The Wapping Project is a platform for the continuous development of ideas and people. We exist to enable artists to work with unrestrained ambition, supporting those whose voices and stories need to be heard and seen, mostly women, often those whose life and/or career paths have not been straightforward, and above all those who believe in synergy, in making something larger than one could make on their own. Our core principles are idiosyncrasy, ambition, experimentation and collaboration.

The Wapping Project is the operating name of the charitable company Women’s Playhouse Trust registered in England with the Charity Commission.

Team +
  • Marta Michalowska
    Artistic Director
  • Thomas Zanon-Larcher
A Brief History +

The Wapping Project is the creation of the Womens Playhouse Trust (WPT), a charitable company established in 1981 by Jules Wright and a group of her close collaborators at the time. 

Throughout the 1980s and in the early 1990s, WPTs artistic work was defined by the playwrights it commissioned, produced and published, predominantly at the Royal Court Theatre in London.

In 1993, WPT began working in one of Londons most beautiful derelict buildings in the East End –  the Wapping Hydraulic Power Station. It was at that point that WPT became known as The Wapping Project and established its worldwide reputation. Jules Wright, the founding director, had always described The Wapping Project as ‘an idea constantly in transition’.

There was no such thing as prescription when it came to the time in Wapping, there were no criteria to fill or boxes to tick, but rather ideas were the currency and anything, trite as it sounds, was possible. The Wapping Project is less about categories and conventions and more about the spirit and verve that takes hold when one is in the throes of making work. Speculative stories and fuzzy memories all help comprise the myth that is Wapping, that magic that no-one can quite put their finger on.

See the page ARCHIVE for a selection of projects and programmes dating back to early 1990s. Our physical archives are held at the University of Bristol Theatre Collection and are available to be accessed by researchers. Please contact the Bristol Theatre Collection directly to arrange an appointment.

At the end of 2013, The Wapping Project left the Wapping Hydraulic Power Station, its home for two decades, and became a nomadic  organisation, working through national and international partnerships and collaborations. 

See the page COMMISSIONS for our recent projects.


Jules Wright +
Jules Wright at Wapping Hydraulic Power Station, photograph by Thomas Zanon-Larcher
Jules Wright at Wapping Hydraulic Power Station, photograph by Thomas Zanon-Larcher

As one of Londons most daring and visionary commissioners of contemporary art and artists, Jules Wright took a characteristically innovative approach to showcasing new talent. Australian born, she came to the UK as a Commonwealth Scholar in 1975. She studied at Bristol University, going on to achieve a PhD in Psychology in 1982. Her love of theatre was nurtured as a student in Bristol and Clare Venables, then Artistic Director of the Theatre Royal Stratford East, gave her a fortuitous break, inviting her to direct while still a student.

Jules directed her first main stage production at the Theatre Royal, Stratford East, in May 1979, starring the then unknown Tom Wilkinson. Just two years later, she was appointed as a Resident Director at the Royal Court Theatre, and soon after became Artistic Director of the Theatre Upstairs and Associate Director of the Royal Court. From 1984 to 1986, Jules was Artistic Director of the Liverpool Playhouse, alongside Associate Directors, Willy Russell and Alan Bleasedale, before returning to the Royal Court as Associate Director and then Deputy Artistic Director where she remained until 1992 when she went on to pursue a wide ranging international career as a freelance director.   From 1997, her work revolved around commissioning, first writers and later composers, choreographers, visual artists, fashion designers, filmmakers and photographers.

Recognised as one of the leading directors of her generation, Juless career in the UK  included productions at the Old Vic, Royal Exchange, Royal Festival Hall, West End transfers, theatre, opera and television (BBC) and international work in Europe, (Ibsen at the Royal National Theatre of Norway) Australia (Sydney Opera House and Sydney Theatre Company), Turkey (Mozart at the State Opera of Istanbul) and South America (Macbeth in Sao Paulo). Her reputation for work with contemporary playwrights has been acknowledged in a series of national awards, including Plays and Players (1983); Time Out, City Limits and Plays and Players (1984), Olivier/SWET Awards and Evening Standard (1985), John Whiting Award (1986), Samuel Beckett and George Devine Awards (1988), Evening Standard and Sydney CriticsCircle (1990), BBC Opera (1992).

At The Wapping Project, Jules was committed to commissioning new work from young and established artists who share qualities of innovation and experimentation, many have gone on to become major players in the UKs cultural landscape. In October 2009, Jules launched a new, independent photographic gallery – The Wapping Project Bankside.

Jules was diagnosed with cancer in February 2015 and passed away on 21 June 2015.

Jules Wright, polaroid by Thomas Zanon-Larcher
Jules Wright, polaroid by Thomas Zanon-Larcher