The biennial Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting returned in 2017. The Bruntwood Prize is Europe’s largest playwriting competition and highlights the importance of new writing for theatre and the value of nurturing playwrights and their craft.
A partnership between the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester and property company Bruntwood, the Prize is an opportunity for writers of any background and experience to enter unperformed plays to be judged by a panel of industry experts for a chance to be one of four winners and win part of a prize fund totaling £40,000. Since its inception in 2005, over 13,000 scripts have been entered, £208,000 has been awarded to 22 prize winning writers and 23 winning productions have been staged in 37 UK wide venues. The competition is open to anyone over the age of sixteen, in the British Isles.
By the deadline on 5th June 2017, we had received a staggering 1,898 scripts, all submitted anonymously. The anonymity of the submissions is vital to the ethos of the Prize as it ensures that scripts are judged on individual merit with no preconceptions about the identity of the playwright. Over 100 readers are employed to take the scripts through a rigorous process. These readers are directors, producers, designers, actors, dramaturgs, literary managers, critics, agents and previous winners. Once a script has been selected for the shortlist, it will have been read and championed by 16 different and distinct practitioners which we hope makes for a robust selection process.
Entries for the 2017 prize closed on June 5th, with the 2017 winners announced at the Award Ceremony on Monday 13th November. Tim X Atack became the sixth overall winner of the Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting. His play ‘Heartworm’ was praised by the Judges for its unique voice, mysterious atmosphere and compelling lead character. As the Bruntwood Prize winner Heartworm is guaranteed a production. Following the huge success of both ‘Wish List’ by Katherine Soper and ‘Yen’ by Anna Jordan this production will be co-produced by The Royal Court and the Royal Exchange Theatre.
Three Judges Awards and two commendations were also awarded by the judging panel. Each of the winners will enter into a development process with the Royal Exchange Theatre.