Channel 4 has today announced the six winners of the Channel 4 Playwrights’ Scheme, which supports emerging writers.
The initiative awards bursaries annually to new theatre writers and has been supported by Channel 4 since 2013.
The recipients of the Channel 4 Playwrights’ Scheme bursaries, formerly known as the Pearson Playwrights’ Scheme, will each receive £10,000 and spend a year on attachment with the theatres listed below.
The Peggy Ramsay Foundation, a charity that supports theatre writers at different stages of their career traditionally funds one bursary. This year they have doubled their commitment allowing the scheme to benefit an additional writer.
The winners are:
JOSH AZOUZ (‘Buggy Baby’) with HEADLONG THEATRE (London)
BERRI GEORGE (‘Shadow Kingdoms’) with THEATRE 503 (London)
HANNAH MORLEY (‘Petrichor’) with FINBOROUGH THEATRE (London)
TESTAMENT (‘Black Men Walking’) with ROYAL EXCHANGE THEATRE (Manchester)
MEGHAN TYLER (‘Crocodile Fever’) with TRAVERSE THEATRE (Edinburgh) supported by the Peggy Ramsay Foundation
ERICA MURRAY (‘All Mod Cons’) with LYRIC THEATRE (Belfast) supported by the Peggy Ramsay Foundation
The successful writers will have the opportunity to meet a variety of theatre practitioners and gain first-hand experience of a working theatre via their attachments, with the aim to produce a full-length play.
Playwrights were nominated by UK theatre Artistic Directors, with the six winners selected by the scheme’s judging panel which included Film4’s Commissioning Executive, Julia Oh.
Julia Oh said: “This opportunity to help such a talented class of writers and theatres is an annual highlight for Film4 and Channel 4. If we can help fund the time, the quiet writing space, and the fellowship of advisors to support the next generation of dramatists, it’s our privilege.”
This year’s panel, chaired by Sir Richard Eyre, included Rosie Alison (Heyday); Gemma Boswell (Head of Development Channel 4); Jack Bradley (Literary Manager Sonia Friedman Productions) ; Will Mortimer (Head of Development The Bridge) ; Julia Oh (Commissioning Executive Film4); Dinah Wood (Faber & Faber); Nicholas Wright (Playwright) .
Sir Richard Eyre said: “Once again I’m thrilled that six talented emerging writers will benefit from a really enlightened act of philanthropy. My thanks to Channel 4 Television and The Peggy Ramsay Foundation for making this possible.”
All writers will have the opportunity to submit their play to win the Sonia Friedman Productions Award 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.
Writers selected for the scheme are eligible to submit one play for consideration for the Sonia Friedman Productions Award (previously the Catherine Johnson Best Play Award), for the best play written by one of the previous year’s bursary recipients.
The 2016 winner of the award, Francis Turnly’s The Great Wave, was co-produced in 2018 by The National Theatre and The Tricycle Theatre (where he spent the year on attachment) at the NT’s Dorfman Theatre.
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.peggyramsayfounfation.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 48 Olivier Awards including a record-breaking 14 at the 2014 Awards. In 2017, SFP won nine 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 24 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 also featured in TIME100, a list of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World.
Current West End and Broadway productions include: the UK premiere of The Book of Mormon, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child in London, New York and Melbourne, The Ferryman at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre, New York, Mean Girls at the August Wilson Theatre, New York, All About Eve at the Noël Coward, London, The Jungle at St Ann’s Warehouse, Brooklyn, The Inheritance, Summer and Smoke, Dreamgirls, The Jungle at the Playhouse Theatre, London.
Forthcoming productions include: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child at the Curran, San Francisco, and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child at Mehr! Theatre am Großmarkt, Hamburg.
For a full list of SFP’s theatre credits, please visit soniafriedman.com