Hope Playwriting Prize Study Liverpool Hope University,Study,Departments and Faculties,Faculty of Arts and Humanities,Department of Drama, Dance and Performance Studies

Department of Drama, Dance and Performance Studies

The Liverpool Hope Playwriting Prize

in association with the Royal Court Liverpool and the Liverpool Echo

Overview

Rochdale stand-up comedian Katie Mulgrew took away £10,000 and the opportunity to have her work considered for production by the Royal Court Liverpool, with a comedy that examines the effect of soap operas on our lives.

Katie, the only woman shortlisted for the inaugural Liverpool Hope Playwriting Prize, won for her play Omnibus which centres on housemates Nell, Lauren, Mark and his girlfriend, Jessica. All four of them are enjoying a soap opera marathon on what they think is a typical Sunday afternoon, until an unexpected visitor arrives to give them an episode to remember.   ‌

The Liverpool Hope Playwriting Prize is the UK’s second largest playwriting prize after the Bruntwood Prize. Katie’s play was chosen by a‌‌Playwriting prize team of expert judges including actress and director Kathy Burke, screenwriter and novelist Frank Cottrell Boyce, playwright John Godber, critic and writer Paul Allen, Liverpool Royal Court Chief Executive Kevin Fearon, Liverpool Hope University Drama Academic Dr John Bennett, and Liverpool Echo Arts Editor Catherine Jones.

Katie describes herself as a “stand-up comedian, writer and lover of chicken kievs.” She has written and starred in two Edinburgh Fringe stand up shows, most recently Happily Ever After in 2014.  

Comedy runs in the family – Katie’s father is legendary entertainer Jimmy Cricket. Her debut Edinburgh show, Your Dad’s Not Funny was about her experience of growing up with a comedian for a dad, and how she found her way into the industry.

Katie also provides regular support at shows for Matt Richardson, Lee Nelson and the internationally award-winning The Boy With Tape on His Face. She was featured on the BBC Radio 2 documentary series The History of British Comedy and hosts The FunnyGirl Podcast where she discusses musicals with guest comedians such as Tim Vine, Tom Allen and Pippa Evans.  Katie has had three plays commissioned to be performed by a Special Arts College and a primary school in North Manchester, and last year she appeared on the CBBC show The Dog Ate My Homework. Katie writes a blog at https://katiemulgrew.wordpress.com/  

Katie said: “When I saw the award advertised I loved the fact that it was a chance to work with the Royal Court, which is a fabulous theatre. So many great writers come from Liverpool and the North West as a whole. When I saw the list of judges, I knew I’d love my work to be judged by those people. I thought that even to get feedback would be incredible, but to win is unbelievable.

“The fact that it was judged anonymously also means a lot to me. It means that there was no positive discrimination and that everyone’s work was judged on its merits, which makes me feel amazing.

“I hope that this play will be a platform for my comedy writing and a chance to really break into the comedy world. It would be an absolute dream to have my play performed at the Royal Court.”    

Dr John Bennett, Principal Lecturer in Drama at Liverpool Hope University said: “On behalf of Liverpool Hope University, I would like to congratulate Katie Mulgrew on winning the first Liverpool Hope Playwriting Prize. Her play made me laugh out loud and is a skilful, deft combination of classic farce with contemporary urban mores; all judges agreed it was a worthy winner. I hope that this success helps Katie in her writing career and I look forward to following her progress from this point. I am sure we will be hearing more from her in the future.”

Gillian Miller, Chief Executive of the Royal Court Liverpool Trust said: "This announcement is the end of a long process that has seen some great scripts submitted and Katie is a worthy winner. The other great thing to take out of this is the working partnership between The Royal Court and Liverpool Hope University. Professor Gerald Pillay and the team at Liverpool Hope have been hugely supportive and it bodes well for this prize in future years." 

Playwright John Godber, who was also on the judging panel, said of Omnibus: “There was an honesty about it. There was a truth about the situation. In the end, there was a unanimous decision on the winner.”

Katie beat competition from both established and amateur playwrights to take the top prize. More than 200 scripts were received from across the country and were judged anonymously.


Two Highly Commended Over 21 awards and two Highly Commended 21 and Under awards were also given out on the night.  

Playwriting Prize Shortlist

Milo Bell from Preston was Highly Commended in the Over 21 category for his play Baggage, in which four people, each from different generations and with varying aspirations, spend the night shift in a hotel awaiting the arrival of a big shot TV producer. Milo used his own experiences of working as a hotel porter to inspire his play.

Freelance Journalist and Playwright Ian Salmon, from Netherton in Liverpool, was Highly Commended in the Over 21 category for his play The Comeback Special in which a Liverpool lad finds himself talking to the ghost of Elvis.

Writer, comedian and theatre practitioner Robert Cooke was Highly Commended in the 21 and Under category for The Box, which centres on two men stuck in a room with no obvious way out and a magic box that contains whatever they want it to.

Liverpool Hope University student Jonathan Cheriyan from London was Highly Commended in the 21 and Under Category for Happily Ever After? in which Prince Charming and Cinderella are having marriage problems, and the ageing Fairy Godmother seems to have lost her power to help. Sleeping Beauty is now a shopaholic, and the wicked witch is determined to finally win the day. 


Follow us on social media:

Twitter: @hopepwprize

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Who was Involved?

The competition was initiated by Vice-Chancellor and Rector of Liverpool Hope University, Professor Gerald J. Pillay.

Professor Pillay comments, “Our University is both passionate and committed to Liverpool’s cultural offering. Through The Liverpool Hope Playwriting Prize we will not only recognise and develop new talent, but further strengthen Liverpool’s place as one of the greatest cities for culture, regionally, nationally and internationally.” 

The 2014 Judging Panel

John Godber, Playwright and Director, Visiting Professor of Contemporary Theatre at Liverpool Hope University

John Godber head and shoulders shotJohn Godber was born the son of a miner in Upton, West Yorkshire. He trained as a teacher of drama at Bretton Hall College. Whilst he was Head of Drama at Minsthorpe High School, the school he attended as a student, he won every major award at the National Student Drama Festival between 1981and 1983. In 2005, John's 50th play Wrestling Mad marked his 21st anniversary with Hull Truck as Artistic Director.

Godber's plays are performed across the world and he has the distinction of being one of the most performed writers in the English language. He has won numerous awards for his plays including a Lawrence Olivier Award and seven Los Angeles Critics Circle Awards.

His plays include: Bouncers, Up ‘n' Under, April in Paris, Teechers, Blood, Sweat and Tears, Cramp, Happy Jack, September in the Rain, Salt of the Earth, Passion Killers, Happy Families, Up ‘n' Under ll, Gym & Tonic, Dracula, Lucky Sods, Hooray for Hollywood, Weekend Breaks, It Started With A Kiss, Unleashed, Thick As A Brick, Big Trouble in Little Bedroom, Season In The Sun, on A Night Like This, Our House, Departures, Men of the World, Reunion, Screaming Blue Murder, Black Ties & Tales, Perfect Pitch Going Dutch, Christmas Crackers and, most recently, Muddy Cows.

Within his extensive career in writing and directing in TV and Film, John also devised the BBC2 series Chalkface and his screenplay My Kingdom for a Horse starring Sean Bean was nominated for an alternative BAFTA award. John's first feature film Up ‘N' Under was released in January 1998. In 2005, he co-wrote Odd Squad for BBC 2, with his wife Jane, which was shot in Hull using local actors. Odd Squad won two British Academy of Film and Television Arts Awards in the Schools' Drama category and in the BAFTA original writer section.

John has an MA from Leeds University, an Hon D.Litt from Hull University, an Hon D.Litt from Lincoln University, a D.Uni for the Open University and was a PhD research student for five years at Leeds University. He is a visiting Professor of Drama at Hull University and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. 

Dr. John Bennett, Principal Lecturer in Drama and Theatre Studies at Liverpool Hope University‌

John BennettJohn Bennett graduated from Bretton Hall, University of Leeds in 1979 with an honours degree in Drama. He returned to Bretton to complete a PGCE in Drama and English in 1981-82. Appointed to Liverpool Hope in 1990, Bennett embarked on an M.A. and graduated in Creative Writing from the University of Lancaster in 1993. He has a PhD from the University of Reading; thesis entitled,' A Good Night Out?: The Popular Theatre of John Godber'. Bennett specialises in contemporary popular theatre. He has taught Playwriting and Devising and teaches research methods to Level I Drama students. Bennett is the award director for the MA Contemporary British Popular Theatres course and is on the register of practitioners of the Higher Education Academy. He has lectured in London, Krakow, New York, Bangalore and Angers and published articles and book chapters on the work of John Godber, the Hull Truck Theatre, Willy Russell, the Royal Court Liverpool and Alan Ayckbourn. His latest publication considers the emergence of the ‘football play’ as a regional theatre staple.

Kevin Fearon, Chief Executive Royal Court Liverpool 

Kevin Fearon A Liverpool Institute pupil, Kevin Fearon started in theatre as a 15 year old stage hand at The Empire Theatre. He went on to run The Shaw Theatre in London in the late 80s and early 90s with highlights including hosting Eddie Izzard’s Raging Bull Comedy Club and being the first venue to bring The Chippendales over from America. In 1993 he returned to Liverpool where he reopened The Everyman Theatre. In his time at The Everyman, he brought back the famous Rock n Roll Pantos as well as independently producing larger scale shows at the Royal Court and Summer Pops Tent. In 1998 he left The Everyman to run Rawhide Comedy Club (which he started in 1995), which soon became the biggest independent comedy club in the UK. 2005 saw the move to the Royal Court Liverpool where he has been Chief Executive and Executive Producer ever since. The Royal Court has forged a strong reputation as a producing theatre, particularly for new writing and comedy.


Catherine Jones, Arts Editor, Liverpool Echo

Catherine Jones‌Catherine Jones has been a journalist and reviewer for more than 20 years. She was the capital of culture reporter during Liverpool's tenure in 2008, and Catherine is currently the Echo's arts editor covering the region's all-singing, all-dancing cultural scene from big budget musicals to experimental theatre, comedy to classical music, and dance to art.

 

 

 

 

 

Frank Cottrell Boyce, award winning Screenwriter

Frank Cottrell BoyceFrank Cottrell Boyce, playwright, Screenwriter, Novelist and Visiting Professor of Reading and Communication at Liverpool Hope University.

Frank Cottrell Boyce was born in Rainhill, Liverpool graduated from Oxford in English and palaeontology, later with a PHD in English. His writing career began as a television critic for the magazine Living Marxism and then onto programmes such as Brookside and Coronation Street.

His most famous writing credits include Millions in 2004 with director Danny Boyle which won a British Independent Film Award for best Screenplay. He developed a partnership with director Michael Winterbottom, in which they have collaborated to make six films; 24 Hour Party People (2002) starring Steve Coogan,  Forget About Me (1990), Butterfly Kiss (1995), Welcome to Sarajevo (1997), The Claim (2000), Code 46 (2003) and A Cock and Bull Story (2005). Inspired by Thomas Hardy, his writing shows a gritty realism with an eclectic range of genres and culturally apt elements; regardless of the era they are set.  His most recent work is The Railway Man (2013) starring Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman.  Frank also found success in novels for children, leading to him winning a Carnegie medal in 2004 for his first book Millions, based on his film and more recently winning the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize and shortlisted for the Roald Dahl Funny Prize in 2012.

Frank has developed relationship with Liverpool Hope in recent years and spoke as a guest lecturer along with friend and colleague Danny Boyle to discuss literary education and their participation in the Summer Olympic opening ceremony in London 2012. “The generous support from Liverpool Hope University is the perfect example of how the private sector continues to support the city's cultural offer and Liverpool city council welcomes its contribution.”   

Other film credits include Saint-ex, New York Crossing, Hilary and Jackie, Pandemonium, Revengers Tragedy, Grow Your Own, God on Trial and Framed. His works as a novelist include Framed, Cosmic, Desirable, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Flies Again, The Unforgotten Coat, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang 2: The Race Against Time, Triple Word Score, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang 3: Over the Moon.  

Kathy Burke, actress, comedian, playwright and theatre director

Kathy Burke is a fantastically talented comic actress who began life with a difficult childhood with her early years in foster care and at the age of six going back to her alcoholic Irish father and two brothers.

Her interest and skills for acting were nurtured at school which led to her attendance at the famous Anna Scher Theatre School in Islington. Her first screen appearance was in 1982 in the film Scrubbers directed by Mai Zetterling which led to several other small parts in cult films and television programmes.

We know Burke for her hilarious roles in sketch shows in the late 80s and 90s with appearances in The Comic Strip and French and Saunders but she is best remembered for her association with Harry Enfield in the sketch shows Harry Enfield’s Television Programme and Harry Enfield and Chums. She portrayed an array of bold and funny characters such as Waynetta Slob and the horny teenage boy Perry whose character was developed and pushed to the limits of outrageous in the feature film Kevin and Perry Go Large (2000). Another of Burke’s comic bests is her role as the mouthy Linda in Gimme Gimme Gimme which ran for 3 series’.

Kathy’s creative talents cannot be constricted to comedy for she has had successful roles in serious dramas; both on screen and in theatre where she performed in a Mike Leigh play, It’s a Great Big Shame (1993). In Gary Oldman’s Nil by Mouth (1997) she won 3 prestigious awards for her acting including at Cannes Film Festival and was nominated for a Bafta.

Burke took an early interest in directing theatre with her first and original play she had written aged just 22; Mr Thomas starring Ray Winstone. Her later directing successes include a play performed at both the Tricycle Theatre in London and our very own Royal Court in Liverpool with an adaptation of Once a Catholic (1977) by Mary O’Malley. With a strong work ethic and an ever growing schedule we are blessed that Kathy has taken the time to be a judge for our competition. As our mission is to find the next great comedy play, Kathy is more than qualified to spot a comic diamond in the rough.

Paul Allen, writer and broadcaster

Paul Allen was born in Kent who went on to become a critically acclaimed writer and broadcaster. He has a long career in arts journalism presenting Night Waves on BBC Radio 3 since 1998. In 1976 he was the first regional journalist to be named “Critic of the Year” in the British Press Awards, for television and radio reviewing. In the 1980s, he developed an association with BBC Radio 4 where he worked on a feature called The Leaf and the Fig in the arts magazine Kaleidoscope, for which he received a BP Arts Journalism Award for radio in 1993. His most recent journalistic works have been in the Guardian for a feature called Northern Lights which focuses on theatre news and events in the North of England. His talents stretch further as a playwright writing over 2 dozen radio and theatre plays produced across the country, particularly based in Sheffield and was also the head of press at the Belgrade theatre in Coventry. His most successful theatre venture was in 2005 when he adapted from screen to stage the 1996 Mark Herman film, Brassed Off which is currently touring today with rave reviews.

Allen has also succeeded as an academic writer, being Alan Ayckbourn’s biographer with Grinning at the Edge (2001) and A Pocket Guide to Alan Ayckbourn’s Plays (2004). His latest venture is a book about Shakespeare’s comic character, Falstaff. 

Video

Shortlisted Plays

Now that the winners have been announced, we take an in-depth look at the top ten writers who were in contention for the £10,000 prize and the opportunity to have their work considered for production by the Royal Court Liverpool.

The Liverpool Hope Playwriting Prize is the UK’s second largest playwriting prize after the Bruntwood 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.

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. 

Dr John Bennett, Principal Lecturer in Drama at Liverpool Hope and one of the judges, said: “Whilst the range of settings and characters chosen by our writers was vast, it shows exactly why comedy is important – it crosses boundaries of age and time, and is a way for people to connect. We are very excited to announce which of these exciting voices will take the prize.”

Iain Christie, Marketing Manager at Royal Court Liverpool said: "After such a long and thorough process it is really exciting to be down to the last leg. All of these writers should be proud because we started with 200 scripts, so to get to the last 10 is a big achievement in itself.”

 

Milo Bell Liverpool Hope Playwriting Prize 2015 Chris Bennion Playwriting Prize  Domenico Farelli Liverpool Hope Playwriting Prize  Rob Hitchmough Playwriting Prize  William Lee - Terry's Wake Liverpool Hope Playwriting Prize 2015 

Milo Bell 

Baggage 

 Chris Bennion

 Calvary

Domenico Farelli

House Sitting for Ronnie

Walker

Rob Hitchmough

One Step Ahead 

William Lee

Terry’s Wake

 

Richard Molloy Liverpool Hope Playwriting prize 2015  Katie Mulgrew Liverpool Hope Playwriting prize Mike Packer Liverpool Hope Playwriting Prize   Michael Ross Liverpool Hope Playwriting Prize 2015 Ian Salmon Liverpool Hope Playwriting Prize 

Richard Molloy  

O Do Not Love Too Long

Katie Mulgrew

Omnibus

Mike Packer 

The Come Back

Michael Ross  

Happy To Help

Ian Salmon  

The Comeback Special

 

21 and Under Shortlisted Plays

Robert Cooke PWPrize  Image of Jonathan Cheriyan for the PW Prize

Robert Cooke 

The Box

Jonathan Cheriyan 

Happily Ever After?

News

1st April 2015 - The Winner is announced! 

Rochdale stand-up comedian Katie Mulgrew took away £10,000 and the opportunity to have her work considered for production by the Royal Court Liverpool, with a comedy that examines the effect of soap operas on our lives.

Katie, the only woman shortlisted for the inaugural Liverpool Hope Playwriting Prize, won for her play Omnibus which centres on housemates Nell, Lauren, Mark and his girlfriend, Jessica. All four of them are enjoying a soap opera marathon on what they think is a typical Sunday afternoon, until an unexpected visitor arrives to give them an episode to remember.   ‌

 

19th March 2015 - Top 10 writers revealed in the Liverpool Echo

Liverpool Hope have revealed the identity of the 10 playwrights whose work was shortlisted out of more than 200 entries for the competition. The top 10 includes a mixture of professional and amateur writers from across the country. Settings for the plays include a supermarket, a hotel, a bank, a reality TV marathon and a wake, while subjects include a robbery, a Welsh folk legend and a stand-up gig.

The full report by The Liverpool Echo can be read more here.

 

4th February 2015 - Judges Meet to decide on the Winner

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. The winning writer of the inaugural Liverpool Hope Playwriting Prize, along with the two runners up and shortlisted 21 and Under plays, will be announced at an Awards Ceremony taking place on Wednesday 1st April at the Creative Campus in Liverpool City Centre. 

 

24th November 2014 - Top 10 performed at The Cornerstone Festival

As part of this year’s annual Cornerstone Festival, members of the public turned up to watch rehearsed readings of the top ten play‌‌ entries at the University’s Capstone Theatre. 10 minute extracts were taken from the top ten plays were read by students and directed by professional actors Ron Meadows and Gary Bowman. 

 

30th May 2014 - Deadline Up! 200 entries received!

Our deadline is now closed so please do not try to enter the competition as your entry will not be counted. The winner will be announced in April 2015. 

The competition received a whopping 200 entries from across the country. Professor Nick Rees, Dean of Arts and Humanities at Liverpool Hope, said: “It’s exciting to think the winner of the prize, and perhaps the next Willy Russell, John Godber, Marie Jones or Amanda Whittington, could be among those 200 scripts. The response has been fantastic and we’ve seen entries come in from across the UK. Although in its first year, the prize is already making a name for itself.”  

The full report by The Liverpool Echo can be read here

 

23rd May 2014 - One Week Left Until Deadline

Our closing date for script entries is fast approaching with only one week left. Any scripts entered after 30th May at 5pm will not be counted. You can submit your script at the Liverpool Hope University Online Store 

 

17th April 2014 - Kathy Burke and Paul Allen join judging Panel

We are thrilled to announce that character actress and star of Gimme Gimme Gimme, Kathy Burke has agreed to be a member of our judging panel after directing her own show at the Royal Court earlier this year. Joining her is theatre critic, playwright and academic Paul Allen who's adaptation of Brassed off! is currently touring the UK. 

 

28th February 2014 - Frank Cottrell Boyce is announced as a judge!

Award winning screenwriter and author, Frank Cottrell Boyce is to join our judging panel and will be reading the top ten script entries alongside John Godber, John Bennett, Catherine Jones and Kevin Fearon. Find more information on the Liverpool Echo website.

Overview

Rochdale stand-up comedian Katie Mulgrew took away £10,000 and the opportunity to have her work considered for production by the Royal Court Liverpool, with a comedy that examines the effect of soap operas on our lives.

Katie, the only woman shortlisted for the inaugural Liverpool Hope Playwriting Prize, won for her play Omnibus which centres on housemates Nell, Lauren, Mark and his girlfriend, Jessica. All four of them are enjoying a soap opera marathon on what they think is a typical Sunday afternoon, until an unexpected visitor arrives to give them an episode to remember.   ‌

The Liverpool Hope Playwriting Prize is the UK’s second largest playwriting prize after the Bruntwood Prize. Katie’s play was chosen by a‌‌Playwriting prize team of expert judges including actress and director Kathy Burke, screenwriter and novelist Frank Cottrell Boyce, playwright John Godber, critic and writer Paul Allen, Liverpool Royal Court Chief Executive Kevin Fearon, Liverpool Hope University Drama Academic Dr John Bennett, and Liverpool Echo Arts Editor Catherine Jones.

Katie describes herself as a “stand-up comedian, writer and lover of chicken kievs.” She has written and starred in two Edinburgh Fringe stand up shows, most recently Happily Ever After in 2014.  

Comedy runs in the family – Katie’s father is legendary entertainer Jimmy Cricket. Her debut Edinburgh show, Your Dad’s Not Funny was about her experience of growing up with a comedian for a dad, and how she found her way into the industry.

Katie also provides regular support at shows for Matt Richardson, Lee Nelson and the internationally award-winning The Boy With Tape on His Face. She was featured on the BBC Radio 2 documentary series The History of British Comedy and hosts The FunnyGirl Podcast where she discusses musicals with guest comedians such as Tim Vine, Tom Allen and Pippa Evans.  Katie has had three plays commissioned to be performed by a Special Arts College and a primary school in North Manchester, and last year she appeared on the CBBC show The Dog Ate My Homework. Katie writes a blog at https://katiemulgrew.wordpress.com/  

Katie said: “When I saw the award advertised I loved the fact that it was a chance to work with the Royal Court, which is a fabulous theatre. So many great writers come from Liverpool and the North West as a whole. When I saw the list of judges, I knew I’d love my work to be judged by those people. I thought that even to get feedback would be incredible, but to win is unbelievable.

“The fact that it was judged anonymously also means a lot to me. It means that there was no positive discrimination and that everyone’s work was judged on its merits, which makes me feel amazing.

“I hope that this play will be a platform for my comedy writing and a chance to really break into the comedy world. It would be an absolute dream to have my play performed at the Royal Court.”    

Dr John Bennett, Principal Lecturer in Drama at Liverpool Hope University said: “On behalf of Liverpool Hope University, I would like to congratulate Katie Mulgrew on winning the first Liverpool Hope Playwriting Prize. Her play made me laugh out loud and is a skilful, deft combination of classic farce with contemporary urban mores; all judges agreed it was a worthy winner. I hope that this success helps Katie in her writing career and I look forward to following her progress from this point. I am sure we will be hearing more from her in the future.”

Gillian Miller, Chief Executive of the Royal Court Liverpool Trust said: "This announcement is the end of a long process that has seen some great scripts submitted and Katie is a worthy winner. The other great thing to take out of this is the working partnership between The Royal Court and Liverpool Hope University. Professor Gerald Pillay and the team at Liverpool Hope have been hugely supportive and it bodes well for this prize in future years." 

Playwright John Godber, who was also on the judging panel, said of Omnibus: “There was an honesty about it. There was a truth about the situation. In the end, there was a unanimous decision on the winner.”

Katie beat competition from both established and amateur playwrights to take the top prize. More than 200 scripts were received from across the country and were judged anonymously.


Two Highly Commended Over 21 awards and two Highly Commended 21 and Under awards were also given out on the night.  

Playwriting Prize Shortlist

Milo Bell from Preston was Highly Commended in the Over 21 category for his play Baggage, in which four people, each from different generations and with varying aspirations, spend the night shift in a hotel awaiting the arrival of a big shot TV producer. Milo used his own experiences of working as a hotel porter to inspire his play.

Freelance Journalist and Playwright Ian Salmon, from Netherton in Liverpool, was Highly Commended in the Over 21 category for his play The Comeback Special in which a Liverpool lad finds himself talking to the ghost of Elvis.

Writer, comedian and theatre practitioner Robert Cooke was Highly Commended in the 21 and Under category for The Box, which centres on two men stuck in a room with no obvious way out and a magic box that contains whatever they want it to.

Liverpool Hope University student Jonathan Cheriyan from London was Highly Commended in the 21 and Under Category for Happily Ever After? in which Prince Charming and Cinderella are having marriage problems, and the ageing Fairy Godmother seems to have lost her power to help. Sleeping Beauty is now a shopaholic, and the wicked witch is determined to finally win the day. 


Follow us on social media:

Twitter: @hopepwprize

‌Facebook: Liverpool Hope Playwriting Prize

Who was Involved?

The competition was initiated by Vice-Chancellor and Rector of Liverpool Hope University, Professor Gerald J. Pillay.

Professor Pillay comments, “Our University is both passionate and committed to Liverpool’s cultural offering. Through The Liverpool Hope Playwriting Prize we will not only recognise and develop new talent, but further strengthen Liverpool’s place as one of the greatest cities for culture, regionally, nationally and internationally.” 

The 2014 Judging Panel

John Godber, Playwright and Director, Visiting Professor of Contemporary Theatre at Liverpool Hope University

John Godber head and shoulders shotJohn Godber was born the son of a miner in Upton, West Yorkshire. He trained as a teacher of drama at Bretton Hall College. Whilst he was Head of Drama at Minsthorpe High School, the school he attended as a student, he won every major award at the National Student Drama Festival between 1981and 1983. In 2005, John's 50th play Wrestling Mad marked his 21st anniversary with Hull Truck as Artistic Director.

Godber's plays are performed across the world and he has the distinction of being one of the most performed writers in the English language. He has won numerous awards for his plays including a Lawrence Olivier Award and seven Los Angeles Critics Circle Awards.

His plays include: Bouncers, Up ‘n' Under, April in Paris, Teechers, Blood, Sweat and Tears, Cramp, Happy Jack, September in the Rain, Salt of the Earth, Passion Killers, Happy Families, Up ‘n' Under ll, Gym & Tonic, Dracula, Lucky Sods, Hooray for Hollywood, Weekend Breaks, It Started With A Kiss, Unleashed, Thick As A Brick, Big Trouble in Little Bedroom, Season In The Sun, on A Night Like This, Our House, Departures, Men of the World, Reunion, Screaming Blue Murder, Black Ties & Tales, Perfect Pitch Going Dutch, Christmas Crackers and, most recently, Muddy Cows.

Within his extensive career in writing and directing in TV and Film, John also devised the BBC2 series Chalkface and his screenplay My Kingdom for a Horse starring Sean Bean was nominated for an alternative BAFTA award. John's first feature film Up ‘N' Under was released in January 1998. In 2005, he co-wrote Odd Squad for BBC 2, with his wife Jane, which was shot in Hull using local actors. Odd Squad won two British Academy of Film and Television Arts Awards in the Schools' Drama category and in the BAFTA original writer section.

John has an MA from Leeds University, an Hon D.Litt from Hull University, an Hon D.Litt from Lincoln University, a D.Uni for the Open University and was a PhD research student for five years at Leeds University. He is a visiting Professor of Drama at Hull University and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. 

Dr. John Bennett, Principal Lecturer in Drama and Theatre Studies at Liverpool Hope University‌

John BennettJohn Bennett graduated from Bretton Hall, University of Leeds in 1979 with an honours degree in Drama. He returned to Bretton to complete a PGCE in Drama and English in 1981-82. Appointed to Liverpool Hope in 1990, Bennett embarked on an M.A. and graduated in Creative Writing from the University of Lancaster in 1993. He has a PhD from the University of Reading; thesis entitled,' A Good Night Out?: The Popular Theatre of John Godber'. Bennett specialises in contemporary popular theatre. He has taught Playwriting and Devising and teaches research methods to Level I Drama students. Bennett is the award director for the MA Contemporary British Popular Theatres course and is on the register of practitioners of the Higher Education Academy. He has lectured in London, Krakow, New York, Bangalore and Angers and published articles and book chapters on the work of John Godber, the Hull Truck Theatre, Willy Russell, the Royal Court Liverpool and Alan Ayckbourn. His latest publication considers the emergence of the ‘football play’ as a regional theatre staple.

Kevin Fearon, Chief Executive Royal Court Liverpool 

Kevin Fearon A Liverpool Institute pupil, Kevin Fearon started in theatre as a 15 year old stage hand at The Empire Theatre. He went on to run The Shaw Theatre in London in the late 80s and early 90s with highlights including hosting Eddie Izzard’s Raging Bull Comedy Club and being the first venue to bring The Chippendales over from America. In 1993 he returned to Liverpool where he reopened The Everyman Theatre. In his time at The Everyman, he brought back the famous Rock n Roll Pantos as well as independently producing larger scale shows at the Royal Court and Summer Pops Tent. In 1998 he left The Everyman to run Rawhide Comedy Club (which he started in 1995), which soon became the biggest independent comedy club in the UK. 2005 saw the move to the Royal Court Liverpool where he has been Chief Executive and Executive Producer ever since. The Royal Court has forged a strong reputation as a producing theatre, particularly for new writing and comedy.


Catherine Jones, Arts Editor, Liverpool Echo

Catherine Jones‌Catherine Jones has been a journalist and reviewer for more than 20 years. She was the capital of culture reporter during Liverpool's tenure in 2008, and Catherine is currently the Echo's arts editor covering the region's all-singing, all-dancing cultural scene from big budget musicals to experimental theatre, comedy to classical music, and dance to art.

 

 

 

 

 

Frank Cottrell Boyce, award winning Screenwriter

Frank Cottrell BoyceFrank Cottrell Boyce, playwright, Screenwriter, Novelist and Visiting Professor of Reading and Communication at Liverpool Hope University.

Frank Cottrell Boyce was born in Rainhill, Liverpool graduated from Oxford in English and palaeontology, later with a PHD in English. His writing career began as a television critic for the magazine Living Marxism and then onto programmes such as Brookside and Coronation Street.

His most famous writing credits include Millions in 2004 with director Danny Boyle which won a British Independent Film Award for best Screenplay. He developed a partnership with director Michael Winterbottom, in which they have collaborated to make six films; 24 Hour Party People (2002) starring Steve Coogan,  Forget About Me (1990), Butterfly Kiss (1995), Welcome to Sarajevo (1997), The Claim (2000), Code 46 (2003) and A Cock and Bull Story (2005). Inspired by Thomas Hardy, his writing shows a gritty realism with an eclectic range of genres and culturally apt elements; regardless of the era they are set.  His most recent work is The Railway Man (2013) starring Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman.  Frank also found success in novels for children, leading to him winning a Carnegie medal in 2004 for his first book Millions, based on his film and more recently winning the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize and shortlisted for the Roald Dahl Funny Prize in 2012.

Frank has developed relationship with Liverpool Hope in recent years and spoke as a guest lecturer along with friend and colleague Danny Boyle to discuss literary education and their participation in the Summer Olympic opening ceremony in London 2012. “The generous support from Liverpool Hope University is the perfect example of how the private sector continues to support the city's cultural offer and Liverpool city council welcomes its contribution.”   

Other film credits include Saint-ex, New York Crossing, Hilary and Jackie, Pandemonium, Revengers Tragedy, Grow Your Own, God on Trial and Framed. His works as a novelist include Framed, Cosmic, Desirable, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Flies Again, The Unforgotten Coat, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang 2: The Race Against Time, Triple Word Score, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang 3: Over the Moon.  

Kathy Burke, actress, comedian, playwright and theatre director

Kathy Burke is a fantastically talented comic actress who began life with a difficult childhood with her early years in foster care and at the age of six going back to her alcoholic Irish father and two brothers.

Her interest and skills for acting were nurtured at school which led to her attendance at the famous Anna Scher Theatre School in Islington. Her first screen appearance was in 1982 in the film Scrubbers directed by Mai Zetterling which led to several other small parts in cult films and television programmes.

We know Burke for her hilarious roles in sketch shows in the late 80s and 90s with appearances in The Comic Strip and French and Saunders but she is best remembered for her association with Harry Enfield in the sketch shows Harry Enfield’s Television Programme and Harry Enfield and Chums. She portrayed an array of bold and funny characters such as Waynetta Slob and the horny teenage boy Perry whose character was developed and pushed to the limits of outrageous in the feature film Kevin and Perry Go Large (2000). Another of Burke’s comic bests is her role as the mouthy Linda in Gimme Gimme Gimme which ran for 3 series’.

Kathy’s creative talents cannot be constricted to comedy for she has had successful roles in serious dramas; both on screen and in theatre where she performed in a Mike Leigh play, It’s a Great Big Shame (1993). In Gary Oldman’s Nil by Mouth (1997) she won 3 prestigious awards for her acting including at Cannes Film Festival and was nominated for a Bafta.

Burke took an early interest in directing theatre with her first and original play she had written aged just 22; Mr Thomas starring Ray Winstone. Her later directing successes include a play performed at both the Tricycle Theatre in London and our very own Royal Court in Liverpool with an adaptation of Once a Catholic (1977) by Mary O’Malley. With a strong work ethic and an ever growing schedule we are blessed that Kathy has taken the time to be a judge for our competition. As our mission is to find the next great comedy play, Kathy is more than qualified to spot a comic diamond in the rough.

Paul Allen, writer and broadcaster

Paul Allen was born in Kent who went on to become a critically acclaimed writer and broadcaster. He has a long career in arts journalism presenting Night Waves on BBC Radio 3 since 1998. In 1976 he was the first regional journalist to be named “Critic of the Year” in the British Press Awards, for television and radio reviewing. In the 1980s, he developed an association with BBC Radio 4 where he worked on a feature called The Leaf and the Fig in the arts magazine Kaleidoscope, for which he received a BP Arts Journalism Award for radio in 1993. His most recent journalistic works have been in the Guardian for a feature called Northern Lights which focuses on theatre news and events in the North of England. His talents stretch further as a playwright writing over 2 dozen radio and theatre plays produced across the country, particularly based in Sheffield and was also the head of press at the Belgrade theatre in Coventry. His most successful theatre venture was in 2005 when he adapted from screen to stage the 1996 Mark Herman film, Brassed Off which is currently touring today with rave reviews.

Allen has also succeeded as an academic writer, being Alan Ayckbourn’s biographer with Grinning at the Edge (2001) and A Pocket Guide to Alan Ayckbourn’s Plays (2004). His latest venture is a book about Shakespeare’s comic character, Falstaff. 

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Shortlisted Plays

Now that the winners have been announced, we take an in-depth look at the top ten writers who were in contention for the £10,000 prize and the opportunity to have their work considered for production by the Royal Court Liverpool.

The Liverpool Hope Playwriting Prize is the UK’s second largest playwriting prize after the Bruntwood 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.

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. 

Dr John Bennett, Principal Lecturer in Drama at Liverpool Hope and one of the judges, said: “Whilst the range of settings and characters chosen by our writers was vast, it shows exactly why comedy is important – it crosses boundaries of age and time, and is a way for people to connect. We are very excited to announce which of these exciting voices will take the prize.”

Iain Christie, Marketing Manager at Royal Court Liverpool said: "After such a long and thorough process it is really exciting to be down to the last leg. All of these writers should be proud because we started with 200 scripts, so to get to the last 10 is a big achievement in itself.”

 

Milo Bell Liverpool Hope Playwriting Prize 2015 Chris Bennion Playwriting Prize  Domenico Farelli Liverpool Hope Playwriting Prize  Rob Hitchmough Playwriting Prize  William Lee - Terry's Wake Liverpool Hope Playwriting Prize 2015 

Milo Bell 

Baggage 

 Chris Bennion

 Calvary

Domenico Farelli

House Sitting for Ronnie

Walker

Rob Hitchmough

One Step Ahead 

William Lee

Terry’s Wake

 

Richard Molloy Liverpool Hope Playwriting prize 2015  Katie Mulgrew Liverpool Hope Playwriting prize Mike Packer Liverpool Hope Playwriting Prize   Michael Ross Liverpool Hope Playwriting Prize 2015 Ian Salmon Liverpool Hope Playwriting Prize 

Richard Molloy  

O Do Not Love Too Long

Katie Mulgrew

Omnibus

Mike Packer 

The Come Back

Michael Ross  

Happy To Help

Ian Salmon  

The Comeback Special

 

21 and Under Shortlisted Plays

Robert Cooke PWPrize  Image of Jonathan Cheriyan for the PW Prize

Robert Cooke 

The Box

Jonathan Cheriyan 

Happily Ever After?

News

1st April 2015 - The Winner is announced! 

Rochdale stand-up comedian Katie Mulgrew took away £10,000 and the opportunity to have her work considered for production by the Royal Court Liverpool, with a comedy that examines the effect of soap operas on our lives.

Katie, the only woman shortlisted for the inaugural Liverpool Hope Playwriting Prize, won for her play Omnibus which centres on housemates Nell, Lauren, Mark and his girlfriend, Jessica. All four of them are enjoying a soap opera marathon on what they think is a typical Sunday afternoon, until an unexpected visitor arrives to give them an episode to remember.   ‌

 

19th March 2015 - Top 10 writers revealed in the Liverpool Echo

Liverpool Hope have revealed the identity of the 10 playwrights whose work was shortlisted out of more than 200 entries for the competition. The top 10 includes a mixture of professional and amateur writers from across the country. Settings for the plays include a supermarket, a hotel, a bank, a reality TV marathon and a wake, while subjects include a robbery, a Welsh folk legend and a stand-up gig.

The full report by The Liverpool Echo can be read more here.

 

4th February 2015 - Judges Meet to decide on the Winner

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. The winning writer of the inaugural Liverpool Hope Playwriting Prize, along with the two runners up and shortlisted 21 and Under plays, will be announced at an Awards Ceremony taking place on Wednesday 1st April at the Creative Campus in Liverpool City Centre. 

 

24th November 2014 - Top 10 performed at The Cornerstone Festival

As part of this year’s annual Cornerstone Festival, members of the public turned up to watch rehearsed readings of the top ten play‌‌ entries at the University’s Capstone Theatre. 10 minute extracts were taken from the top ten plays were read by students and directed by professional actors Ron Meadows and Gary Bowman. 

 

30th May 2014 - Deadline Up! 200 entries received!

Our deadline is now closed so please do not try to enter the competition as your entry will not be counted. The winner will be announced in April 2015. 

The competition received a whopping 200 entries from across the country. Professor Nick Rees, Dean of Arts and Humanities at Liverpool Hope, said: “It’s exciting to think the winner of the prize, and perhaps the next Willy Russell, John Godber, Marie Jones or Amanda Whittington, could be among those 200 scripts. The response has been fantastic and we’ve seen entries come in from across the UK. Although in its first year, the prize is already making a name for itself.”  

The full report by The Liverpool Echo can be read here

 

23rd May 2014 - One Week Left Until Deadline

Our closing date for script entries is fast approaching with only one week left. Any scripts entered after 30th May at 5pm will not be counted. You can submit your script at the Liverpool Hope University Online Store 

 

17th April 2014 - Kathy Burke and Paul Allen join judging Panel

We are thrilled to announce that character actress and star of Gimme Gimme Gimme, Kathy Burke has agreed to be a member of our judging panel after directing her own show at the Royal Court earlier this year. Joining her is theatre critic, playwright and academic Paul Allen who's adaptation of Brassed off! is currently touring the UK. 

 

28th February 2014 - Frank Cottrell Boyce is announced as a judge!

Award winning screenwriter and author, Frank Cottrell Boyce is to join our judging panel and will be reading the top ten script entries alongside John Godber, John Bennett, Catherine Jones and Kevin Fearon. Find more information on the Liverpool Echo website.