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.
The George Devine Award has announced its 2020 Shortlist. Founded in 1966 in memory of the Royal Court’s founding Artistic Director George Devine, the Award is recognised as one of the most prestigious in new writing and seeks to spotlight a playwright of promise. Previous winners have included Diana Nneka Atuona, Richard Bean, Alice Birch, Lucy Prebble and Rory Mullarkey.
The winner will receive a £15,000 prize to support their future writing.
Former George Devine Award-winner and 2020 judge Roy Williams said:
“The quality of the plays on the 2020 Shortlist is exceptional. They are a set of bold, diverse voices representing huge variety in style and subject matter. Amidst a very difficult year for theatre, it felt clear when discussing these plays with my fellow judges that there is a bright future to look towards for new writing when the industry reopens.”
The 2020 Shortlist is:
When Great Trees Fall by Dipo Baruwa-Etti
Motherland by Chris Bush
Staying at Stacey’s by Annie Jenkins
Does My Bomb Look Big In This? by Nyla Levy
There are no beginnings by Charley Miles
Out of Sorts by Danusia Samal
O, Island! by Nina Segal
The Canary and the Crow by Daniel Ward
The High Table by Temi Wilkey
This year’s judging panel includes the previous GDA-winning playwrights Charlene James and Roy Williams alongside former Royal Court Artistic Director Ian Rickson, actor Patsy Ferran, director Elayce Ismail and producer Amy Powell Yeates.
In my own view, the strongest contender I have seen, and the one I am rooting for, is Temi Wilkey’s wonderfully warm and ambitious THE HIGH TABLE which had its run cut cruelly short at the Bush Theatre earlier this year. You can read my four-star review here.