Beyond The Canon’s second season of podcasts continues…

Created by Simeilia Hodge-Dallway and run by her together with Sarudzayi Marufu., Beyond The Canon seeks to highlight, promote and champion hidden plays by Black, Asian, LatinX and Middle Eastern Playwrights.

Supported by the Arts Council of Great Britain, Beyond The Canon contributes to the ongoing conversation within the Black Lives Matter movement by reinforcing the importance of Black, Asian and POC voices at a time of both decolonization and reimagining the future of theatre, arts and culture. Season 2 guests include an illustrious assemblage of the UK’s most prolific, exciting and influential figures across the arts and culture industry.

Beyond The Canon’s podcast is for writers, People of Colour, and everyone interested in the future of theatre.

You can catch the podcast live every Wednesday at 6pm BST (UK), also 2pm EDT and 1pm EST, live on the BTC Instagram feed which you can find here.

Find previous podcasts in the series here


Shortlist announced for Susan Smith Blackburn Prize 2021

A limited-edition Willem de Kooning print awaits the winner of the 2021 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize

The highly-respected women+-only playwriting prize has just announced its 2021 shortlist, complied from over 160 international submissions.

The shortlist comprises (in alphabetical author order)

Glace Chase (Aus/US) – TRIPLE X

Erika Dickerson-Despenza (US) – CULLUD WATTAH

Miranda Rose Hall (US) – A PLAY FOR THE LIVING IN THE TIME OF EXTINCTION

Dawn King (UK) – THE TRIALS

Kimber Lee (US) – THE WATER PALACE

Janice Okoh (UK) – THE GIFT

Ife Olujobi (US) – JORDANS

Frances Poet (UK) – MAGGIE MAY

Jiehae Park (US) – THE AVES

Beth Steel (UK) – THE HOUSE OF SHADES

The big standout for me is the brilliant Janice Okoh play THE GIFT which describes itself as “an outrageous play about imperialism, cross-racial adoption, cultural appropriation…and tea” Okoh’s play captures painfully and eloquently the past and present scars of British colonial racism. You can read my four-star review of the play here .

The show’s UK tour was sadly cut short due to the Covid shutdown, but it must return to ensure a wider audience has the chance to experience this unforgettable and important play.

Previous prize winners include Jackie Sibblies Drury for FAIRVIEW in 2019, which went on to win the Pulitzer Prize (see my review of the Young Vic production here), and Lucy Prebble’s A VERY EXPENSIVE POISON won the Award in 2020.

The judges were director Natalie Abrahami, director Lileana Blain-Cruz, designer Bunny Christie, actor Paapa Essiedu, actor Jason Butler Harner and director Seema Sueko.

The winner will be announced in April and will receive $25,000 as well a s a limited edition Willem de Kooning print (pictured above). Each finalist receives $5,000.

To learn more about the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, visit their website by clicking here

Congratulations to all the shortlisted writers.


ETPEP Award 2021 submissions close April 30th

If you’re a theatre professional (or know one) who wants to spread their wings as a playwright, the Finborough Theatre has announced the opening of the 2021 ETPEP Award. ETPEP stands for Experienced Theatre Practitioners Early Playwriting and, as its name suggests, is not an award for playwrights. It is an award for those who work in theatre IN SOME OTHER capacity who also write plays.

The ETPEP Award 2021 is a playwriting prize for new UK playwrights who work or have worked in the theatre industry, run by the Finborough Theatre in association with the Experienced Theatre Practitioners Early Playwriting Trust (ETPEP). The competition is open to new playwrights who have previously worked in theatre in another capacity for a minimum of two years.

The organisers said “We are looking for promising writers, rather than projects specifically targeted for production. The winner will be given the chance to develop and present their work in a supportive environment.”

The Award is open for submissions until 11pm on Friday, 30 April 2021.

The winner will receive:

The winner will receive a prize of £6,000.
(£3000 will be presented on the announcement of the winner, and the remaining £3000 will be presented at the conclusion of the staged reading performance).
A development relationship with the Finborough Theatre including one-to-one dramaturgy with Finborough Theatre Artistic Director and playwright Neil McPherson.
A rehearsal workshop with actors and a director to develop the play.
Pandemic permitting, either a staged reading performance of the winning play at the Finborough Theatre, London, or a rehearsed reading online.
Publication of the winning play by Salamander Street, independent publisher of theatre, performance and live art.
There will also be ten runner-up prizes of £300 each.

For more information, click here


George Devine Award shortlist announced

George Devine

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.

The winner will be announced later this month.


The inaugural Phil Fox Playwriting Award won by author’s first play

Outside Edge Theatre Company, the UK’s only theatre company and participatory arts charity focused on addiction, has named Silas Parry as the winner of the inaugural Phil Fox Playwriting Award, with his magic realist script set in Grimsby entitled LESSONS FOR DIVING, which is his first play. Parry will receive a £6,000 commission and mentorship from chair of the judging panel, Tony Award-winning playwright Enda Walsh, as well as the company working with Parry to develop his play.

The Phil Fox Award is named after the founder of Outside Edge, which is also celebrating its 21st anniversary this year.

The prize was created to recognise original scripts looking at issues of addiction, by playwrights from all backgrounds and experience levels. Also on the 2020 judging panel were leading industry figures Matt Applewhite (Nick Hern Books Managing Director and Commissioning Editor), Barbara Broccoli OBE (Film Producer), Sonya Hale (OETC Associate Theatre Facilitator and Heretic Voices award-winning playwright), Indhu Rubasingham (Artistic Director of Kiln Theatre), Matt Steinberg (OETC Artistic Director) and Simon Stephens (Tony and Olivier Award-winning playwright of The Curious Incident of the Dog In The Night-Time).

In recognition of the exceptional quality of submissions in this debut year, judges also awarded Special Commendations to two finalist playwrights for their scripts: Kristian Phillips (Drift) and Jack Stanley (Boomerang). Along with Lessons for Diving, the two Special Commendation scripts will receive a package of development support and a public reading in the new year.

The finalists are listed below, and you can see the shortlisted plays in the graphic image below

Finalists:

Boomerang by Jack Stanley

Drift by Kristian Phillips

Lessons for Diving by Silas Parry

Pushing on Open Doors by Sarah Connors

What’s Lost in the Gaps by Jack Robson

Shortlist:

Congratulations to the winner, finalists and shortlisted writers.