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Jane Elson wins Kings Cross New Writing Award

Kings Cross New Writing Award has been presented to Jane Elson for Leonardo Stole My Crayon, at the reopening of the Courtyard Theatre, where the play will receive a rehearsed reading next year.

Launched in 2003, the biennial competition seeks to honour an outstanding and inventive work of theatre by a writer from the UK and the Republic of Ireland.

Elson’s play tells the story of young prisoners facing obstacles such as dyslexia and other learning disabilities, whose lives are changed after entering an art competition. The young writer, who is dyslexic herself, wrote the play after running drama workshops with young offenders at HMS Polmont in Scotland.

On collecting the award, Elson commented: “Receiving the King’s Cross Writing Award is such an honour. I wrote Leonardo to raise awareness of the number of young offenders with dyslexia, and it’s been such a moving experience. As a dyslexic myself, I’ve been so touched by the young prisoners I’ve met.”

Runner-up of the competition was Tom Green for his play The Death of Margaret Thatcher, while the other shortlisted authors were Dominic Mitchell, Sarah Grochala, Richard Edwards and Steve Wallis.

The award’s judging panel consisted of the Courtyard’s joint artistic director June Abbott, director Phil Willmott, playwright Robin Soans, The Agency’s Nick Quinn and designer John Bell.

Previously based in Kings Cross, with an additional location in Covent Garden, the fringe theatre has now relocated to the old Hoxton Library in north London. Both Abbott and fellow artistic director Tim Gill unveiled the renovated building, which includes a 150-seat main house theatre and a 70-seat studio space, last night.