This year the Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting Judges decided upon a winner anonymously on Monday 23rd October. The winner and Judges Awards will be announced at the Award Ceremony (livestreamed from 4pm Nov 13th) In the run up to the ceremony we’re profiling all the shortlisted writers and their plays.
A Bit of Light – Rebecca Callard
Ella, at forty, is moving into her dad’s spare room with a futon and not much else. Desperately grieving the separation from her children, she meets Neil, a profound and disparate teenager who refuses to see Ella the way she sees herself and offers her the hope she thinks is lost.
Rebecca Callard began acting as a child and has worked in theatre, television and radio. Her latest project is the Detectorists series 3, due for transmission in November. Her theatre credits include Celia in As You Like It for Peter Hall, Blindsided, Romeo and Juliet and Macbeth. She has also performed in Bruntwood Prize winner WINTERLONG by Andrew Sheridan. Recent TV appearances include Fearless and Ordinary Lies.
A Bit if Light is Rebecca’s first play
What inspired you to write this play?
I often walk past a playground near my flat and during the day it’s busy and alive and then when I walk past it say, at night, or at the times it’s uninhabited it seems so odd, so silent. Places can mean such different things to people and that’s where Ella came from. The thoughts we all have and how we speak to ourselves can be overwhelming. Even if we have all the right things in place we don’t always get it right in this life; it can be painful simply just being a person.
Can you tell us a bit about your journey as a playwright?
I has this idea for Ella and then Neil came alongside that and I felt it could be something that might work as a play. I’d never written a play before but I’d always felt compelled to and when I started writing it I knew I had to finish their story and the Bruntwood seemed like the perfect incentive to do that. I missed the first submission date in 2015 and felt a bit despondent at that but I had no excuse for the next one. I was thankful for the deadline and the submitting of it really kept me pushing on.
How do you feel about being shortlisted?
I keep remembering I’m shortlisted and it doesn’t seem real. You hope but you never actually think you’ll be on there. It’s so exciting. Bewildering almost. The other times I felt like this were when I had my kids and when my son scores in football; he’s a defender. I feel a real responsibility towards my play and I just hope I can represent it faithfully.
What do you think about anonymity of the Bruntwood Prize?
The Bruntwood is an amazing opportunity and possibility. And the anonymity allows you to be a 42 year old with no professional writing experience and still get your play read, without any pressure or judgement. I feel the anonymity is precious because it allows the readers to see the plays with their unique interpretation. Which is how I think we go and watch plays in the theatre. And then your play gets chosen for your play and nothing else.