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First nominees for James Tait Black drama award announced

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Two National Theatre Wales-commissioned scripts are among five nominees for the £10,000 James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Drama, organised by the University of Edinburgh in partnership with the National Theatre of Scotland.

The Radicalisation of Bradley Manning by Tim Price and In Water I’m Weightless by Kaite O’Reilly, are both NTW productions. Also shortlisted are Christopher Chen’s The Hundred Flowers Project, Lucy Prebble’s The Effect and Dawn King’s Foxfinder.

Neil Murray, executive producer at the National Theatre of Scotland said: “It is an incredibly strong shortlist, of bold, provocative plays – exactly what this award sets out to recognise.”

This will be the first year the drama prize has been added to the awards which were established in 1919 and are Britain’s oldest literary prizes. It goes to the best original new play written in English, Scots or Gaelic, judged on its original voice in theatre and for making a significant and unique contribution to the art form. The shortlist was drawn from 180 nominations.

The drama prize is judged by students and academics from the University of Edinburgh, as well as representatives from the National Theatre of Scotland and the Traverse Theatre. The winner will be announced at Edinburgh’s Traverse Theatre on August 5, followed by a reading of the winning script.

The shortlisted plays are:

In Water I’m Weightless by Kaite O’Reilly. Produced by National Theatre Wales – a commission for the Cultural Olympiad and London 2012 Festival.

The Hundred Flowers Project by Christopher Chen. Originally produced with Crowded Fire Theater and Playwrights Foundation, both based in San Francisco, in October 2012.

The Effect by Lucy Prebble. Originally co-produced by Headlong and The National Theatre in London in November 2012.

Foxfinder by Dawn King. First presented at the Finborough Theatre, London in November 2011 as part of the Papatango New Writing Festival.

The Radicalisation of Bradley Manning by Tim Price. Originally produced by National Theatre Wales and first performed at Tasker Milward V C School in Haverfordwest in April 2012.