Lance Steen Anthony Nielsen (Leath Heaton, to use his African name) hails originally from the town of Kingston-upon-Thames, or Surbiton if you wish to be really precise, where he was brought up by an English mother and Danish father who were unable to have any children of their own and adopted him at the age of one from South Africa. He personally cannot remember this initial episode of his induction into his new family but enjoyed many a Danish themed Christmas in his childhood years. During his school years, he spent much of his time engaged in designing fictional worlds for role-playing games, rolling dice, renting videos, going to the cinema and forgetting to tell his mother what time he would be home when he went out. While under the influence of several pints of JRR Tolkein he made his first attempts at writing a book series called ‘The Prophecy of the Witch-King’ but prophetic it was not and his handwritten volumes painstakingly inscribed into school exercise books went unpublished and are rumoured to be located somewhere in the garden shed.   He then studied Audio Visual Design at Epsom School of Art and Design (Now Surrey Institute of Art and Design) where his ambitious epic projects were often thwarted by his uninspiring tutors who would tell him to go and photograph ‘Some hands’ instead. He has still yet to do any photographic or film projects involving hands or indeed any other human appendage.

 

To support himself during and after college, he worked at his local cinema. His passion for watching films would even result in him traveling to see more films in central London on his day off, much to the incredulity of his fellow ushers, who thought this was just plain stupid. After a period of working in other retail jobs which barely warrant a mention of more than two lines, he started making films with any type of camera he could get his hands on and writing and directing plays for London’s off West-End Theatre scene and also continued to act on stage and do occasional small parts in films. He will play his first leading acting role in the film - Keep It In The Family

 

He was the resident playwright for the Jacksons Lane Theatre from 1997 until 2002 where his first play ‘Waiting for Hillsborough’ won him the Best Talent in New Writing, at the Liverpool Arts and Entertainment Awards. Following on from this much of his work began to focus on topics set within social and political arenas. He would write and direct several original works over the next decade. His next play, ‘Sticks and Stones’, covered three families’ lives over four decades during the conflict in Northern Ireland and brought him much critical acclaim. It is written as a television series. ‘The Victoria Climbie Inquiry’ earned him Time Out magazine Critics Choice, while his play 'Making Time' won him a Peter Brook Empty Space Award.  Additionally, he won a Peggy Ramsay award and has had plays produced at The Hackney Empire, Bridewell, Landor, Lion and Unicorn, The Mask. The Stratford Arts and Old Red Lion Theatres. He also wrote & directed the play about the inquiry into The Marchioness Disaster. He recently just completed writing a play about the making of the original The Magnificent Seven movie entitled ‘The Seven Young Guns of Hollywood’. He also directed two plays for Tom Hardy’s short-lived Shotgun Theatre Company, 'Two Storm Wood' and 'Blue on Blue'. More recently he wrote & co-directed the play Borderlands set in immigration at Heathrow, where the audience voted to release or detain the suspect in the narrative.  

 

In 2012 the advancement of digital technology enabled him to write and direct the indy low budget feature film 'The Journey' starring Jason Flemyng and Lindsey Coulson which should not be confused with any of the other seven films on IMDB which share the same title. It has won numerous awards at various Film Festivals Worldwide, including bagging one for Lance as Best Director. Since then he has written numerous feature film & television screenplays including scripts about Colin Stagg, Paratrooper (About the first black Paratrooper in the British army) In The Family, written for his friend Jason Flemyng and the pilot for Diamonds In The Sky, which he always conceived as a television series. After being unable to get in the room to pitch it to broadcasters, he decided to write it as a novel fiction/drama series to be told over six volumes. Lance has spent a considerable portion of his time in Greece, a country which he credits for ‘Saving his life’ during an impromptu visit during a very dark period of his life in the summer of 2009. He resides in North London alongside a rather large collection of Lego and numerous board games. 

©2017 by Diamonds in the Sky.  By Lance Anthony Nielsen