George Devine Award won by Daniel Ward

THE CANARY AND THE CROW by writer/performer Daniel Ward has been announced as the winner of the 2020 George Devine Award.

In a very competitive shortlist, including Temi Wilkey’s brilliant THE HIGH TABLE, the judging panel chose Ward’s debut play as the winner.

The play had already won the Brighton Fringe Award for Excellence and the Writer’s Guild of Great Britain Award for Best Play For Young Audiences, and was nominated for a Total Theatre Award at the 2019 Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Further, the play is shortlisted for the Alfred Fagon Award which is announced on 26th November.

The semi-autobiographical play about a working-class black kid accepted to a prestigious grammar school, blends grime, hip-hop and classical music to tell the story of a young person’s search for belonging in a divided society.


Little Angel Theatre’s gifts for younger audiences this Christmas

Puss-Cat’s First Christmas, available from December 16th
The Christmas Nisse, available in daily chapters from December 1st

London’s world-renowned children’s puppet theatre the Little Angel Theatre, which has presented a number of shows free on its YouTube account over the past eight months for young viewers, has announced that it will make available several more short shows from December 1st

MOTHER CHRISTMAS by Barb Jungr and Samantha Lane, and PUSS-CAT’S FIRST CHRISTMAS by Michael Fowkes – will both be available for families to watch at home for free on the theatre’s YouTube channel in December.

MOTHER CHRISTMAS will be available from December 1st and PUSS-CAT’S FIRST CHRISTMAS will be available from December 16th. You’ll find more details here when they become available

Also starting on December 1st is THE CHRISTMAS NISSE, a story continuing all through December, a sort of “advent calendar story” that will see a new chapter released on the theatre’s YouTube channel each day during December. Patrick Nielsen and Robyn Wilson-Owen’s story is suitable for primary-age youngsters.

The theatre will have other paid-for shows available, which can be found at their website here

More details and direct links will be posted here when they become available – so keep your eyes peeled for the stories starting December 1st!


Your donation has twice the value in the Big Give Christmas Challenge – on now until December 8th!

As the festive season nears, many people consider making a special donation to a charity or favourite project to reflect the spirit of the season.

Until midday GMT on December 8th, The Big Give Christmas Challenge 2020 project doubles every donation you make.

For just seven days , it offers supporters of participating charities the opportunity to have their donation doubled by visiting their site at theBigGive.org.uk

There are many different types of charity participating, but those reading this blog may like to know that a good number of deserving arts organisations are asking for your help through this scheme.

How does it work? Well, firstly the Big Give organisation brings together a range of philanthropists and larger scale donors to produce a large pot of money (in the millions).

Then, when individuals like you or me donate to the Big Give’s Christmas Challenge, the money we donate is matched by an equal amount taken from the already created pot of money, making your donations worth twice as much to the participating charities. The matching continues either until the matching fund is empty, or until the midday deadline on 8th December.

Remember- all your donations to participating charities will be doubled., as long as matching funds remain in the pot.

The Christmas Challenge, founded by entrepreneur and philanthropist Sir Alec Reed CBE, is the UK’s biggest online match funding campaign. Since the Big Give launched the Christmas Challenge campaign in 2008, it has raised over £110 million for thousands of charity projects.

For more information, or to browse the participating charities (including a good number from the arts sector), or simply to make a donation, click here

I have spent some time looking through the arts organisations participating and here are a few suggestions of some of the really worthwhile projects that deserve your support. Please give whatever you can. It all makes a difference.

ARDENT THEATRE COMPANY

CLEAN BREAK THEATRE COMPANY

MOUSETRAP THEATRE PROJECTS

LONDON MUSIC MASTERS

ARTS 4 DEMENTIA

THE LITTLE ANGEL THEATRE

STRATFORD CIRCUS THEATRE


Aria and ALP offer commission for new chamber musical project


Katy Lipson of Aria Entertainment and Adam Lenson of Adam Lenson Productions are joining forces to commission a New Musical from writers who are in based in the United Kingdom. This opportunity has been announced today.

Both companies are hugely committed to new musical theatre, evidenced by Aria’s many years presenting the annual FROM PAGE TO STAGE festival (sponsored by Anthony Field Associates, amongst many others)and their instigation of a full time literary department, as well as Lenson’s regular SIGNAL concerts during the Covid-19 pandemic.

They have come together to offer this commission for an original piece which they intend to be a yearly offering for writers based in the UK.

They are seeking interested parties to pitch a potential idea through their online portal and the selected writing team will receive a writing commission of up to £6000 which will be funded by these two independent organisations.

During the pandemic the producers have supported revivals of small-scale chamber musicals such as Aria Entertainment’s THE LAST 5 YEARS and live streamed productions of new musicals including ALP’s PUBLIC DOMAIN, SHIFT+ALT+RIGHT and THE FABULIST FOX SISTER.

Both producers are acutely aware of the lack of more established British chamber musicals within mainstream publishing and licensing houses and would like to help support UK-based writers in creating content which in the long term could fill these gaps.It is their intention to find, curate and develop a show for production which may also lead to publishing and International production opportunities.

The producers actively encourage applications from writers with diverse backgrounds. They are keen to hear from individuals who have an idea for a show with a cast of four or fewer with themes which respond to the world we are living in today. They are seeking innovation, bold and brave new ideas and voices. They are not looking for pre-existing work.

To apply simply fill in the form here . The submission deadline is December 31st 2020.

A shortlist of pitches will be further developed before a work is chosen in Spring of 2021.


Alfred Fagon Award 2020 shortlist revealed

The Alfred Fagon Award panel has announced the shortlist for the 2020 Award which will be announced later this month.

The Award, first presented in 1996, recognises Black British playwrights of Caribbean or African heritage who are resident in the UK. The Award was created to celebrate the life and work of Alfred Fagon, a playwright and poet who lived in Jamaica and the UK, who died in 1986.

The shortlistees are:

babirye bukilwa …blackbird hour
Clint Dyer & Roy Williams – Death of England: Delroy
Daniel Ward – The Canary & The Crow
Emma Dennis-Edwards – BRICKS
JC Niala – Unsettled
Juliet Gilkes Romero – The Whip

The longlist from which these finalists were selected was as follows:

babirye bukilwa …blackbird hour
Chantelle Dusette EV(E)OLUTION
Clint Dyer & Roy Williams Death of England: Delroy
Daniel Ward The Canary & The Crow
Emma Dennis-Edwards BRICKS
Esohe Uwadiae She Is A Place Called Home
Inua Ellams Three Sisters
JC Niala Unsettled
Juliet Gilkes Romero The Whip
Lewis Charlesworth Token
Nicole Latchana The Process
Phoebe McIntosh The Soon Life
Ronke Adékoluẹjo Teleportation
Wela Mbusi A Far Cry From Home

Last year’s winner was Jasmine Lee-Jones, for her play seven methods of killing kylie jenner.

The Alfred Fagon Award is supported by The Peggy Ramsay Foundation.

Good luck to all the listees – and the eventual winner!