The prize has been created to celebrate and support exceptional UK and Ireland-based playwrights who identify as female. The winning playwright will receive £12,000 in respect of an exclusive option for the lead producers of the Prize to co-produce the winning play. The prize is sponsored by Samuel French Ltd, a Concord Theatricals company, who are the official publishing partner of the prize.
Ellie Keel today said, “I'm overjoyed to have arrived at these seven remarkable plays after receiving an incredible 1,169 submissions to The Women's Prize for Playwriting in our inaugural year. The breadth of these plays is outstanding in terms of their subject, form and style. I am thrilled with their ambition and scope and firmly believe that they all deserve to be produced. I also want to congratulate every single writer who wrote and submitted a play to us this year. There has been a tremendous sense of community and mutual support amongst all our writers, and that celebration of the craft of writing for the stage is, to me, a big part of what The Women's Prize for Playwriting set out to do. ”
Katie Posner and Charlotte Bennett, joint Artistic Directors of Paines Plough, said “We are ecstatic to be sharing these seven plays as the finalists for the prize. They represent some of the most extraordinary new writing we have come across in our careers. Each story has been crafted with passion, vision and a bursting political heart. Reading them was an absolute privilege, and every one is a deserving winner. We want to thank every writer who submitted a play for sharing a bit of themselves with us. It was an incredibly competitive process that highlights how many amazing women playwrights there are working today.”
Jessica McVay, Creative Director of 45North today said, “4North is founded on the principle that women are underrepresented and underutilized in all areas of theatre creation. These incredible 7 playwrights have written challenging, exciting, boundary breaking plays, and have proven yet again that women’s voices have a power and place in the heart of theatre. I’m honoured and delighted that we will be working with at least the winner and runner up on their finalist plays, and hope to work with all of these incredible women in the future.
Vivien Goodwin, Senior Vice President, Europe, of Concord Theatricals today said, “The level of talent and ambition displayed by the finalists' plays is hugely impressive and only goes to show that this award is a necessary and timely platform to elevate women's voices. We're thrilled to be the Prize's publishing and licensing partner, and look forward to supporting such bold, brave and entertaining writing in the future. Congratulations to all of the writers who have reached this stage, and to all who submitted.”
Sonia Friedman Productions added, “We are deeply proud to be part of The Women’s Prize for Playwriting and we are delighted to be announcing these seven finalists today. In these difficult times, it is more important than ever to champion underrepresented voices of the future and find vital stories that help us make sense of our world.”
The judging panel for The Women’s Prize for Playwriting 2020 is chaired by senior literary agent Mel Kenyon, and includes Sarah Frankcom, Director of LAMDA; playwright Ella Hickson; actress and playwright Maxine Peake; and Artistic Director of Kiln Theatre, Indhu Rubasingham.
The finalists in full are:
...blackbird hour by babirye bukilwa
COLOSTRUM by Liv Hennessy
PARADISE STREET by Chinonyerem Odimba
Reasons You Should(n't) Love Me by Amy Trigg
Red Sky at Night by Eve Leigh
The Virgins by Miriam Battye
YOU BURY ME by Ahlam
The winner for the Women’s Prize for Playwriting will be announced later in the autumn.