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£10,000 Liverpool Hope Playwriting Prize returns

pw judge square Thursday 18 February 2016

Aspiring and established playwrights can now enter their comedy scripts for the second Liverpool Hope Playwriting Prize. 

One comedy writer could walk away with £10,000 and the opportunity to have their play considered for production by Liverpool’s Royal Court theatre, while up to two Highly Commended awards of £1,500 are also on offer.

Writers have until May 31st 2016 to submit their comedy stage play. The Liverpool Hope Playwriting Prize is open to anyone over the age of 18, and has this year been extended to include entries from the Republic of Ireland as well as all UK territories. All entries are read anonymously.

Last year’s winner, comedian Katie Mulgrew, is currently working with Liverpool’s Royal Court and Unity Theatre to develop her play Omnibus. The production is in the workshop phase with director Bob Farquhar and the Liverpool Royal Court team, and is due to be staged at Unity Theatre before a possible transfer to the Liverpool Royal Court in 2017.

Joining this year’s final judging panel are comedian and Coronation Street actor Les Dennis, Be My Baby and Ladies Day playwright Amanda Whittington, The Stage editor Alistair Smith and Katie Mulgrew.

Returning to the panel are screenwriter and novelist Frank Cottrell Boyce, Royal Court Chief Executive Kevin Fearon, the Liverpool Echo’s Arts Editor Catherine Jones, playwright and critic Paul Allen and Liverpool Hope University theatre expert Dr John Bennett.

The Stage and the Liverpool Echo have both been confirmed as media partners for 2016-2017.  

A team of professional readers will have the task of whittling down all entries to a final shortlist. The judging panel will read all shortlisted scripts and reveal their winner in spring 2017.

The first Liverpool Hope Playwriting Prize attracted more than 200 scripts from across the UK.  

Ian Salmon, whose play was Highly Commended in the 2015 competition, currently has six plays in the works, and his Liverpool Hope Playwriting Prize entry The Comeback Special is due to be staged this summer at the Capstone Theatre in Liverpool. Michael Ross’s shortlisted entry Happy to Help will also premiere this June at the Park Theatre, London, for a four week run.

Writers can visit the new website www.playwritingprize.com throughout the competition for the latest news, blogs and tips, and for full terms and conditions.

They can also follow @hopepwprize or visit www.facebook.com/playwritingprize/

Professor Gerald Pillay, Vice Chancellor and Rector of Liverpool Hope University said: ​"​The success of the first competition showed there is a real ​wish among playwrights and audiences to see more comedies on stage. We are ​very pleased to be working closely again with Liverpool’s Royal Court and the Liverpool Echo, and to welcome The Stage as our new national media partner. Both established ​and new ​writers are encouraged to participate. The University is keen to encourage new playwriting.”

Royal Court Chief Executive Kevin Fearon said: “Last time around we had a very difficult time choosing a winner from the scripts that came in. The standard was very high and we are enjoying working on the winning play with a view to producing it later this year. The Royal Court’s success has been based on producing comedy theatre for our audience so we are delighted to be joining up with Liverpool Hope again to find another great comedy play.”

Alistair Smith said: “The Stage is delighted to be supporting the Liverpool Hope Playwriting Prize. Comic plays are hugely popular with audiences and have always been a staple for theatres across the country. Let’s hope we can find the next Ray Cooney, Alan Ayckbourn or Richard Bean.”

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