Theatre News

Shortlist announced for the James Tait Black Prize for Drama

The winner will be announced at a ceremony in Edinburgh on 21 August

The nominations for the James Tait Black Prize for Drama have been announced, with three new British plays selected from over 180 entries.

The shortlisted plays are Oil by Ella Hickson, Cyprus Avenue by David Ireland, and Scenes from 68* Years by Hannah Khalil.

Oil, which premiered at the Almeida last year starring Anne-Marie Duff, centres on a mother and daughter throughout different time periods over the course of 150 years, linking the oil-age with feminism.

Ireland's Cyprus Avenue played the Royal Court in April last year and was directed by the theatre's artistic director Vicky Featherstone. It follows Belfast Loyalist Eric Miller as he struggles to get over the past and accept the future.

In Scenes from 68* Years, Palestinian-Irish playwright Khalil presented a series of snapshots from everyday life in Palestine from 1948 to the present day. It premiered at the Arcola Theatre in April 2016.

Readings of each play will be performed in a ceremony at the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh on 21 August, where the winner of the £10,000 prize will be announced.

Orla O'Loughlin, artistic director at the Traverse Theatre said: "These three writers have created vibrant, urgent and provocative new plays which speak deeply to our turbulent times."

The prize, which is judged by a panel of emerging artists and established theatre experts, is awarded to the best new play in English, Scots or Gaelic, which demonstrates an original theatrical voice and makes a significant contribution to the art form. It was launched in 2012 and is part of Britain’s oldest literary awards, the James Tait Black Prizes.

Previous winners include: Gary Owen’s Iphigenia in Splott (2016); Gordon Dahlquist’s Tomorrow Come Today (2015); Rory Mullarkey’s Cannibals (2014) and Tim Price’s The Radicalisation of Bradley Manning (2013).