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Simon Bradbury wins £10k Liverpool Hope Playwriting Prize 2017

Simon Bradbury. Photo: Lesley Cook Simon Bradbury. Photo: Lesley Cook
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A Salford-born actor has been named the winner of the 2017 Liverpool Hope Playwriting Prize.

Simon Bradbury will receive £10,000 and the opportunity to have his work considered by Liverpool’s Royal Court for his play The Last Act of Love of JB Moliere.

The comedy, set in 1673, charts the final hours of playwright Moliere’s life.

During time living in the US and Canada, Bradbury appeared in TV shows Arrow, Fringe and Stargate: The Ark of Truth. He spent 16 years with Shaw Festival Theatre in Canada and one of his previous plays, about Charlie Chaplin, was programmed in its Courthouse season in 2002. He now lives in the UK.

Speaking to The Stage, Bradbury said: “I’m thrilled to bits, not just because of the acknowledgment by an expert panel, but also because I’ve been out of the country a while. I’ve just come back after years of being away, and it’s like a wonderful welcome home. It makes it so much more special.”

He added: “I sent my play in because it is rare to see comedy highlighted for a competition. Comedy has always been the poor cousin of tragedy. It’s been the domain of the knockabout, vaudevillian people who have less status in our culture. Comedies show us that we’re not so great as we think we are, we’re not as close to the angels as we think we are.”

The award is the UK’s second largest playwriting prize after the Bruntwood Prize, and aims to find the next great comedy play. It is run in partnership with Liverpool Hope University and Liverpool’s Royal Court.

The competition’s judges included The Stage’s print editor Alistair Smith, author Frank Cottrell Boyce, playwright Amanda Whittington and actor Les Dennis.

John Bennett, chair of the judges, said: “This is a truly remarkable play. It manages to combine broad slapstick humour, detailed historical knowledge and witty, original dialogue to great comic effect, while achieving moments of genuine pathos – an impressive feat of comic writing.”

A highly commended award of £1,500 was presented to writer and lecturer Gerry Linford for his play A Prayer to Saint Cajetan. Set in 1978, it sees an eccentric priest team up with an unemployed man to place a series of outlandish bets on the 1978 World Cup in Argentina.

The Stage is a media partner on the Liverpool Hope Playwriting Prize.

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