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Winner of the 2015 Verity Bargate Award is announced

Soho artistic director Steve Marmion has announced the winner of the playwriting prize

L-R: Nina Steiger, Associate Director with Stephen Jackson, 2015 VBA Winner and Steve Marmion
© Ellie Kurttz

First time playwright Stephen Jackson has been announced as winner of the prestigious Verity Bargate Award for emerging playwrights in 2015.

Jackson's debut play, Roller Diner, won £6,000 after being picked from a shortlist of six plays and over 900 submissions. The play is a a love story with songs, set in a 1950's style Roller Diner in Birmingham.

Soho theatre's artistic director Steve Marmion awarded Jackson the prize on Thursday, and said: "Soho Theatre is about looking for unique and unheard voices – from all backgrounds, attitudes and places. This is ...a risky off-beat yet brilliant idea, a collision of styles."

Jackson said of his win: "I never expected to win. I thought the judges would have to be a bit bonkers to choose a musical – especially without hearing the soundtrack. In hindsight, I realise that I was wrong - and that the judges are wise, daring and farsighted…and a bit bonkers."

Runner up this year was the play Fury by Phoebe Eclair-Powell, which is a modern retelling of Medea about a young single mum.

The Verity Bargate Award was established in 1982 to affirm Soho's commitment to new writers. Previous winners include Previous winners Vicky Jones (The One), Thomas Eccleshare (Pastoral) and Diane Samuels (Kindertransport).

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