Tim Price has won the inaugural James Tait Black Prize for Drama with The Radicalisation of Bradley Manning, about the American soldier recently convicted of espionage for leaking military secrets.
The judging panel said that the contemporary nature of the play, its important subject matter, its unique theatrical voice and inventive use of structure made Price’s work a clear winner. The script charts the story of Manning’s life, from his teenage years growing up in Wales to his current incarceration in the US.
Speaking at the Edinburgh Traverse after receiving the £10,000 prize Price told The Stage: “It was completely reckless, because they had already green lit this other play.
“I went into my meeting with John McGrath and said has anybody else pitched you a story about Bradley Manning, I think we should not do my play, and we should do a play about Bradley Manning.”
“At that stage I was an unproduced playwright. It was a huge risk, and there was huge pressure on me. I did not have much time, there was lots of responsibility on our shoulders to tell the story with integrity.”
Neil Murray, executive producer at The National Theatre of Scotland said: “We are delighted to honour Tim Price’s work with this award. His play is emotionally resonant on many levels, challenges thinking and teaches us things we did not know with a truly unique voice – exactly what this prize sets out to recognise.”
Although the James Tait Black prize is the oldest literary prize in the UK, the drama prize was only introduced this year. It was judged by students and academics from the University of Edinburgh, as well as representatives from the National Theatre of Scotland.
The shortlist also included: The Hundred Flowers Project by Christopher Chen; Foxfinder by Dawn King; In Water I’m Weightless by Kaite O’Reilly; and The Effect by Lucy Prebble.