Ten promising new playwrights battle it to take home part of a prize fund totalling £40,000
Manchester’s Royal Exchange Theatre played host to the 2017 Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting Awards as ten promising new playwrights battled it to take home part of a prize fund totalling £40,000.
Now in its sixth year, the Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting is Europe’s largest playwriting competition. Designed to champion and encourage new writing for theatre, the prestigious competition allows writers of any background and experience to enter original and unperformed plays to be judged by a panel of industry experts. Since its inception in 2005, over 11,000 scripts have been entered into the competition, £208,000 has been awarded to 22 prize winning writers and 21 winning productions have been staged in 37 UK wide venues.
2017 saw a whopping 1,898 original plays submitted to the Prize, all under a pseudonym with the aim of creating an equal opportunity. 108 readers whittled down the entries to just ten shortlisted scripts which were then judged by the eight strong panel chaired by BBC journalist and broadcaster Kirsty Lang.
Rebecca Callard’s A BIT OF LIGHT, which tells the story of a 40 year old mother grieving the separation of her children who befriends a teenager, and Joshua Val Martin’s THIS IS NOT AMERICA, which tells the story of a young man who decides to leave his loved ones behind and travel to Mars, both received special commendations from the Judges, which offers a grant and space to rehearse at the Royal Exchange Theatre.
Former Bruntwood Prize Award winner Phil Porter presented the first of three Judges Award to Laurie Nunn for KING BROWN, a piece about an Australian family in the 1970s who are forced to confront a legacy of abuse when a patriarch returns home.
The Royal Exchange’s Associate Artistic Director Matthew Xia presented the second Judges Award to Sharon Clark for PLOW, an intriguing piece about a young woman who walks across four states in America only to be followed by both the press and social media.
The final Judges Award was presented by television producer and screenwriter Russell T Davies to Tim Foley for his innovative and futuristic piece ELECTRIC ROSARY in which a robot nun is delivered to a convent, causing unrest between the sisters who fear the change that innovation brings.
But the overall Prize was given to Tim X Atack for his piece HEARTWORM, which sees a young, funny and vivacious girl take up the spare room in a family home only to announce that it was once her home as events start to take a strange turn.
All four winners will take home part of a prize fund totalling £40,000 and each will enter into a development process with the Royal Exchange Theatre. Tim X Atack will also see his piece performed at the Royal Exchange Theatre, following in the footsteps of former winners James Fitz whose play PARLIAMENT SQUARE made its debut last month and Kendall Feaver whose play THE ALMIGHTY SOMETIMES runs at the Royal Exchange next February.
Donna is the Founder and Editor of Frankly, My Dear UK. By day, she works as a digital marketing specialist, by night she reviews film, theatre and music for a wide range of publications including WhatsonStage and The Reviews Hub. Loves Formula 1, prosecco and life.