NE playwright shortlisted in monologue competition

Peter Lathan

NE playwright Alison Carr has been shortlisted in a national monologue writing competition, Heretic Voices, organised by the Arcola Theatre in Dalston in East London in association with Heretic Productions.

The competition, launched in July, is for monologues between 15 and 45 minutes in length which have not had a previous professional production.

1,136 plays were submitted and yesterday the shortlist of 9 was announced, among them Newcastle-based writer Alison Carr and her play Dogwalker in which a supply teacher's world is upturned after she makes a grisly discovery while walking her dog.

The shortlisted plays will now be read by a panel consisting of Guardian theatre critic Michael Billington, playwright Lolita Chakrabarti, BAFTA Award-winning actor Monica Dolan and literary agent Mel Kenyon. They will then choose four which will announced on 27 November and then produced at the Arcola from 9 to 13 January.

“The writers come from many different walks of life,” said Heretic Productions’ artistic director Max Gill, “but they are united by an exceptional talent and I do not envy the panel in choosing the final plays for production.”

In addition to the production, the winning monologues will be published as a collection.

“I've always loved monologues and my earliest plays were one-person inspired by Alan Bennett's Talking Heads and Victoria Wood's Kitty sketches,” Alison Carr said. “I really enjoyed researching and writing Dogwalker, and I'm thrilled it’s been shortlisted.”

Her theatre credits include Hush (Paines Plough / RWCMD / Gate Theatre), Remains (troublehouse theatre, Octagon Theatre), Clothes Swap Theatre Party (Forward Theatre Project, Derby Theatre), Iris (Live Theatre), Fat Alice (Traverse Theatre / Oran Mor / Aberdeen Performing Arts), The Soaking of Vera Shrimp (winner, Live Theatre / The Empty Space Bursary Award), Can Cause Death starring Olivier Award-winning actor David Bradley (Forward Theatre Project, National Theatre, Northern Stage & Latitude Festival).

Radio credits include Dolly Would (Drama, BBC Radio 4) and Yackety Yak (The Verb, BBC Radio 3).

Her play Caterpillar was shortlisted for the Theatre503 Playwriting Award 2016 and earlier this year she won the Journal Culture Writer of the Year Award for Iris.