Josie Rourke recognised for her support of new writing

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Donmar Warehouse artistic director Josie Rourke has been honoured for her support of new writing.

Rourke was one of five winners at today’s Writers’ Guild of Great Britain awards for the encouragement of new writing, which also saw Watford Palace Theatre artistic director Brigid Larmour recognised.

The awards, now in their eighth year, are presented by the guild’s theatre committee and allow members the chance to “publicly thank those who have given them a particularly positive experience in new writing” over the last year.

Rourke was nominated by actor and writer Robin Soans in recognition of her time at the Bush Theatre, and in particular for her final production, Sixty Six Books.

Soans, who wrote a piece for the production, said: “There was a tremendous feeling of camaraderie and achievement, and I think in a world where not that much is special, this was special, and should be recognised as such.”

Rourke said she was “honoured” to receive the prize.

Meanwhile, Larmour was nominated by Theresa Howard, who praised the artistic director for producing her and Steven Edis’ musical I Capture the Castle.

“At all times we felt nurtured by her and the Watford Palace Theatre, particularly through the grant application process and the research and development of the material,” she said.

Other winners at the event, held at the Royal Court, included Janet Steel, artistic director of theatre company Kali.

Steel was nominated by Sayan Kent, who said she had recently had two pieces of new work produced with the company under Steel’s leadership.

She said: “I have found her to be always generous with her time, kind in response and encouraging in pushing boundaries and trying something new.”

Elsewhere, literary agent Nick Quinn, from The Agency, was nominated by Stewart Permutt, who said: “Nick is one of those rare literary agents with a real passion for new writing. I have been with him for nearly nine years and have had excellent encouragement, guidance, criticism and advice.”

Meanwhile, David James nominated James Hadley, from Arts Council England, for “energy, enthusiasm and commitment to his specialist field of musical theatre”.

The awards were the brainchild of playwright Mark Ravenhill as an opportunity to “celebrate, rather than focus solely on members’ problems”.