In a digital ceremony last night, the winners of the inaugural The Women’s Prize for Playwriting 2020 were announced. Due to an exceptionally strong field, the judging panel selected two first prize winners: Amy Trigg for REASONS YOU SHOULD(N’T) LOVE ME and Ahlam for YOU BURY ME. The winning playwrights each receive £12,000 in respect of an exclusive option for the co-producers of the Prize to produce their play.
The Women’s Prize for Playwriting has been created by Ellie Keel Productions (EKP) and Paines Plough, with 45North and in association with Sonia Friedman Productions to celebrate and support exceptional UK and Ireland-based playwrights who identify as female. Sponsored by Samuel French Ltd, a Concord Theatricals company, who are the official publishing partner of the prize.
Amy Trigg said today, “Winning The Women’s Prize for Playwriting is such an honour. It’s a bit of a shock, but a lovely one! It’s been so joyful to be a part of this process and connect with such wonderful writers along the way. Thank you to everyone who made this award happen – the industry is lucky to have you.
My play is about a disabled woman but at its heart it is a universal story about love, growing up and feeling unfinished. I hope the audience finds the play relatable in lovely but sometimes heart-breaking ways.
A year ago I was worried about sending my play out to be read by strangers. Would it be good enough? Would I feel exposed? Would I regret it? Fortunately, I had some mates who told me to ‘just do it’. If you are reading this and haven’t yet had that encouragement, then I’ll tell you now: ‘just do it;. I’ll be cheering you on!”
Ahlam commented, “I am completely stunned and honoured to have won the inaugural Women’s Prize for Playwriting.
I hope You Bury Me offers a glimpse into the painful and beautiful paradox that is Cairo, and her stories that are full of love and tenderness, as well as rage and violence.
I want to thank everyone involved at The Women’s Prize for Playwriting for believing that this is a story worth telling, I cannot describe what this means to me.”
Ellie Keel added, “I’m honoured and delighted that the inaugural year of The Women’s Prize for Playwriting yielded such a strong field of longlisted, shortlisted and Finalist plays. I’m also proud that our judges took the bold step of tearing up the rulebook and awarded two first prizes to these two exceptional plays which bookend the breadth of female writing for the stage so beautifully. I am so proud of the writers we have worked with and all that we have achieved with this Prize in its first year, and cannot wait to produce these winning plays.”
Katie Posner and Charlotte Bennett, joint Artistic Directors of Paines Plough, also commented, “The outstanding quality of our finalists is evidence of the rich talent that exists and exactly why awards such as The Women’s Prize for Playwriting are vital in celebrating these voices. Each of the seven finalists exhibited exceptional qualities that shone through their work and we are so honoured that we were able to read them. The plays are bold and urgent stories and each one deserves to be seen by future audiences far and wide. Choosing the winner was extremely hard and when it came to the final conclusion, the judges decided to award the prize to two writers; Amy Trigg for REASONS YOU SHOULD(N’T) LOVE ME and Ahlam for YOU BURY ME. Crucially, the writers are not sharing the first prize but have been awarded as winners in their own right, both receiving the full first prize support we pledged. Amy’s play is incredibly funny and bursting with heart, relating to any person who has navigated the rollercoaster of dating in your twenties. Ahlam’s is a political, ambitious play, set against the backdrop of Cairo, sharing the story of the city and its culture and told through the eyes of young people living in a policed state. Both plays tell important and much needed unheard stories and we are exceptionally proud to be able to support them both to have a life in theatre when live performances rise again.”
Winners were selected from a shortlist of 35 plays from 1,169 entries. The judging panel for 2020 was chaired by senior literary agent Mel Kenyon, and included actor and director Adjoa Andoh; actress and playwright Monica Dolan; Sarah Frankcom, Director of LAMDA; playwright Ella Hickson; Kate Packenham, producer; actress and playwright Maxine Peake; and Artistic Director of Kiln Theatre, Indhu Rubasingham.
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