Bruntwood announces judges for sixth Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting

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The Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting today launched its sixth search for original plays and announced a judging panel of top industry figures from stage, screen and journalism. The biennial Prize is a partnership between the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester and property company, Bruntwood and highlights the importance of new writing for theatre and the value of nurturing playwrights and their craft. The Prize is an opportunity for writers of any background and experience to enter unperformed plays into Europe’s largest playwriting competition.

British broadcaster and journalist Kirsty Lang will chair the 2017 judging panel, she will be joined by the award-winning screenwriter Russell T. Davies (Queer as Folk, C4; Doctor Who, BBC), previous Bruntwood Prize winner Phil Porter (The Miser, West End; Vice Versa, RSC; The Cracks in my Skin, Royal Exchange Theatre), stage and screen writer Lucy Prebble (The Effect, National Theatre; Enron, Royal Court, Chichester Festival Theatre, West End & Broadway), Director Lyndsey Turner (Hamlet, Barbican; Chimerica, Almeida; Posh, Royal Court & West End and Associate Director of the National Theatre), award-winning actor Don Warrington (King Lear, Royal Exchange Theatre & BBC Four; Death in Paradise, BBC), and Royal Exchange Theatre Associate Artistic Director, Matthew Xia. Chairman of Bruntwood, Michael Oglesby CBE completes the distinguished panel.

Michael Oglesby CBE, Chairman of Bruntwood commented: "We are delighted to be launching the sixth edition of the Bruntwood Prize. The ‘Bruntwood’ has grown to become much more than a competition and is now a significant event in the theatrical life of the country. It provides a unique opportunity for aspiring playwrights to have access to a network of opportunities which help them to bring their plays to the stage. Challenging plays that make an important statement about the world in which we live are my particular favourites. I am greatly looking forward to reading the entries which never cease to amaze and surprise.”

The competition is open to anyone over the age of sixteen, in the British Isles. All scripts are judged anonymously by a team of skilled readers and the final ten will be judged by this expert judging panel. Each of the winners will enter into a development process with the Royal Exchange Theatre. The winning scripts, will be announced at an awards ceremony in Manchester this November. The total prize fund is £40,000 and full details on how to enter can be found at writeaplay.co.uk

Since beginning in 2005 the Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting has grown to be the largest playwriting competition in Europe and has provided a launch pad for many of the UK’s top playwrights including: Duncan Macmillan (1984, People, Places and Things, Monster), Alistair McDowall (Brilliant Adventures, X), Vivienne Franzmann (Mogadishu) and Anna Jordan (Yen).

Sarah Frankcom, Artistic Director of the Royal Exchange Theatre, said: “Launching the Bruntwood Prize is always a defining moment for me. Each year we have thousands of entries and it’s very exciting to imagine those writers beginning to develop their ideas into the scripts that we will read. It’s an opportunity for them to be as bold, as creative and as brave in their writing as they can be. We have again assembled a team of hugely talented judges, this year chaired by Kirsty Lang. Their commitment to finding extraordinary new voices never fails to amaze me. The Prize has supported some incredibly talented writers, Anna Jordan, Duncan Macmillan, Alistair McDowall, Vivienne Franzmann – I’m looking forward to who we will discover this year.”

In 2015 Katherine Soper became the fifth overall winner of the Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting. Her play ‘Wish List’ premiered at the Royal Exchange Theatre in 2016 before transferring to the Royal Court Upstairs (10 January - Saturday 11 February 2017).

Katherine Soper, 2015 winner of the Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting said: “The prize has given me opportunities I could never have imagined, and given me so much more confidence as a writer.”

The Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting is delighted to work in partnership with Nick Hern Books, The Kenyon Institute, The Banff Centre and The National Theatre Studio who all provide winning writers with development opportunities.

Entries must be uploaded via the website www.writeaplay.co.uk where aspiring writers can also access workshops and video tutorials from theatre industry experts. 

Submissions close: 5 June 2017
Awards ceremony: 13 November 2017

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