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Douglas Maxwell wins Brian Way Award 2009

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London’s Theatre Centre has named Douglas Maxwell as the winner of the Brian Way Award 2009 for his play for young people The Mothership.

Maxwell was awarded with a cheque for £6,000 for his winning entry – a Birmingham Repertory Theatre commission which toured the country last year – by National Theatre deputy literary manager and chair of the award judging panel Chris Campbell, during a presentation ceremony at the Waterhouse Restaurant.

Scottish writer Maxwell is the author of a number of plays such as Decky Does The Bronco, Variety and Backpacker Blue, while his work for young people includes Helmet, Beyond and Mancub. His plays have been performed in translation in Germany, Norway, Hong Kong, New York, Chicago, Holland and South Korea – where his work Our Bag Magnet has just completed a three-year run.

Accepting the award, Maxwell commented: “This means a lot to me because I have been writing for young audiences on and off for ten years, and it deserves respect because I think writing for young audiences is really, really hard. Writing a normal play is hard, writing a good play is almost impossible, writing a good play that teenagers might like ages you like a dog.

“These people we are writing for watch Hollyoaks and The Simpsons five nights a week – you try coming up with an idea that hasn’t been done in Hollyoaks and The Simpsons. It’s impossible. If it doesn’t work, you are personally responsible for putting someone off going to the theatre for life. I’m not comfortable with that – that’s William Shakespeare’s job.”

The annual playwriting prize was established as the Children’s Award in 2000 by Arts Council England, to celebrate the accomplishments of theatre for young people, particularly the work of playwrights. It was taken over by the TC in 2007, and was renamed after the organisation’s founder when ACE removed funding for the award.

During the ceremony, TC artistic director Natalie Wilson announced Steven Bloomer as the winner of the inaugural Adrienne Benham Award, which has been created to give seed funding worth £2,000 to an emerging playwright who is interesting in creating work for young audiences.

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