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Verity Bargate award to offer TV scriptwriting prize

Soho Theatre bar. Photo: Johnny Birch Run by Soho Theatre, the Verity Bargate award celebrates early-career playwrights. Photo: Johnny Birch
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The Verity Bargate playwriting award has launched its 16th competition, which includes a prize to develop a script for television for the first time.

Run by Soho Theatre and named after its founding artistic director, the biennial award celebrates early-career playwrights and is open to writers with fewer than three professional productions.

The winner receives £7,000 in respect of an exclusive option for Soho Theatre to produce their play.

In a first for the competition, television production company Character Seven – which is sponsoring this year’s award – will also be offering one writer the opportunity to develop their skills in TV drama. This writer will be drawn from the award’s long list but will be chosen separately to the main prize.

There will also be an outreach programme consisting of workshops and talks, which takes place around the UK and Ireland in the run-up to submissions.

Submissions are open from May 31 to July 5.

Venues hosting workshops include the Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh, Dublin’s Abbey Theatre, Wales Millennium Centre and Birmingham Repertory Theatre.

Judges for this year’s award include actor and writer Meera Syal, Wales Millennium Centre artistic director Graeme Farrow, Shakespeare’s Globe artistic director Emma Rice and Ikenna Obiekwe, literary agent at Independent Talent.

The panel also includes Abbey Theatre artistic director Neil Murray, National Theatre of Scotland artistic director Jackie Wylie and journalist Matt Trueman.

Soho Theatre artistic director Steve Marmion said: “We have brought together a group of incredible judges from across the UK and Ireland, and a variety of roles across the storytelling industries. These leading writers, directors, artistic directors, producers, actors and agents all have strong links to Soho Theatre’s eclectic and thrilling stages, and will help us find an amazing unique show to produce, and a whole host of unheard new artists to work with in the future.”

The award’s 2015 winner was Stephen Jackson. His prize-winning play premieres at Soho Theatre in May.

The shortlist for this year’s award will be announced in September.

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