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Liverpool Hope Playwriting Prize shortlist announced

Playwriting logo 150x150 Thursday 19 March 2015

A Liverpool-born market trader, a former hotel porter and a stand-up comedian are among the writers shortlisted for the inaugural Liverpool Hope Playwriting Prize.

Judges Kathy Burke, Frank Cottrell Boyce, John Godber, Paul Allen, Kevin Fearon, Dr John Bennett, and Liverpool Echo arts editor Catherine Jones have judged the top ten plays, and the winning writer will be revealed on April 1st at Liverpool Hope University’s Creative Campus in Liverpool City Centre.

The Liverpool Hope Playwriting Prize is the UK’s second largest playwriting prize after the Bruntwood Prize. As well as being presented with £10,000, the winning writer’s work will be considered for production by the Royal Court Liverpool.

Settings for the plays include a supermarket, a hotel, a bank, a reality TV marathon and a wake, whilst subjects include a robbery, a Welsh folk legend and a stand up gig.

The top ten includes a mixture of professional and amateur writers from across the country, and more than 200 writers from across the UK submitted their work. 

The top ten are:

Milo Bell – Baggage

In Baggage, four hotel workers, each from different generations and with varying aspirations, spend the night shift awaiting the arrival of a big shot TV producer.

Milo is from Preston and used his own experiences of working as a hotel porter to inspire his play. Milo left school at 16 and moved to London to be an actor, and has also lived in Australia. 

Chris Bennion – Calvary

Calvary is based on little known Welsh legend of John Jones. Thief, poacher, liar, lover – John Jones was equal parts folk hero and dangerous thug. This play imagines what might have happened in his final days.

Originally from North Wales, Museum Education Officer and freelance writer Chris now lives in East London. He is passionate about discovering little known stories and legends of Wales.

Domenico Farelli - House Sitting for Ronnie Walker

A fresh-faced trainee accountant agrees to house-sit for the infamous accountant Ronnie Walker in the hopes of winning a prestigious scholarship, but the arrival of his best friend and the fear of the unknown noise upstairs may put an end to everyone’s dream.

Medico-legal admin Domenico Farelli is based in Cardiff. His play, My Kingdom for a Penguin, was produced in Theatre Clwyd as part of Boxed Set anthology weekend.

Rob Hitchmough - One Step Ahead

One Step Ahead centres around a bank robbery which has developed into a hostage situation. As the story unfolds, the police become more and more frustrated as they are continually outwitted by the gang’s leader.

Rob is an actor who has appeared in Spooks, EastEnders, Brookside and The Bill. When not writing he teaches drama and improvisation.  Rob has writing in the blood – his father is Jim Hitchmough, writer of The Bullion Boys and sitcom Watching.

William Lee - Terry’s Wake

Terry’s widow Teresa and her friend and neighbour Anne gather for one last night to give Terry a send-off. All is going well until son Little Terry shows up to throw a spanner into the works.

William is Liverpool-born market stall holder who now lives South East London.  He started writing at age 15 and by 20 he was the lyricist and lead singer of several Liverpool bands.

Richard Molloy - O Do Not Love Too Long

O Do Not Love Too Long is set on the front porch of a small apartment building in contemporary London, and tells the story of two aging Irish immigrants and their search for a purpose in a city which has long since cut them adrift.

Secondary School teacher and LFC fan Richard grew up in Dublin and has lived around the world.  His play The Separation premiered in Dublin and picked up a Best New Play Offie award nomination.

Katie Mulgrew - Omnibus

Omnibus is a farce which centres around housemates Nell, Lauren, Mark and his girlfriend, Jessica. All four of them are enjoying a reality TV marathon on what they think is, a typical Sunday afternoon, until an unexpected visitor takes the same masochistic approach as reality TV itself, to give them an episode to remember.   

Stand-up comedian and writer Katie Mulgrew is from Rochdale in Lancashire. She has written and starred in two Edinburgh Fringe stand up shows and has had three plays commissioned. 

Mike Packer - The Come Back

An incident between two families impacts on a comedian’s plans for a comeback. This piece also sees the same actors playing both parents and children. 

Mike is from Brighton and has written critically acclaimed plays, including Cardboys and Inheritance. His debut play To Live Like a King was runner-up for the Allied Domecq New Playwrights Award.

Michael Ross - Happy To Help

In Happy to Help, Tony Manning, UK managing director of a giant multinational supermarket chain, decides to work undercover for a week at one of his stores to see what life is really like on the shop floor, and ends up getting a far more authentic experience than he’d have ever wished for.

Michael is from Battersea, London, and works as a Bookseller at the National Theatre Bookshop. Michael has been writing for the fringe for nine years.

Ian Salmon - The Comeback Special

The Comeback Special is a about an ‘almost normal’ Liverpool lad with a gift he doesn’t really want which is going to change the lives of everyone he knows. Given the choice, Robbie would rather not talk to the dead - and definitely not to this guy who claims he’s the ghost of Elvis.

51 year old Freelance Journalist and Playwright Ian was born in Bootle, and now lives in Netherton. Ian wrote Venus Rising for Liverpool’s Page To Stage and is a regular contributor to  

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