Lancaster Playwriting Prize 2024 - winners announced

Group pic of winners and playreaders on a dark stage background
Winners Amelia Roles (centre right) and Lydia Baines (centre left) with the Lancaster Playwriting Prize (LPP) rehearsed reading creative team including The Dukes Theatre Head of Creative Communities Carl Woodward and CEO Chris Lawson and other LPP participants. Credit Jessie Turton.

The winners of the 2024 Lancaster Playwriting Prize, selected from 30 entries, have been announced this week.

Winners Amelia Roles, fromSt Aidan’s CE High School in Preesall, and Lydia Baines, from Blackpool & The Fylde College and now at Preston College, had rehearsed readings, by professional actors, of scenes from their work this month at The Dukes Theatre in Lancaster as part of their prize. They also each received vouchers worth £750.

The shifting remit of the competition, now in its fifth year, makes it unique and is run in partnership with the Department of English Literature and Creative Writing at Lancaster University and The Dukes Theatre in Lancaster.

The 2024 award, which aims to support and showcase emerging writers across the region, was this year open young writers from two age groups - 12 to 15-year-olds and 16 to 18-year-olds.

Each playwright entered the award anonymously, meaning all scripts were judged on their own merit by impartial readers, with no knowledge of the writer’s background or previous experience.

The two shortlisted plays were: Spilling The Tea by Amelia and untitled by Lydia.

This year’s judges were Lancaster University alumna, prize funder and actor Lucy Briers and Lancaster University’s Dr Tajinder Singh Hayer, from the Department of English literature and Creative Writing.

Head of Creative Communities at the Dukes Carl Woodward said: “The Lancaster Playwriting Prize is more essential than ever in a context of challenging cuts to talent development.

“I'd like to personally thank Lucy for financing the prize for the past 5 years; it means the world.

“We are thrilled to be celebrating the winners for the fifth year of this prize, which not only champions diverse talent, but continues to actively showcase voices and stories from underrepresented communities across Lancashire.”

Judges’ comments:

Dr Tajinder Singh Hayer said: “'It's always exciting to be at the start of a creative career, and I'm looking forward to how these two writers continue to develop. It's a powerful statement to pick up a pen as a young person (even if it is metaphorical one); I hope this prize encourages both our winners and others in the region.”

Lucy Briers added: “As this is my last year of being involved with the Lancaster Playwriting Prize I was thrilled that we reached out to the next generation of playwrights for 2024. I'd like to congratulate the two winners and wish them every success with their creative lives. Keep Writing!”

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