Hope Mill evening with Jonathan Harvey & £5k playwriting prize

Published: 25 June 2020
Reporter: David Chadderton

An Evening with Jonathan Harvey at Hope Mill Theatre

Manchester's Hope Mill Theatre is to present an online evening celebrating the work of writer Jonathan Harvey and is launching a playwriting prize with a prize of £5,000, a production at the theatre and mentorship from Harvey.

An Evening With Jonathan Harvey on Saturday 18 July will include an interview with Harvey, hosted by Hope Mill Patron Denise Welch, as well as scenes from some of his plays, including Beautiful Thing, Hushabye Mountain and The Cherry Blossom Tree, and songs from musicals for which Harvey has written the book, including Dusty: The Dusty Springfield Musical and the Pet Shop Boys musical Musik.

The cast performing will include Katherine Kingsley, Frances Barber, Emma Clarke, Gemma Brodrick, Claire-Louise Cordwell, Joshua Asare, Rose Keegan and Danny Lee Wynter. The evening will also include guest hosts who have starred and worked alongside Harvey, including Olivia Colman, Meera Syal, Layton Williams, Catherine Tyldesley, Tameka Empson and Maria Friedman.

The playwriting prize, which has been named “Through the Mill”, is open to UK-based writers over the age of 16 and is now open for submissions. The winner will receive a cash prize of £5,000 as well a production of the winning play at Hope Mill Theatre, plus there is an opportunity for mentorship with Jonathan Harvey for the finalists.

Artistic Director of Hope Mill Theatre Joseph Houston said, “we are very excited about our second online offering, celebrating Jonathan Harvey and the many incredible scripts that he has written for both stage and screen. The line-up of stars that we have is credit to his incredible back catalogue of work.

“It has long been a dream of ours to launch a playwrighting prize at Hope Mill Theatre. Along with the support of Jonathan Harvey, and during our time of closure, we have been able to plan such a prize and we are thrilled to be able to launch it officially.

“So many freelance artists have been affected terribly by the COVID epidemic and this is our way of being able to offer an opportunity to writers to have their work produced and supported by us as well as being able to offer a financial award.”

Harvey added, “I have long been a fan of Hope Mill Theatre. They are proof positive that great theatre doesn’t just take place in our capital.

“I am thrilled to be involved in Through The Mill. I got my first break in competitions at Liverpool Playhouse and the Royal Court in London. Getting my plays produced via these competitions was the best education ever, and the prize money helped get me through Uni!

“This is such a good opportunity, and I can’t wait to see what the competition brings, and to work with the finalists.

“I am very flattered the theatre want to do An Evening With... with me. And delighted to be able to help raise some much-needed money in a time of such huge crisis for theatres. We’ve assembled a top notch group of actors to read from my plays and there’ll be various people popping up who I’ve worked with asking me questions. And there’ll be some singing. It’ll be a bit like An Audience with Diana Ross. Without Diana Ross. And with me.”