Channel 4 is delighted to announce the six winners of the Channel 4 Playwrights’ Scheme which celebrates and supports emerging British writing talent.
The initiative awards six bursaries a year to new theatre writers and has been supported by Channel 4 since 2013. Four bursaries are supported by Channel 4 and two by The Peggy Ramsay Foundation. Each bursary is worth £10,000.
The Sonia Friedman Productions Award is given to the writer of the best play written by one of the previous year’s bursary recipients.
Sonali Bhattacharyya has been awarded The Sonia Friedman Productions Award 2019 for her play ‘Chasing Hares’
The recipients of the Channel 4 Playwrights’ Scheme bursaries for 2020 are:
‘Wolfie’ by ROSS WILLIS
Orange Tree Theatre
‘A Girl in School Uniform (Walks into a Bar)’ by LULU RACZKA
Young Vic Theatre
’The Sun, The Moon & The Stars’ by DIPO BARUWA-ETTI
‘J’Ouvert’ by YASMIN JOSEPH
(Supported by The Peggy Ramsay Foundation)
Royal Court Theatre
’Summer Rolls’ by TUYEN DO
Bristol Old Vic Theatre
‘Either’ by RUBY THOMAS
(Supported by The Peggy Ramsay Foundation)
The successful writers will now embark upon one-year attachments with the theatres outlined above, giving them the opportunity to meet a variety of theatre practitioners and to have first-hand experience of a working theatre. Their principal task in the next 12 months is to write at least one full-length play.
The writers will also have the opportunity to submit their play for The Sonia Friedman Productions Award in the year following their bursary.
Playwrights were nominated by UK theatre practitioners with the six winners selected by the Scheme’s Panel chaired by Sir Richard Eyre, this year’s panel also included: Rosie Alison (Heyday Films), Jack Bradley (Sonia Friedman Productions), Will Mortimer (The Bridge Theatre & The Peggy Ramsay Foundation), Julia Oh (Senior Commissioning Executive, Film4), Dinah Wood (Faber & Faber), Nicholas Wright (Playwright).
Sir Richard Eyre (Chairman of the Panel) said: “I was delighted that this year there were 6 such strikingly original plays and that their writers will have a chance to work with 6 different theatres. I’m very grateful to Channel 4 and the Peggy Ramsay Foundation for making this possible, and to the judging panel for their patient and conscientious work. In addition, thanks to the generosity of Sonia Friedman Productions we were pleased to give Sonali Bhattacharyya an award for her play Chasing Hares. “
Julia Oh (Senior Commissioning Executive, Film4) said: “This is an annual highlight for Film4 and we’re thankful for the opportunity to meet such cool, distinctive new writers. We applaud their creativity and wish them all the best of luck next year.”
Notes to Editors
In 1973, Howard Thomas, then Managing Director of Thames Television, launched the Thames Television Theatre Writers Scheme to support and celebrate new writing in the theatre. He believed that television owed much to the theatre for its supply of creative talent. In 1993 Pearson took over support for the scheme and it became the Pearson Playwrights’ Scheme. In 2013 it was announced it was to become the Channel 4 Playwrights’ Scheme.
Over the past 40 years, the playwrights’ scheme has celebrated and supported some of the finest British playwriting talent including; Jack Thorne, Joe Penhall, Catherine Johnson, Peter Moffat, Lucy Prebble, Martin McDonagh, Nancy Harris, Hanif Kureishi, Lydia Adetunji, Richard Bean, Tanika Gupta – and the list could go on.
This year’s panel, chaired by Sir Richard Eyre CH CBE included:
Rosie Alison (Heyday Films)
Jack Bradley (Sonia Friedman Productions)
Will Mortimer (The Bridge Theatre & The Peggy Ramsay Foundation)
Julia Oh (Creative Executive, Film4)
Dinah Wood (Faber & Faber)
Nicholas Wright (Playwright)
The scheme is administered by Sue Higginson OBE.
Four bursaries are supported by Channel 4 and two by The Peggy Ramsay Foundation.
There is an additional award –The Sonia Friedman Productions Award for best play. Each year this award is given to the writer of the best play judged by the same panel as above. The award is open to the writers in the year following their bursary. Only one play per writer is eligible for consideration.
About The Peggy Ramsay Foundation
Peggy Ramsay was one of the best-known play agents in the United Kingdom during the second half of the Twentieth Century. When she died in 1991 her estate was left for charitable purposes to help writers and writing for the stage. The Peggy Ramsay Foundation was established in pursuance of this objective.
For more information please visit www.peggyramsayfoundation.org
About Sonia Friedman Productions
Sonia Friedman Productions (SFP) is a West End and Broadway production company responsible for some of the most successful theatre productions in London and New York.
Since 1990, SFP has developed, initiated and produced over 160 new productions and together they have won a staggering 55 Olivier Awards including a record-breaking 14 at the 2014 Awards. In 2017, SFP won 9 Olivier Awards for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, the most awards ever received by a single production in Oliviers’ history. The company has also won 30 Tonys and 2 BAFTAs.
In 2017, Sonia Friedman OBE was awarded 'Producer of the Year' at the Stage Awards for the third year in a row as well as taking the number one spot in 'The Stage 100', becoming the first number one in the history of the compilation not to own or operate West End theatres and the first solo woman for almost 20 years. In 2018, Friedman was awarded the Equity Services to Theatre Award at the 18th Annual WhatsOnStage Awards, and was featured in TIME100, Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People of 2018.
Current productions include: The Book of Mormon in London and the UK/European Tour, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child in London, New York, Melbourne and San Francisco, Mean Girls at the August Wilson Theatre, New York and The Inheritance at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre, New York,
Forthcoming productions include: Leopoldstadt at the Wyndham’s Theatre, London, Uncle Vanya at the Harold Pinter Theatre, London, To Kill a Mockingbird at the Gielgud Theatre, London, The Doctor at the Duke of York’s Theatre, London, The Watsons at the Harold Pinter Theatre, London, Dreamgirls UK Tour, Semmelweis at the Bristol Old Vic, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child at Mehr! Theatre am Großmarkt, Hamburg and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child at the Ed Mirvish Theatre, Toronto.
For a full list of SFP’s theatre credits, please visit www.soniafriedman.com