REPOST: Lyndsey Turner- Old wine, new bottles

During this public health emergency, the safety and wellbeing of our staff, artists, audiences and families comes first.

We have been exploring ways in which we can all remain connected and optimistic. The Bruntwood Prize has always been about much more than the winners. It is about opening up playwriting to anyone and everyone, to support anyone interested in playwriting to explore the unique power of creative expression. Therefore we want to make this website a resource now for anyone and everyone to explore theatre and plays and playwriting.  

In 2017 Judge and Director Lyndsey Turner wrote a special series of provocations for stage writers- in the second of seven new writing provocations exclusively for the Bruntwood Prize, director and jury member Lyndsey Turner considers sources.



Not every play tells an ‘original’ story. Scholars have suggested that only four of Shakespeare’s own plays are based around stories with no prior source. And several of the most remarkable plays of recent years have had at their core a trace or ‘heartbeat’ of another story, whether or not they present as ‘adaptations’ or ‘reworkings’. Jez Butterworth’s The Winterling has a relationship with Sophocles’ Philoctetes, Mike Bartlett’s Charles III takes its inspiration from several Shakespearean tragedies and Lin Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton reworks Anthony Shaffer’s Amadeus. Not to mention the many more direct ‘borrowings’ we might come across in new versions of Medea or the Mystery Plays or Faust.

  • Is there an ‘old story’ which might inspire you to do something new?
  • Which of the old stories seems most urgent and relevant to you?
  • Have you ever seen a film or watched a play and wished that you could follow the story of one of the ‘minor’ characters rather than its protagonist? What would a familiar story feel like if it were told from the perspective of someone other than the ‘lead’?


Published on:
21 Oct 2020


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