The Prize is designed to celebrate and support exceptional playwrights who identify as female by providing them with a national platform. The Prize is awarded to a full-length play (defined as over 60 minutes in length), written in English, and the winning playwright wins £12,000. The Prize is sponsored by Samuel French Ltd, a Concord Theatricals company, who are the official publishing partner of the prize. The founding sponsor of the Prize was PER People.
In its inaugural year two First Prizes of £12,000 were awarded. Reasons You Should(n’t) Love Me by Amy Trigg premiered at Kiln Theatre to critical acclaim in May 2021, directed by Charlotte Bennett. An audio version was produced by Audible the following month. You Bury Me by Ahlam, directed by Katie Posner, had a staged reading at the Lyceum Theatre in August as part of the Edinburgh International Festival.
Ellie Keel, Founder Director of The Women’s Prize for Playwriting, today said, “'I couldn't be more proud of this list and the writers on it. The Women's Prize for Playwriting is above all an adventure, and these plays embody that spirit of adventure, challenge, and artistry in a glorious and exciting way. Here we are, hopefully coming to the end of the pandemic and easing into a period of recovery, and I know that all of these plays are worthy of enriching this new phase and being amazing pieces of theatre for audiences in the UK and Ireland.”
Katie Posner and Charlotte Bennett, joint Artistic Directors of Paines Plough, added, “From 850 to 8 plays, we are so excited to share the finalists for this year’s Women’s Prize for Playwriting. The plays couldn’t be more different - each transport you to another world full of characters you can love and loathe, ideas that push the boundaries of your imagination and stories that stay with you for a long time afterwards. We can’t wait to celebrate these incredible women with our phenomenal judging panel”
Jessica McVay, Emily Carewe and Charlie Lees-Massey from 45North said, “We are thrilled to platform this incredible selection of finalist scripts for the Women’s Prize for Playwriting 2021. They are representative of the unique, electrifying, and diverse voices of female writers in our industry, and we cannot wait to see them all on large stages across the UK.”
The judges for this year’s Prize are Arifa Akbar, Mel Kenyon (Chair), Lucy Kirkwood, Jasmine Lee-Jones, Winsome Pinnock, Indhu Rubasingham, Jenny Sealey, Nina Steiger, Nicola Walker and Jodie Whittaker.
The list of finalist are:
MOUNTAIN WARFARE by Abi Zakarian
Birdie by Alison Carr
A Bouffon Play About Hong Kong by Isabella Leung
FURIES by Isley Lynn
Consumed by Karis Kelly
upright enuf by lydia luke
4 Decades by Paula B Stanic
HOW I LEARNED TO SWIM by Somebody Jones
The winner(s) will be announced at a ceremony in London in early March.
More details about each of the writers can be found on www.womensprizeforplaywriting.co.uk