Winners announced of 2013 Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting

David Chadderton

The 2013 Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting announced its winners at a ceremony at the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester on 22 November 2013 presented by former Haçienda deejay Dave Haslam.

In 2005, Manchester’s Royal Exchange Theatre entered into a partnership with property company Bruntwood to sponsor a national playwriting competition, run along identical lines to the Mobil Playwriting Competition which was extremely successful for the Exchange in the 1980s.

The competition, like the Mobil, runs every two years and offers large cash prizes plus mentorship and the chance of a production for the winners and publication for any produced plays through Nick Hern Books.

This year, the panel awarded three judges prizes of a trophy and £8,000 as well as the first prize, presented by members of the judging panel. Playwright Tanika Gupta awarded the first to Katherine Chandler for her play Bird, Royal Exchange artistic director Greg Hersov to Christ Urch for Rolling Stone and playwright David Eldridge to Luke Norris for So Here We Are.

Finally, chair of the judging panel Dame Jenni Murray awarded the winner’s trophy and the £16,000 first prize to Anna Jordan for her play Yen. Jordan trained as an actor at LAMDA, but she has previously had her work performed at Theatre503, The Old Red Lion, Soho Theatre, Bush Theatre and Riverside Studios, all in London, and has developed a drama series about addiction with Little Brother Productions.

Yen tells the story of two brothers who live alone with their dog Taliban, playing video games and watching porn, inspired by a story that Jordan saw in a local newspaper about two boys who committed a hideous crime.

Other plays in the shortlist of ten, chosen from more than 1,800 entries, were December by Alice Birch, Imam by Toby Clarke, Dorm by Lynda Radley, P’YongYang by In-Sook Chappell, Russian Dolls by Kate Lock and Waste by David Kantounas.

Jenni Murray said, "It’s been an extraordinary shortlist this year and very difficult to decide on a winner. Yen is a play of great depth and relevance. In an incredibly dark world, each of the characters are drawn with beautiful empathy, and a humanity which stood out to all the judges."

For more information about the Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting and for tips and resources for playwrights, see www.writeaplay.co.uk. You can find more information about the Royal Exchange Theatre at www.royalexchange.co.uk.