Joe is a writer of anglo-Indian heritage, who grew up in Gloucestershire and Devon, on a diet of Roald Dahl books, Beano comics and Nintendo games. He studied drama at the University of Exeter, where he co-founded Worklight Theatre.
Joe co-wrote and performed How to Start a Riot, which won critical acclaim at Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2012, I Think I’m a Feminist, which toured in 2013 and 2014, and Fix (commissioned by Theatre Royal Stratford East), which premiered at Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2017 and toured the same year.
His debut solo show, Labels, won a Scotsman Fringe First in 2015, as well as four other international awards, and has toured extensively in the UK, as well as to America, Singapore, Australia and Denmark. It was part of Southbank Centre’s Alchemy Festival in May 2017. His second solo show, Monster, premiered at Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2017, and has also toured internationally and throughout the UK. Both had a limited run at The Wardrobe, Bristol in January 2020 and then again at the VAULT Festival in February 2020. Following the cancellation of Edinburgh Fringe 2020, Labels was chosen to be a part of the Fringe alternative ‘Shedinburgh Fringe Festival’ and streamed in August 2020.
Joe has completed writers’ courses with BBC Writers’ Room (London Voices 2017) and Soho Theatre (Writers Lab 2015), as well as week-long workshops with Bryony Kimmings and Howard Barker.
Joe is currently adapting his play Monster into a short film, writing three scripts for new Magic Light series Pip & Posy, based on the Alex Scheffler books, and writing television drama series, Plato.
His next solo play – Fanboy – was due to premiere at Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2020. He recently developed a radio play, Farmhand, a stage play, Mosley and Me, and was commissioned to write a short, rapid-response piece for Extinction Rebellion’s ‘Decolonise; Decarbonise’ at VAULT Festival 2020. Joe is also co-writing a drama series for television, In Good Faith.
In addition to his various projects as a writer, Joe also works as an actor for stage and screen. His recent credits include Rain Man (Bill Kenwright Ltd) and Great Things Happen at Home (Brother Brother Film).
Joe Sellman-Leava is represented by Frances Arnold