Winners of the first Old Vic New Voices Theatre503 Award were celebrated this week (Wednesday 23 January 2008) in a gala night at the fringe theatre in Battersea, south London. This is the first year of collaboration between the two theatres on the prize, which offers winners the chance to stage full productions of their works at Theatre 503.

The 2008 winners were I Am a Superhero by Jennifer Tuckett, which premiered earlier this month, and theatre collective Creased’s Mad Funny Just, which continues its Theatre503 run until 9 February. Through the New Voices Club, the Old Vic works with over 5,000 young actors, writers, directors and producers every year, developing scripts, running masterclasses, providing careers advice and hosting lively peer-networking events. The New Voices Award was launched in 2006, with £5000 awarded to Artefacts, written by My Child author Mike Bartlett, which will be staged at the Bush Theatre next month.

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Commenting on the project, Old Vic artistic director Kevin Spacey – who attended Wednesday’s celebrations in Battersea - said: “The shows presented at Theatre503 are the result of work that we at the Old Vic believe in passionately – the nurturing and encouragement of the next generation of theatrical talent. This year, we strengthened the Award offer further by augmenting the fund to £8,000 and partnering with Theatre503. This pooling of resources has allowed us to offer young practitioners an unrivalled opportunity to present fresh, relevant, excellent work at a leading new writing venue.”

Mad Funny Just revolves around Louise Baker, whose life was normal. She became part of the furniture. But then she died. The play explores how the ripples of this event affect those who loved her, or could have. The Creased collective comprises Christopher Brandon, Lachlan Chapman, Alison O'Donnell, Mark Field, Becci Gemmell and director Sarah Tipple.

- by Terri Paddock