles consummately’ The Times

★★★★ ‘The play’s triumph is the way it captures the exuberance of youth’ The Stage Online

★★★★  ‘It is simply a delight’ The Stage

For the New Vic

Pat and Margaret adapted from Victoria Wood

For CADW (Ancient Monuments in Wales)/Trefor Lloyd Roberts 

Shakespeare’s Kitchen (site-specific to Plas Mawr, Conwy)

‘The production at Plas Mawr was fabulous’ Adele Thackray, Lifelong Learning Manager CADW

For National Rural Touring and the Edinburgh Festival

The Harmonettes Go Into Orbit (musical with 3-girl acapella singing group, 5 UK tours and the Edinburgh Festival)

'The show is a treat.  The script is inspired.  I’d rush to see if there are any tickets left’ Chester Chronicle

Read the amazing story here of an audience member who loved the show so much he gave us £10k to take it to the Edinburgh Festival:

★★★★ Fringe Review ★★★★★ The Big Issue

Featured in ‘Best of the Festival’ Mail on Sunday

Short promo film of the final song in the show: 

For National Rural Touring


Dorothy’s War (the only woman to fight in the trenches in WW1, 3 UK tours, subsequently commissioned by BBC Radio 3)

Cross Your Heart (also subject of a documentary film)

For Flintshire Arts /Arts Council Wales

One Small Step For Lily

‘Every school in Wales should see this play’ Gwennan Mair, Director Community Engagement, Theatr Clwyd

Plays for 100 Children 

(13 plays over 9 years in primary-schools, funded by Arts Council Wales/Flintshire Arts, many performed at Theatr Clwyd, reaching over 2000 children)  Examples include:

The Lost Kingdom (also directed)

The Snow Spider (also directed)

‘I was mesmerised by the performance' Jenny Nimmo, author of The Snow Spider on which one of the plays was based

For Women’s Theatre Group (now Sphinx)


Lear’s Daughters 

Co-wrote; published in Mythic Women/Real Women Edited by L. Goodman, by Faber and Faber; also published in Adaptations of Shakespeare, Edited by Fischlin and Fortier, by Routledge

★★★★ The Times/ ★★★★ City Limits/ ★★★★ The Observer 

‘Brilliant Imaginative theatre’ City Limits 

'A rich, imaginative, probing and adventurous play' The Times

For Theatre In The Quarter

Handbag - The Musical! (also directed)

Fantastic show last night. Brilliantly written and directed by Janys Chambers and featuring the spectacular all-woman choir Handbag of Harmonies. Funny, very moving (I cried buckets) and uplifting. I’d be telling anyone in the NW to hunt it out and get a ticket but the rest of the tour is completely sold out’ Martin Jameson blog

For BCHUB (the NHS in Wales) 


The D Word (about dementia) 2 tours of North Wales (also directed)

'It should be accessible to people of all ages, Wales and beyond’ Karen Lloyd Jones at Glyndwr University

'An outstanding interpretation of the impact of dementia. The decline of the individual suffering from it and the heart-wrenching impact on the carer's life are portrayed with skill, sensitivity and poignancy. An incredibly moving performance.’ Cheryl Hesketh, Library Services

Anthem for the Port

An original anthem for the massed choirs of Ellesmere Port including a signing choir, funded by the BBC

For Yorkshire Women Theatre

A Weight Off My Mind (a dance-theatre piece about issues with food; regional tour)

'Touring theatre at its best' Northern Star

For New Perspectives

The Confidential War Diaries of Hilda Mustard (regional tour)

For Theatre Centre

Mirror Mirror (national schools’ tour)

Television Writing 


Nominated BAFTA Best New Writer to Television


Belonging (two series)  

Winner Welsh BAFTA Best Series (shared award co-writer)

For ITV Yorkshire

Emmerdale (over 100 Episodes)

Nominated Best Episode in a Soap, British Soap Awards



Holby City 


For Cosgrove Hall Films / CITV

Engie Benjy (two series)

For Granada TV

Children’s Ward 

Radio Writing 

For BBC Radio 3

Sapper Dorothy (short play for The Verb)


For BBC Radio 4


Miss Thingummybob (original play for the series The Sirens of Fleet Street)


The Single Heart (adapted from Storm Jameson as a Classic Serial) 


My Family And Other Animals (adapted from Gerald Durrell as a Classic Serial)

Subsequently commissioned as a stage play by York Theatre Royal, see above


The Village (original play)


Carol by Patricia Highsmith 

The Black Horn by Clare Cooper

The Last Girl by Penelope Evans

Cheri by Colette - all abridgements

For BBC Schools' Radio

The Beehive (original series) 

Nominated Best Radio Play for Children, Writers’ Guild Awards


The Girl In The Garden (original series)


Two's Company (original series) 


For BBC Radio 5

Bill’s New Frock (adapted from Anne Fine) 


The Cricket In Times Square by George Seldon (abridgement)

The Angel Of Nitshill Road (adapted from Anne Fine) 

'A drama with a twist that could be enjoyed by adults as well as its target audience' The Stage

Poetry and Children's Stories

For Cheshire Literature Prize 2020

Runner-up, Children's Literature Category for short story, Lockdown 2041

With Daljit Nagra at the Cheshire Prize for Literature_edited_edited_edited.jpg

Janys with Daljit Nagra the poet at the Cheshire Literature Prize 2020 Awards evening

For Loggerheads Park

Little Dipper And The Star (commissioned by the Park, now being illustrated as a picture-book)

Greenwich International Poetry Competition




John Pudney Prize



For Greenwich Winners; Orbis; Writing Women


Poems published

BBC Radio Leicester


Short stories for The Battery Powered Steam Radio Show 

Below, by the way, is Jane Austen’s writing desk, not mine.  I’m fascinated by how she wrote such big books…  balancing huge towering manuscript, quill, ink and genius...  on such a tiny table.

Anyone like to commission me to adapt a Jane Austen?

Writing image 7.jpg
bottom of page