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25.01.2022 | By Teresa Quail

Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting opens – BSL trailer

Posted in News

BSL trailer

Press release

“The Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting launches and announces panel of judges for this year’s competition

  • Award winning actor Julie Hesmondhalgh and popular TV and radio presenter Nihal Arthanayake join this year’s panel

2022 Judges Panel and competition introduction video here

PRESS RELEASE (10am, Monday 24th January 2022) – Bruntwood, in partnership with the Royal Exchange Theatre are delighted to announce the panel of judges for the 2022 Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting. The prize – which seeks scripts from established, emerging and debut writers to develop for the stage – is a partnership between property company Bruntwood, a major supporter of the arts, and world-class producing theatre, the Royal Exchange Theatre, in Manchester.

This year’s panel consists of Nihal Arthanayake, television and BBC Radio 5 Live presenter; Miranda Cromwell, Olivier Award winning Theatre Director; Julie Hesmondhalgh, award winning actor and supporter of the Royal Exchange Theatre; Kimber Lee, winner of the inaugural Bruntwood Prize International Award in 2019; Farai Matekenya Nhakaniso, Local Exchange Ambassador for the Leigh area for the Royal Exchange Theatre; Kate Vokes, Non-Executive Director at Bruntwood, and Roy Alexander Weise, Joint Artistic Director at the Royal Exchange Theatre.

Julie Hesmondhalgh, comments: “I’m completely thrilled to be part of the judging panel for the Bruntwood Prize this year. I’ve been involved in the prize in one way or another from the start: my husband Ian Kershaw won the North West Writers prize at the first awards, I appeared in THE ALMIGHTY SOMETIMES, the winner of The Judges Award in 2016, and have been part of the company performing at the prizegiving a couple of times. I am passionate about new writing and particularly giving opportunities to people trying to break into the profession. I love the egalitarian nature of the process: the anonymous entries, and widely diverse readership at all phases. It is an amazing opportunity for writers at all stages of their careers, and an opportunity to hear exciting new voices”.

The names of the Judges are announced as the 2022 Prize officially opens for submissions. Uniquely open to both established writers and members of the public with no writing experience, the Bruntwood Prize is now recognised as a launch-pad for some of the country’s most respected and produced playwrights and screenwriters. The judging process is completely anonymous, meaning each entry will be judged entirely on its own merit. The winners will enter into a development process with the Royal Exchange Theatre in an endeavour to bring their work to production.

The 2022 Prize will be split across four categories. As in previous years, there will be an overall winner of the Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting, who takes home £16,000, as well as one ‘runner up’ £8,000 Judges Award, and the £8,000 International Award, introduced in 2019, open to international playwrights who can apply through partners Atlantic Theatre, Australian Plays Transform, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Canada Banff Playwrights Laboratory and Melbourne Theatre Company.

This year also sees the introduction of a new category: the North West Original New Voice Award and Residency, in recognition of the Prize’s Manchester home. The winner will not have had a professional production, and must be from the North West of England, and in addition to winning £8,000, they will also receive access to an additional £10,000 fund dedicated to their professional development at the Royal Exchange Theatre during a bespoke one year residency in partnership with Bruntwood and the Ogelsby Charitable Trust.

Submissions for the 2022 Prize are open until 6th June 2022 via www.writeaplay.co.uk. A shortlist of 15 plays, ten from the UK and five international, will be announced on 24th October 2022, and the winner of the 2022 Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting will be announced at an awards ceremony at the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester, on 14th November 2022.

Roy Alexander Weise, Joint Artistic Director at the Royal Exchange Theatre comments: “The Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting is extraordinary. It is a brilliant vehicle for storytellers and storytelling. It encourages anyone, regardless of experience or background, to share their story with us. Over 2000 new stories will be brought to life. That feels so exciting. As Joint Artistic Director of the Exchange, supporting the development of new work and creating space for new voices and a home for writers is vital to both our growth as a producing theatre and our industry as a whole. Furthermore, with the launch of the North West Original New Voice and Residency Award this year, we will be able to create a significant opportunity for a writer from our region. To relaunch the Bruntwood Prize in 2022, from our home in the heart of Manchester and with our brilliant partners Bruntwood, feels more important than ever. I cannot wait to read these scripts”.

Kate Vokes, Non-Executive Director at Bruntwood, commented: “We’re incredibly passionate about supporting creative projects that encourage participation and uphold the cultural vitality of the UK’s cities. For us, a dynamic arts and cultural scene is a huge part of that, giving communities the chance to learn, to debate, to discover ideas and new ways of thinking, and ultimately providing the opportunity for people to get their voice heard. That’s why we are proud to support the Bruntwood Prize for the seventeenth year. Following a short break, we are looking forward to getting the Prize back up and running and giving creators across the country the opportunity to showcase their work. We believe that the cultural vibrancy of our cities and communities plays a vital role in the recovery from the pandemic, contributing financially to the economy, but also bringing hope and joy to so many of us. Personally, I am very excited to see the talent that the Prize will showcase this year and hearing about the successes of our previous winners.”

Matt Applewhite, Managing Director and Commissioning Editor of Nick Hern Books, and publishing partner for the Bruntwood Prize commented: “The name Bruntwood has become synonymous with undoubtedly one of the most significant awards for new plays in the UK, if not the world. Our long, happy relationship as Publishing Partner for the prize goes right back to its inception in 2005 – and we have since published many incredible winning and shortlisted writers, including Katherine Chandler, Vivienne Franzmann, James Fritz, Alan Harris, Anna Jordan, Ben Musgrave, Janice Okoh, Andrew Sheridan, Stuart Slade and Katherine Soper, amongst many others. Putting their plays into print has allowed them to enjoy an enduring life beyond their premiere productions by being read, studied, and performed worldwide. The prize has no doubt enriched the NHB list, but more widely has inspired literally thousands of playwrights over the years. We’re looking forward to discovering the words and worlds of the next generation of writers in 2022”.

For further information about the Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting, contact: Edwin Hayfron, Campaign Director, Riot Communications: T: +44(0)7888 673 706 E: Edwin@riotcommunications.com