New playwrights Mediah Ahmed and Neil Daley have been announced as the winners of the Bush theatre’s playwriting initiative ANGLE, with the newcomers’ plays to be staged at the West London venue early next year.
Launched earlier this year as a collaboration between the Bush theatre and ANGLE theatre, the competition aimed to discover new writing talent across six West London boroughs.
Ahmed will see her play Repentance staged as a double bill with Daley’s Behind The Lines from 30 January (press night 1 February) until 11 February in one of the Bush theatre’s new spaces.
Repentance is described as a prayer-like piece about a Muslim girl and her new boyfriend. Ahmed, a 29-year-old Information Support Assistant, had previously doubted whether she was good enough to enter the competition, saying: “I am still in shock that the panel saw something in my naive writing! But I’m really excited to see how the final thing is going to end up. I can’t wait to see and be part of the process from bringing my words from paper to stage.”
Daley’s play explores street crime. The first time playwright currently works in public finance and discovered the competition when his mother was given a flyer outside a supermarket. Speaking about how he felt about Behind The Lines being staged, Daley said: “I am both excited and nervous about people getting to see my play on stage; butterflies for sure! As the date draws nearer, I hope that they think about whatever topics the play evoked for them and that they speak about the play with passion afterwards.”
Both plays will be directed by Blanche McIntyre, who makes her Bush theatre directing debut with the double bill. McIntyre’s previous credits include When Did You Last See My Mother? at the Trafalgar Studios and Accolade at the Finborough theatre.
In total, 129 plays from unpublished writers were entered into the competition, with each receiving feedback from a team of experts. The winners and shortlist were decided by playwrights Roy Williams and Nancy Harris, directors Charlotte Gwinner, Tamara Harvey and Paul Miller, and Alistair Smith, Deputy Editor of The Stage.
Gwinner, Artistic Director of ANGLE, said: “Our two selected writers, Mediah Ahmed and Neil Daley, are everything we could have hoped for; both are first time writers who offer something charismatic, vivid and new to the canon and we are proud to be their champions and to platform their work at the spectacular new Bush theatre.”