Today we are delighted to announce the seven finalist scripts for the inaugural Women’s Prize for Playwriting 2020, selected from 1,169 entries. We created the Prize 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 finalists plays will now be read and discussed by our judging panel, and the winner will be announced later in the autumn.
by babirye bukilwa
…blackbird hour is a call to arms to loving oneself when love has evaporated from the body.
babirye bukilwa is a writer, actor, model, poet, podcaster and songwriter. She was shortlisted for the Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting Shortlist 2019 with her debut play …blackbird hour, and is currently an artist in residence at Theatre Peckham 2020 with her second play …cake. bukilwa was invited to join the BBC London writers room 2018, as well as the Royal Court Introduction to Playwriting writers room 2019. As an actor, she was most recently seen in When We Have Sufficiently Tortured Each Other (National Theatre). bukilwa co-founded the award nominated podcast ‘SISTREN’; a podcast and collective founded in 2015 to amply the Black, femme Queer British experience.
By Liv Hennessy
Set during calving season on a West Midlands farm, three people navigate their pastoral duty to the land, to the animals, and to each other.
Liv Hennessy is a writer from the West Midlands, interested in regional voices and stories. She has written several short pieces during her time as a Pentabus Theatre young writer, and with the Royal Exchange Young Company. She currently works as the Story Editor for ITV Emmerdale, and COLOSTRUM is her first full length play.
By Chinonyerem Odimba
This is a story that takes in the shifts of both attitudes and violence in a new folklore style, it confounds any ideas of Black British presence, and follows the hopes, dreams, and fears of generations of Black women starting with a girl called Gabe.
Chinonyerem Odimba is a playwright, screenwriter, theatre director and poet. Her work for theatre includes Joanne and Amongst the Reeds (Clean Break / The Yard), a modern retelling of Twist (Theatre Centre), and Medea (Bristol Old Vic). She has also received commissions from Hampstead Theatre, Kiln Theatre, Live Theatre, Watermill Theatre, Radio 4, and Channel 4. She is currently working on commissions with RSC, BBC and Jermyn Street Theatre. Odimba has also worked as an Assistant Director/Director for Bristol Old Vic and Theatre503, and was due to direct Braids at Live Theatre Newcastle in April 2020.
REASONS YOU SHOULD(N’T) LOVE ME
By Amy Trigg
Juno was born with Spina bifida and is now clumsily navigating her twenties amidst street healers, love, loneliness and the feeling of being an unfinished project.
Amy Trigg is a writer and actor from Essex. Trigg’s essay An Ode to Improvisation (and Poehler and Fey) features in the book Feminist’s Don’t Wear Pink (and other lies) curated by Scarlett Curtis. She wrote two short digital plays for the Royal Shakespeare Company and Midsummer Festival in 2020, and her one-woman sketch The Rebrand won Colchester New Comedian of the Year 2016. As an actor, Trigg’s credits include The Taming of the Shrew, Measure for Measure (RSC), Shakespeare within the Abbey, The Sonnet Walks (Shakespeare’s Globe), and Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again. Born with Spina bifida, she was the first wheelchair user to graduate from a performance course at Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts.
REASONS YOU SHOULD(N’T) LOVE ME is Amy Trigg’s first full-length play.
RED SKY AT NIGHT
By Eve Leigh
Red Sky at Night is about living as an immigrant in London, capitalism, aliens, and other things that are probably going to kill us.
Eve Leigh is a writer for performance.Her previous plays include Midnight Movie (Royal Court/Berlin Theatertreffen Stueckemarkt 2020), While You Are Here (The Place/Dance East), The Trick (Bush Theatre, national tour), Spooky Action At A Distance (Royal Court/RWCMD), The Curtain (Young Vic Taking Part), and Stone Face, Silent Planet (Finborough Theatre). She has also received commissions from National Theatre Connections, Bush Theatre, Royal Shakespeare Company, Sheffield Theatres, and PappyShow. She was artist-in-residence at the National Theatre of Greece 2017. Leigh was awarded the Jerwood/Royal Court New Playwright Award in 2019 (with Jasmine Lee-Jones), and the Berlin Theatertreffen Stueckemarkt Selection 2020, and was shortlisted for the 2019 Bruntwood Prize.
By Miriam Battye
Over one evening, four virgins and two non-virgins try to answer the question that has been repeatedly asked of them, ‘What do you want?’
Miriam Battye is a writer from Manchester. Her previous plays include Scenes with girls (Royal Court), Trip The Light Fantastic (Bristol Old Vic), Pancake Day (Bunker Theatre/PLAY Theatre Co) and All Your Gold (Theatre Royal Plymouth), and she has written extensively for community and youth groups in Manchester and the South West. She also has recently started to write for television and was the 2018 Sister Pictures Writer In Residence.
YOU BURY ME
The play is about love and resistance in Cairo.
Ahlam has submitted YOU BURY ME under a pseudonym.
Ahlam is an occasional writer, she tries to fit it between her anxiety about the end of the world and her anxiety about what her parents would think. When she’s not writing plays, she spends her time teaching herself how to put on liquid eye-liner, wondering why koshari isn’t the most popular dish in the world and contemplating who she would have been if she had grown up in Blacksburg (VA) instead of Cairo (Egypt).
Charlotte and Katie 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.”