Comedian Katie Mulgrew has been crowned the first winner of the Liverpool Hope Playwriting Prize.
Her play Omnibus – which follows a group of friends watching a soap opera – trumped nine other shortlisted works to win the £10,000 prize, and will now be considered for production by the Royal Court Liverpool.
More than 200 submissions were judged by a panel that included actor Kathy Burke, writer Frank Cottrell Boyce, playwright John Godber, critic Paul Allen, and Royal Court Liverpool chief executive Kevin Fearon.
The playwriting prize – created by Royal Court Liverpool, Liverpool Hope University and the Liverpool Echo – is the second largest of its kind in the UK after the Bruntwood Prize.
Mulgrew, who was the only woman to be shortlisted, said: “I entered the Liverpool Hope Playwriting Prize because some of my heroes are on the judging panel, and I would adore the opportunity to work with such a beautiful theatre, positively soaked in history and talent.”
John Bennett, principal lecturer in drama at Liverpool Hope University, congratulated Mulgrew on her win, and added: “Her play made me laugh out loud and is a skilful, deft combination of classic farce with contemporary urban mores; all judges agreed it was a worthy winner.
“I hope that this success helps Katie in her writing career and I look forward to following her progress from this point. I am sure we will be hearing more from her in the future.”
Outside of the main award, Milo Bell and Ian Salmon were both highly commended in the over 21 category and each took home a £1,500 prize. In the under-21 category Jonathan Cheriyan and Robert Cooke were highly commended, and won £500 each.
It is open to both new and established writers, as long as their play has not yet been performed.
Gillian Miller, chief executive of the Royal Court Liverpool Trust, said: “This announcement is the end of a long process that has seen some great scripts submitted and Katie is a worthy winner”.