Janice Okoh has today been announced as the winner of the £16,000 Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting for her play Three Birds. Set in South East London, Three Birds is a play about the real and imaginary lives of three siblings who are home alone and left to protect their world against the adults who come to call. The judges chose it as the unanimous winner for its startling and unique juxtaposition of reality and fantasy.
Alongside the first prize, three Judges’ Awards of £8,000 were presented to: Alistair McDowall for Brilliant Adventures; Gareth Farr for Britannia Waves the Rules and Louise Monaghan for Shadow Play.
Chair of Judges, the playwright Simon Stephens, made the announcement at a lunchtime ceremony at the Royal Exchange, Manchester:
‘The range and caliber of all ten plays on the shortlist this year was exceptional. It was a range that was a fitting reflection of the extraordinary response to this competition. It was a range that was reflective of the creative energy in this country and the moment. Janice Okoh’s Three Birds is a play of extraordinary humanity and imagination.’
As part of the prize all four award winners will now develop their play with the Royal Exchange, with a view to production. In addition, leading theatre publishers Nick Hern Books will publish all winning plays that receive a production at the Exchange.
The winners were selected from a shortlist of 10 who remained anonymous until today, allowing the panel’s decisions to be based on the plays themselves. Also on the shortlist were:
Miriam Battye – I Started A Fire
Curtis Cole – Climbing Snakes
Kenneth Emson – White
Tim Luscombe – A Map of the Region
Silva Semerciyan – I And The Village
Cornell S John – One Look
Full information about all the writers shortlisted for the competition will be published shortly.