Theatre News

Inaugural Women's Prize for Playwriting winners revealed

Two winners have been announced

The Women's prize for Playwriting
The Women's prize for Playwriting

Two winners have been revealed for the inaugural Women's Prize for Playwriting.

Launched by Ellie Keel Productions and Paines Plough, with 45North and in association with Sonia Friedman Productions, the scheme was searching for texts over 60 minutes in length.

Ahlam has won for You Bury Me – described as "a play is about love and resistance in Cairo", while Amy Trigg also won for her debut play Reasons You Shouldn't Love Me, about a girl living through her turbulent 20s with Spina bifida.

The judging panel has featured award-winning actress Monica Dolan, Sarah Frankcom, Artistic Director of LAMDA, playwright and screenwriter Tanika Gupta, playwright Ella Hickson, theatre producer and former executive director of the Donmar Warehouse Kate Pakenham, actress and playwright Maxine Peake and artistic director of Kiln Theatre, Indhu Rubasingham. It is chaired by literary agent Mel Kenyon.

Any person of 16 years or older who is resident in the UK and Ireland and who identifies as female was able to enter, with the two pieces awarded the first prize by the judging panel receiving £12,000 in respect of an exclusive option for the lead producers of the Prize to co-produce the winning play.

Keel said this evening: "I'm honoured and delighted that the inaugural year of The Wome's Prize for Playwriting yielded such a strong field of longlisted, shortlisted and Finalist plays. I'm also proud that our judges took the bold step of tearing up the rulebook and awarded two first prizes to these two exceptional plays which bookend the breadth of female writing for the stage so beautifully. I am so proud of the writers we have worked with and all that we have achieved with this Prize in its first year, and cannot wait to produce these winning plays."

Speaking to WhatsOnStage, Ahlam said: "There's an entire generation that knows what tear gas tastes like, or to have rubber bullets hit their legs…I first wrote the play in 2015 while I was in the UK and, at the time, Egypt had a military dictatorship takeover. It all escalated with the idea of forced disappearances – that made its way into the play a bit."

Trigg added: "I was on tour with the RSC while I was writing the play – alongside a company where I was constantly talking about text and story. That definitely influenced the writing without me realising. I submitted the play in January and then getting through the longlist, the shortlist, and now this – the Prize doesn't feel like it's all been building to a moment – instead, it feels like it's been a year-long celebration."

Both piece should make their way onto UK stages in the not-too-distant future.