NEWS: Erdington playwright receives award to support project looking at life on Lyndhurst Estate

Words & supporting images by Ed King / Profile pic by Kris Askey

Erdington playwright and author, CJ Lloyd Webley, has recently received the first MAC Theatre Commission Award to develop a project titled Lyndhurst Memories – exploring the past and present of the Erdington estate.

Recently established to help support local creatives after the Covid pandemic, the MAC Theatre Commission Award will see Webley get a £10,000 grant and 15 days of free studio space at Midlands Arts Centre (MAC) to help him develop his project.

Having grown up on the Lyndhurst, the Erdington writer and social entrepreneur aims to use “immersive storytelling” and even virtual reality to engage an audience and bring the story of the estate to life.

After being granted the award, CJ Lloyd Webley told: “I’m absolutely thrilled to have secured the MAC Theatre Commission for my Lyndhurst Memories project! This opportunity fills me with immense joy and inspiration.

“The project aims to explore and celebrate the rich history and stories of the formerly known Lyndhurst Estate in Erdington. Through immersive storytelling, VR and creative exploration, we’ll delve into the memories, experiences, and legacy of this cherished community.”

He added: “Together with MAC’s team, and the support of other Birmingham creatives, we’ll weave together a narrative that deeply resonates with audiences, capturing the essence of Lyndhurst’s past and present reality.

“I look forward to creating an unforgettable experience that celebrates the unique heritage of Birmingham, while engaging and inspiring our audience.”

Completed in 1960, the Lyndhust Estate was built by George Wimpey’s eponymous construction company for Birmingham City Council to provide quality civic housing after the Second World War.

Replacing a series of luxury Victorian villas, the original estate was comprised of seven tower blocks and a series of maisonettes – winning an award for its architectural qualities and the retention of existing trees and green spaces.

Since the 1980’s the estate became blighted by crime and anti-social behaviour, turning the once proud housing development into a renowned trouble hot spot. However, recent investment has seen new housing built on the estate with semi-detached family homes near the Chester Road.

The MAC Theatre Commission Award was created to support Birmingham creatives and invest in new works and projects.

Jo Carr, MAC Performing Arts Programmer, said: “MAC’s new Theatre Commission is a response to the limited opportunities for independent theatre-makers to make new work with adequate financial support – especially those with no regular funding.

“There is palpable concern in the sector about the future of new writing and contemporary theatre, as well as how to recapture audiences post-pandemic to see this work.”

Jo Carr added: “We are thrilled that the first recipient will be writer, director and performer CJ Lloyd Webley, who will start work on Lyndhurst Memories – a theatre piece about the Lyndhurst Estate in Erdington where he grew up, its eventual decline and re-gentrification.

“We look forward to working with CJ over the coming year and seeing where his story goes.”

For more on CJ Lloyd Webley visit

For more from Midlands Arts Centre (MAC) visit

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