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Scriptwriting lecturer shortlisted for renowned playwriting prize

Friday, 3 November, 2017

A lecturer at Bath Spa University has been shortlisted for this year’s Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting – the UK’s biggest national competition for playwriting.

Sharon Clark who is an established playwright, film writer and theatre producer, and also lectures on the MA Scriptwriting course at Bath Spa University, has had her play Plow shortlisted from over 1,800 original plays submitted to the competition this year.

Sharon from Bristol is the Creative Director of Bristol-based theatre company Raucous, currently resident at the Pervasive Media Studio. She has worked with the Arcola, the Arts Council, Bristol Old Vic, the National Theatre, Theatre West, Watershed and the Watford Palace Theatre. Her work has previously been shortlisted for the PapaTango Prize and the Yale Drama Prize, and nominated for the National Theatre Playwright’s Award. Her immersive play Ice Road is currently showing at the Jacob’s Wells Baths in Hotwells, Bristol.

She said: “It is extraordinary to have been shortlisted for the Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting. It is a huge validation of the kind of plays I want to write.”

Based on a true story, Plow follows an African-American woman as she walks across the US on a pilgrimage to where her husband and son died. Through social media she becomes a modern day Messiah.

Sharon said: “People start to interpret the meaning behind what she is doing. She amasses people who walk with her, social media that is full of conspiracy theories and a government that is worried about anyone who might appear to be ‘other’.

“In this period of current American history I was compelled to tell a story about a woman who merely wants the freedom to go her own way, but this simple act can be open to the complex political intentions of others.”

Launched in 2005, the Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting awards original and unperformed scripts by great writers regardless of their background and experience. Run in partnership between the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester and property company Bruntwood, the competition aims to raise awareness of new writing for theatre and the importance of nurturing playwrights. Around twenty-three critically acclaimed productions of winning entries have been shown across thirty-one UK wide venues. The total prize fund is £40,000 and each of the winners are entered into a development process with the Royal Exchange Theatre.

This year’s judging panel includes:

  • Stephen Russell Davies OBE – Producer and screenwriter. His work includes Casanova and the 2005 revival series of Doctor Who.
  • Alfred Enoch – Actor (the Harry Potter series, How to Get Away With Murder and Broadchurch).
  • Kirsty Lang – BBC journalist and broadcaster, and chair of the board of judges.
  • Michael Oglesby CBE DL – Founder of the Bruntwood Group of companies.
  • Phil Porter – Playwright and winner of the 2005 Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting. He wrote the plays The Man with The Hammer (Plymouth Theatre Royal) and The Flying Machine (Unicorn Theatre).
  • Lucy Prebble - Film, television and theatre writer, and creator of ITV series Secret Diary of a Call Girl.
  • Lyndsey Turner – Associate Director of the National Theatre whose work includes Fathers and Sons, and Hamlet.
  • Matthew Xia – playwright and Associate Artistic Director at the Royal Exchange. His work includes The Sound of Yellow (Young Vic) and Wild Child (Royal Court).

The four winning scripts will be announced at an awards ceremony hosted by BBC presenter Naga Munchetty on 13 November at the Royal Exchange Theatre.


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