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Theresa Ikoko among winners of Channel 4 Playwrights’ Scheme

Playwright Theresa Ikoko
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Theresa Ikoko is one of five winners of this year’s Channel 4 Playwrights’ Scheme.

The initiative, formerly known as the Pearson Playwrights’ Scheme, has been run by Channel 4 since 2013 and awards five £1,000 bursaries to new theatre writers. Each recipient also receives a year-long placement at a venue or with a theatre company.

Ikoko won for her play Girls and has been placed with HighTide Theatre. Girls, currently playing at London’s Soho Theatre, was the winner of last year’s Alfred Fagon Award for best new play.

The other winners are: Kate Bowen, who penned Close Combat and who has been placed with Out of Joint, Charley Miles, for Blackthorn, who will work with the West Yorkshire Playhouse, Zia Ahmed, for Come to Where I’m From, who has been placed with Paines Plough, and Carmen Nasr, whose play Dubailand has earned her a placement with London’s Finborough Theatre.

All of the placements are supported by Channel 4, except for Nasr’s, which is supported by the Peggy Ramsay Foundation.

Over the course of their year-long placements, the writers will aim to write a full-length play.

These plays will then be eligible for the Catherine Johnson Best Play Award, which is given annually to one of the previous year’s bursary winners. This year’s award has gone to Francis Turnly, for The Great Wave Off Kanagawa.

The playwrights taking part in this year’s scheme were nominated by artistic directors and selected by a panel chaired by Richard Eyre.

Eyre praised the “talent and the diversity” of the winners.

“They made me feel very optimistic about the future of theatre in this country,” he said.

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