New £12,000 musical theatre prize launched

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A £12,000 award to enable the creation of a brand new musical has been announced.

The Perfect Pitch award is a joint initiative between Perfect Pitch, which supports the development of new musicals, and the Royal and Derngate in Northampton.

It will give give a writer, or team of writers, a commission of £12,000 to complete a full draft of a new musical over a twelve-month period. During this time the winning writers will be supported and mentored by both Perfect Pitch and the Royal and Derngate.

At the end of the year, once the show has been developed through workshops and readings, it will be presented as a professional staged reading.

The award is open to all UK-based writers - including playwrights, screenwriters, novelists and songwriters.

Perfect Pitch executive producer Andy Barnes said: “We are excited to be working with the Royal and Derngate to launch the Perfect Pitch award, which has been made possible thanks to the generous philanthropy of a number of our supporters. This award offers an exceptional team of writers the chance to be commissioned to write a full musical. We are looking to discover artists who haven’t yet had the opportunity to break through but believe they have the talent.”

Royal and Derngate artistic director James Dacre added that the initiative “will see a team of exceptional collaborators commissioned and fully supported in the development, writing and showcasing of a full-length musical".

“Opportunities to develop new musicals are all too rare in Britain these days. Opportunities this good are unheard of almost anywhere. We look forward to the winning team's residency with us and to the possibilities ahead of them,” he said.

Stephen Fry, who is patron of Perfect Pitch, described the award as “the perfect opening for emerging writers to gain a foothold in this industry and cut their teeth while creating something truly original”.

The award will be judged by a team including playwright Samuel Adamson, director Rachel Kavanaugh, Theatre Royal Stratford East artistic director Kerry Michael, and actors Michael Ball and Janie Dee.

The winners will be announced in March, 2014 at the St. James Studio.

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