New playwrights award from Donmar Warehouse

Published: 25 April 2021
Reporter: Sandra Giorgetti

Chris Bush
Diana Nneka Atuona

Donmar Warehouse is to commission two UK playwrights in a scheme developed with partners Access Entertainment, who are part of Sir Leonard Blavatnik's Access Industries, and owners of London's Theatre Royal Haymarket.

Initially funding from Access Entertainment has been promised for a three-year pilot.

Known as the Theatre Royal Haymarket Writers’ Award the commission will see each writer develop their career through access to the Donmar’s support for R&D, and readings and workshops.

This year, the Award goes to Chris Bush and Diana Nneka Atuona.

Donmar artistic director Michael Longhurst said, “this award was created to build opportunities for talented writers with the aim of getting ambitious plays onto our stages.

"We’re delighted to be collaborating with Chris and Diana, who both have big and ambitious ideas for plays that moved me deeply, asking important questions about identity, and what stories occupy our spaces.

"It’s so exciting to be able to commission Chris and Diana who share the Donmar's passion and commitment to 'important stories, thrillingly told, widely shared'. I am very inspired by their writing and instinct for stories that are both personal and epic. I am looking forward to working alongside them both, as well as all future recipients of this award.

"We are grateful to be working alongside Access Entertainment to support the future work of artists during this extremely difficult period for theatre”.

Chris Bush is an award-winning playwright, lyricist and theatre-maker whose credits include Standing at the Sky’s Edge andThe Band Plays On at Sheffield Theatres and Nine Lessons and Carols at Almeida Theatre.

Diana Nneka Atuona is also an award-winning playwright. Her debut play, Liberian Girl, has been seen at London's Royal Court Theatre. She is currently developing commissions from both the Royal Court and the Old Vic.