The Women’s Prize for Playwriting, produced by Ellie Keel and Paines Plough, with Principal Partner 45North and in association with Sonia Friedman Productions today announce the 62 longlisted scripts for The Women’s Prize for Playwriting 2021, selected from 850 entries. The Prize is designed to celebrate and support exceptional playwrights who identify as female by providing them with a national platform. The Prize is for a full-length play (defined as over 60 minutes in length), written in English, and the winning playwright wins £12,000. The Prize is sponsored by Samuel French Ltd, a Concord Theatricals company, who are the official publishing partner of the prize. The founding sponsor of the Prize was PER People.
In its inaugural year two First Prizes of £12,000 were awarded. Reasons You Should(n’t) Love Me by Amy Trigg premiered at Kiln Theatre to critical acclaim in May 2021, directed by Charlotte Bennett. An audio version was produced by Audible the following month, ahead of a national tour in Autumn 2022. You Bury Me by Ahlam, directed by Katie Posner, had its première at the Lyceum Theatre in August as part of the Edinburgh International Festival.
Ellie Keel, Founder Director of The Women’s Prize for Playwriting, today said, “After an amazing first year of The Women’s Prize for Playwriting in which we were delighted to mount a full production of Amy Trigg’s Reasons You Should(n’t) Love Me at Kiln Theatre, as well as the premiere of You Bury Me by Ahlam at the Edinburgh International Festival, I’m thrilled to have a second longlist bursting with quality, ambition and imagination. It’s going to be a difficult job to whittle down these 60 plays to a shortlist – they have in common the fact that they are rich in theatrical possibility and aren’t afraid to take on complex, confronting and important subject matter. I’m proud of every writer who submitted a play to The Women’s Prize for Playwriting in what has been an extraordinarily challenging year for the creative industries.”
Katie Posner and Charlotte Bennett, joint Artistic Directors of Paines Plough, added, “The last 18 months have been an overwhelming challenge for the theatre industry and for freelancers in particular and so we were astounded by the incredible quality of all the plays submitted to this year’s Women’s Prize for Playwriting. The creativity that has shone through despite a pandemic is nothing short of inspirational. We appreciate how hard it is to press ‘send’ on a play and share your words with strangers and it has been a true privilege to have read so many people’s work, which has once again shown that there is an abundance of amazing talent amongst female-identifying playwrights. We can’t wait to continue reading into the next stages of the prize.”
The judges for this year’s Prize are Arifa Akbar, Mel Kenyon (Chair), Lucy Kirkwood, Jasmine Lee-Jones, Winsome Pinnock, Indhu Rubasingham, Jenny Sealey, Nina Steiger, Nicola Walker and Jodie Whittaker.
The longlist in full is:
The shortlist will be announced on Thursday 25 November, followed by the finalist plays in December. The winner(s) will be announced at a ceremony in London on Friday 4 February 2022.