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15 new scripts by established, emerging and debut playwrights from across the globe are in the running for £40,000 Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting 2019

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The Royal Exchange is thrilled to announce the shortlist for the prestigious Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting 2019, the largest competition for playwriting in Europe.

This year’s 15 shortlisted scripts were selected from 2,561 new plays submitted to the Prize following the competition launch in January 2019.

The shortlist is vivid, imaginative and topical, with politics, mental health, race relations and climate change just some of the themes appearing within the scripts.

“I am delighted to present this year’s impressive shortlist which for the first time includes international entries. It’s thrilling to see submissions growing year-on-year, and it is fantastic to celebrate the outstanding achievement of our 15 shortlisted writers who have been selected from over 2,500 entries. Theatre, as we know, is a mirror to the world. So, it comes as no surprise that many of the shortlisted plays reflect our times. From highlighting the crisis of mental health and the rise of the far right to stereotypes portrayed and enforced by the media, the 2019 shortlist represents the remarkable breadth of talent in the UK and further afield.” Suzanne Bell, Dramaturg at the Royal Exchange Theatre

The 10 UK scripts in the running for the prestigious overall prize are as follows…

1. BLACK BIRD by Babirye Bukilwa
2. SHED: EXPLODED VIEW by Phoebe Eclair-Powell
3. NEPTUNE by Sam Grabiner
4. THE EUROPEAN HARE by Sami Ibrahim
5. GLASS by Jacob Kay
6. SALTY IRINA by Eve Leigh
7. HARES by Lee Mattinson
8. BALLYBAILE by Jody O’Neill
9. AKEDAH by Michael John O’Neill
10. GLEE & ME by Stuart Slade

Four of the playwrights shortlisted for the overall Prize – Babirye Bukilwa, Sam Grabiner, Jacob Kay and Michael John O’Neill – are also eligible for the Original New Voice Award.

The International Award, new for 2019, sees five playwrights from Australia and the USA vie to be crowned the winner. They are:

1. TAMBO & BONES by Dave Harris (USA)
2. PAVLOV’S DOGS by Emme Hoy (Australia)
3. UNTITLED F*CK MISS SA*GON PLAY (SRSLY THIS IS NOT THE TITLE) by Kimber Lee (USA)
4. THIS LAND WAS MADE by Tori Sampson (USA)
5. PERIODS OF COLLAPSE or MOTHER RUSSIA by Lauren Yee (USA)

“The Bruntwood Prize engages, encourages, supports and celebrates the craft of playwriting, beginning with the phenomenal online resources on writeaplay.co.uk and culminating in the help each of our winning writers will receive from the Royal Exchange. New work is the way in which theatre remains alive, and a vital way in which we can reflect on the world around us. These 15 writers have bravely shared their stories with us, and it is fantastic that we can celebrate their hard work and dedication and creativity with this announcement today.” Bryony Shanahan, Joint Artistic Director at the Royal Exchange Theatre (begins 1 November 2019) and judge for the Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting

The winner of the 2019 Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting will be announced at an awards ceremony at the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester, on Monday 4 November 2019.