Natasha Langridge has won the 2010 Meyer-Whitworth Award for her play Shraddha, an exploration of the Romany gypsy culture which premiered at Soho Theatre in November 2009.

Supported by the National Theatre Foundation, the 19th annual Meyer-Whitworth Award is worth £10,000 and is intended to help further the careers of UK playwrights who are not yet established. The Award also aims to draw public attention to the importance of writers in contemporary theatre.

Previous winners have included Philip Ridley (for The Fastest Clock in the Universe), Diane Samuels (Kindertransport), David Harrower (Kill the Old, Torture Their Young), Conor McPherson (This Lime Tree Bower), Dennis Kelly (Osama The Hero), Owen McCafferty (Scenes from the Big Picture) and Morna Pearson (Distracted).

Shraddha, which takes its title from the Sanskrit word meaning “faith”, centres on Pearl, a 17-year-old gypsy in east London whose family are threatened with eviction due to the forthcoming Olympics.

Playwright Edward Kemp – who served on this year’s judging panel along with Oladipo Agboluaje, Emily Gray and Jeremy Raison - commented: “It’s thrilling to encounter a playwright who first of all takes the time thoroughly to research an unseen corner of British culture, and then enters so passionately and creatively into the challenges of bringing that story to the stage. Shraddhadisplays some breathtaking bits of writing and a vivid theatrical imagination; it’s the kind of play that makes you hungry to know what the writer will produce next.”

Natasha Langridge trained at East 15 Acting School. She is a playwright, author, actress, theatre director and physical theatre teacher. Her previous work includes Beverley, Worthing Whispers, Breathing in Brixton and The Method with dramaturgy by Bryony Lavery. She recently founded Renegade, a new theatre company, for which Shraddha was the first production. She is currently on the BBC Writers Academy.

The Meyer-Whitworth Award is managed by the Playwrights' Studio, Scotland with additional reading support by members of the Playwrights’ Network. The prize was presented to Langridge at a ceremony held yesterday (18 October 2010) at the National Theatre.