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Josh Roche wins 2017 James Menzies-Kitchin Young Director award

Josh Roche, JMK Young Director award winner 2017. Photo: Rob Logan Josh Roche, JMK Young Director award winner 2017. Photo: Rob Logan
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Josh Roche has won the 2017 James Menzies-Kitchin Young Director award.

He wins a prize of £25,000 and will direct a production of verbatim play My Name is Rachel Corrie at the Young Vic in the autumn.

My Name is Rachel Corrie was first staged in 2005 at the Royal Court, and was created by journalist Katherine Viner and the late Alan Rickman.

Now in its 20th year, the JMK award is presented in memory of director James Menzies-Kitchin and is given to one young director each year.

Roche has been resident assistant director at Soho Theatre, and has worked as a reader and literary association for organisations including Shakespeare’s Globe and Sonia Friedman Productions. He is also the founder of theatre company Fat Git Productions.

On winning the award, he said: “I’m stunned and delighted to win the JMK award. It’s hard to express quite what it means to me. The chance to direct at the Young Vic is extraordinary in any context, but to be working on this play makes the opportunity even more remarkable.

“My Name is Rachel Corrie is about the irrepressible political voice of Rachel Corrie, an American activist who was killed in Gaza in 2003. Directing this play as Trump overturns decades of work towards a settlement in Palestine is galling, but proves this is a story worth telling.”

The award was presented at a ceremony at the Young Vic on April 23.

JMK Trust chair Stephen Fewell said: “Josh made a highly compelling case for his production of this play. Under his direction, it can speak afresh to a modern audience at a time when ideological convictions are frequently dismissed as naive or old-fashioned. In the current funding climate, opportunities for young directors to establish their ability, and move from assisting others to independent creative expression are rarer than ever.”

Nathan Crossan-Smith was named runner up, with a proposal for a production of Debbie Tucker-Green’s Random. He receives £2,000.

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