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Lyric Hammersmith Evolution festival to return in 2020

Eve Cowley and Elin Schofield's play Screwdriver will headline the programme

Some of the Evolution Lab team
© Helen Murray

The Lyric Hammersmith Theatre's Evolution festival will return for a fifth consecutive year from 11 to 14 February 2020.

The programme showcases work from over 60 emerging artists aged 18 to 25 and provides a platform for young people currently underrepresented in the industry. Creatives from the previous years have gone on to present shows at the Lyric Hammersmith, Vaults, Bunker Theatre, Battersea Arts Centre and Young Vic.

Eve Cowley and Elin Schofield's new play Screwdriver will headline Evolution as the winner of the 2019 Bill Cashmore Award, a £10,000 prize that over the next three years will help young playwrights to develop their creative ideas into a full production. Cowley and Schofield are the first recipients of the award – their show is a dark comedy dissecting prison, prejudices and power.

The 2020 Bill Cashmore ward will be decided during the Evolution Scratches – 16 artists and companies sharing 10-minute snippets of new performances in the early stages of development, with audiences invited to offer feedback. The winner will receive a year-long residency at the Lyric Hammersmith Theatre.

The festival will also host the Evolution Lab, which invites four emerging directors to collaborate with design students from Wimbledon College of Arts and reimagine classic texts by Sophocles, Eugène Ionesco, Athol Fugard, John Kani and Winston Ntshona. Two shows will play in a double bill each evening to showcase the teams' progress. The directors of the 2020 Evolution Lab will be TD Moyo, Yasmin Hasfeji, Diane Page and Gavin Joseph. The designers will be Elena Catangiu, Pip Terry, Charlotte Von Szczepanski and Melissa Sallabanks-Blissett.

Rachel O'Riordan, the artistic director of the Lyric Hammersmith Theatre, said: "Having the opportunity to create work for an audience in a supportive environment is an invaluable experience as you develop as a director, writer and artist. Traditional training is often not an option for many young people and Evolution offers an alternative route and experience for emerging artists across the UK."