Live Theatre 2013 Bursary Award

Published: 17 December 2013
Reporter: Peter Lathan

Allison Carr performing The Soaking of Vera Shrimp

Newcastle's Live Theatre and The Empty Space have announced the winner of their 2013 Bursary, designed to encourage innovative artists to explore different ways in which text and performance can be brought together.

The £2,500 award went to writer Alison Carr who presented an extract of her new piece The Soaking of Vera Shrimp, performed at a special Scratch Night on Thursday 12 December by Tessa Parr and directed by Rosie Kellagher.

The play is set in the middle of an almighty thunderstorm. The main character, fourteen-year-old Vera Shrimp, discovers an extraordinary ability: she can ‘read’ raindrops, each one having soaked up an emotion from those their water has come into contact with.

Amongst all of the hundreds of millions of raindrops falling from the sky, Vera is desperately searching for something of what is left of her family.

Empty Space director and one of the judging panel, Natalie Querol, said, "This bursary is designed to support approaches to making theatre that don't follow a traditional writer led model.

"With The Soaking of Vera Shrimp Alison is taking a step into the unknown; throwing away the script and creating a new show in the rehearsal room. Her scratch performance received an overwhelmingly positive response from the audience and I join them in looking forward to seeing this beautiful, charming show at Live Theatre in 2014."

Alison Carr was joined by North East theatre makers Carl Kennedy and Zoe Lambert, Gary Kitching and Tender Buttons who each received £500 and five/seven days of rehearsal space at Live Theatre to develop their show.

She was a member of Live Theatre’s Writers Group between 2008 and 2010. Her work for the theatre includes The Girls From Poppyfield Close, Clint, Ten Tiny Tyneside Plays, Tittle Tattle Tattletale and The Girl In The Biscuit Tin. She also took part in Paines Plough’s Come To Where I’m From as well as being a winner of Short Cuts in August 2010.

She has recently been commissioned by the Traverse Theatre following a year-long attachment with them as part of the ‘Traverse 50’. Her work has also been performed at Northern Stage, The Manchester Royal Exchange, the National Theatre and the Old Vic, and her first radio drama Dolly Would was broadcast on BBC Radio 4 last year.