Vivian Ellis Prize Invites ApplicationsDate: 23 December 1999
Britain's premiere prize to showcase the talents of new composers, lyricists and librettists, the Vivian Ellis Prize (named after the late English composer of musicals) is inviting applications for its first presentation of the next century.
Run by a charitable foundation which exists to discover, nurture and promote new writers in musical theatre working in Britain, the prize was launched in 1985 by Britain's Performing Rights Society to celebrate the 80th birthday of Vivian Ellis. Winners of the first year's prize were Charles Hart, who went on to collaborate with Andrew Lloyd Webber in writing the lyrics to The Phantom of the Opera as a result, and Anthony Drewe and George Stiles, whose winning entry, Just So, was picked up by Cameron Mackintosh who nurtured it to two stagings in Britain (at Newbury's The Watermill Theatre and London's Tricycle Theatre), and received its American premiere at Goodspeed Opera House in Connecticut. Stiles and Drewe have just seen their musical, Honk! The Ugly Duckling, based on the story by Hans Christian Andersen, open at the Royal National Theatre's Olivier auditorium as its Christmas entertainment, under the direction of Julia McKenzie.
A gala showcase of the nominated entries is presented annually - in 1999, this was held at the London Palladium, where a celebrity judging panel (including Ms McKenzie, Anthonny Drewe, the director and writer Jeremy Sams, producer Paul Elliott and critic Matt Wolf) chose Beach Radio, written by Gerard Kenny and Drey Shepperd, as the year's most promising musical.
The next showcase is planned for September 19, 2000. To apply to have a musical considered for entry into the competition, go to www.newmusicals.co.uk and download the information on the 'competition' page. Deadline for submission of all material is February 4, 2000.