2024 Lancaster Playwriting Prize to focus on young writers from County

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The 2024 Lancaster Playwriting Prize will focus on young writers from two age brackets 12 to 15-year-olds and 16 to 18-year-olds.

The competition is open to applicants living or learning in Lancashire and who must have reached their 12th birthday/must not have reached their 19th Birthday by the date of the submission deadline on Friday, January 12, 2024.

Submitted scripts should be between 15 and 30 minutes long and guidance will be available for those who might not have written plays or scripts before.

There will be two winners – one from each age group - who will each receive a prize cash and vouchers worth up to £750.

Alongside this prize, there will be a staged public reading of the winning plays in April 2024 at the Dukes in Lancaster and the writers will receive feedback on their work.

The Lancaster Playwriting Prize is organised by the Dukes in partnership with Lancaster University.

The final judging panel this year will include actor Lucy Briers, who is a prize funder, Dr Tajinder Singh Hayer, a Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at Lancaster University, a Youth Board Member from The Dukes and Porl Cooper, Talent Development and Programme Manager.

Karen O’Neill, the Director of The Dukes, said: “The Lancaster Playwriting Prize is a great opportunity for playwrights in the North. Creating a space for different perspectives and views on the world from under heard communities, the prize is very important for the Dukes as we strive for creativity for all. It is so exciting this year to be opening this opportunity to young writers and hearing their voices and stories.”

Dr Hayer said: “I'm really looking forward to this year's prize. Each iteration of the Lancaster Playwriting Prize has seen fascinating stories written. The first year of the Prize was aimed at ethnically diverse voices from the North West. Subsequent versions aimed to discover respectively: unproduced writers over 55 in 2019; LGBTQAI+ voices in 2022; deaf, disabled, or neurodiverse writers in 2023. I'm intrigued to see what the young people of Lancashire have to say. There is something about childhood's direct connection to the world of 'let's pretend' that makes it a useful parallel to theatre making; I really want to see how these teenagers tap into that spirit, but also speak to the world around them.'

Lucy Briers added: “I’m thrilled that the 5th Lancaster Playwriting Prize will be reaching out to the playwrights of tomorrow, as we invite 12 to 15-year-olds and 16 to 18-year-olds to submit their work. Freedom of artistic expression is a vital part of any healthy society and the Lancaster Playwriting Prize 2024 will endeavour to find the talents of the future and support them at the beginning of their writing journeys. Over the last four years we have found outstanding hidden talents in the North-West, and this year will be no different.”

The deadline for applications is Friday, January 12, 2024, with the winner to be announced the following month.

Full details on The Dukes website: https://dukeslancaster.org/get-involved/talent-development/lancaster-playwriting-prize

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