The winner of this year’s Bruntwood Prize has been revealed in a ceremony in Manchester.
Actor Nathan Queeley-Dennis (Black Love) has won the top prize for debut play Bullring Techno Makeout Jamz, billed as a Birmingham-based “journey of self-discovery as he explores Black masculinity through Beyoncé lyrics, techno raves and the deeply intimate relationship a man has with his barber.”
The judges said of Queeley-Dennis’ piece: “Nathan’s voice bursts off the page in this vibrant, laugh-out-loud, and ultimately moving tribute to being young and on the rise in Birmingham. In a moment when joy is so easily diminished, this absolutely joyful shout feels like the most radical, political statement of all: to remind us that our birthright as humans is not just to survive, but to thrive.”
Other winners across the prize included Hong Kong-born, multidisciplinary artist Roshelle Fong, who picked up the international prize for The Red Lead 红铅, while the runner-up prize went to Martha Loader for Bindweed, which explores domestic violence from within a community-led perpetrator group.
The winner of the North West Original New Voice Award and Residency was Patrick Hughes for Leave the Morning to the Morning, which examines family dynamics and the complexities of mental health.
Amanda Parker, chair of the 2022 Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting judging panel, said: “The Bruntwood Prize, yet again delivered plays that speak to the urgent issues of our times, in ways that are unexpected, fresh, thrilling and compelling. The judging panel would like to thank all who entered the competition and congratulate the shortlisted 14 whose creative energies gave us such a rich feast of imagining.
“Through tough debate – because all were excellent – and deep reflection, because we felt passionately about all of them – we landed on the winning entries. Our winners offered us challenge, a new lens on universal concerns, made us laugh at the dizzying truth of the worlds they created, and weep in sympathy with the horrors portrayed. Thank you to Bruntwood, to the entrants, to the winners. We can’t wait to see these words come to life on our stages!”