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David Ireland wins James Tait Black Theatre Award

Previous prize winners include Gary Owen for Iphigenia in Splott

Amy Molloy (Julie) and Stephen Rea (Eric Miller) in Cyprus Avenue
© Helen Murray

The winner of the annual James Tait Black Award for Theatre was unveiled at Edinburgh's Traverse.

David Ireland, writer of Cyprus Avenue, was the fifth playwright to win the award, receiving £10,000 for his work. Cyprus Avenue was premiered at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin before its run at the Royal Court in April and May 2016, directed by the Royal Court's artistic director, Vicky Featherstone.

The play follows the life of Belfast Loyalist Eric Miller, convinced his new born grandchild is Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams. At one point he puts glasses on the baby and draws a beard on her face with marker pen. It also sees Eric agonising over his own sense of identity and masculinity.

You can read our review of Cyprus Avenue here.

The accolade celebrates innovation in playwriting and is awarded annually by the University of Edinburgh in association with Playwrights' Studio, Scotland and the Traverse Theatre.

Ireland's text was part of a three-entry shortlist that also included Ella Hickson's Oil and Scenes from 68* Years by Hannah Khalil.

Orla O'Loughlin, artistic director at the Traverse Theatre, said: "this year's shortlist represents the impressive breadth and depth of innovation that the James Tait Black Award for Theatre seeks to champion. With Cyprus Avenue, David Ireland has created vibrant, urgent and provocative new play which speaks deeply to our turbulent times."

Previous winners of the James Tait Black Prize for Drama include: Gary Owen's one-woman monologue, Iphigenia in Splott (2016); Gordon Dahlquist's sci-fi play Tomorrow Come Today; Rory Mullarkey's Cannibals (2014) and Tim Price's acclaimed drama The Radicalisation of Bradley Manning (2013).