Born in West London to Polish/Irish parents, Sebastian was the first writer-in-residence at the BBC.
Writing and performing in his first play at sixteen, he later trained at the Drama Centre. On graduating, he wrote and performed in The Man Who Shot the Tiger, touring the UK. His plays were then workshopped at the NT Studio, and Dancing Under the Bridge was produced in Rotterdam and later performed in Amsterdam, Gdansk and Warsaw as well as Cheltenham’s Everyman Theatre. Sebastian’s The Lives of the Saints led to interest from the BBC and the first of what was to become a loose trilogy of plays based on the myth of America was produced. On being awarded residency at the BBC, he went on to work on a variety of landmark projects including 2000 Tales, a major adaptation of Les Misérables starring Jos Ackland and Roger Allam, as well as many other individual dramas including The Employee with Ron Cook and The Language of Angels starring Hollywood legend M. Emmet Walsh.
Invited to develop his own series by the BBC, Sebastian wrote seven seasons of the acclaimed fantasy series Pilgrim, the premise of which was ‘what if all the myths and legends of the British Isles were true and happening now?’. With Pilgrim, Sebastian was able to develop his interest in folklore and myth. Starring Paul Hilton as the eponymous hero, the series journeyed to the hinterlands of these islands. Successfully translated and broadcast across Europe, it has won awards in Europe including the Prix Marulic and silver at the Prix Europa. Pilgrim is currently under option with Red Planet Pictures.
In 2012, Sebastian developed, along with Joby Waldman, a new genre of broadcast dubbed ‘Fictionalised Documentary’. Taking an urban myth, Joby and Sebastian would interview participants and from there Sebastian would create a drama interspersed with contributions from interviewees. So far, the plays have investigated eccentric beekeepers in New York, ghosts and unexplained occurrences at Heathrow Airport, and, most recently, highland legends of a Yeti-like creature.
After seven series of Pilgrim, Sebastian developed a new series, Elsinore – the prequel to Hamlet – starring John Heffernan, John Light and Lyndsey Marshall. The show charters the rise of Claudius and is set in an imagined Europe in the mid-twentieth century, dealing with the psychosis of tyranny. Sebastian was also one of the four core writers of the acclaimed and award-winning Homefront, charting life at home during the First World War. Edited by Jessica Dromgoole, the programme played out over four years and featured some of the UK’s best actors such as Toby Jones, Jamie Forman, Claire Rushbrook, Fenella Woolgar, Joanna David, Freddie Fox, Nigel Harman, Annette Badland and Roy Hudd.
As well as Les Misérables, Sebastian has adapted The Good Soldier, and The Count of Monte Cristo with Iain Glen, Paul Rhys, Toby Jones, Kate Fleetwood, Jane Lapotaire and Josette Simon. He has co-commissions with Somethin’ Else, CBC Canada, World Service and BBC Radio 3. Sebastian has also written six episodes for TV series Holby City.
Sebastian reinvents myth and folklore through brilliant, funny and bold storytelling, illuminating our unspoken truths and desires through metaphor, and exposing the raw truth of contemporary issues. Loving a good old-fashioned creepy story, Sebastian is influenced by cinema, pop culture and post-war European Theatre. In Sebastian’s worlds, outcasts, weirdos, fanatics and misguided fools share the stage with giants, faeries, imps and dragons. He is currently collaborating with a number of actors on bespoke single voice short plays, trying together to find new ways of creative control and cultural opportunity in this time of restriction.