Lancaster’s Dukes launches BAME-focused playwriting award

The Dukes Theatre, Lancaster University and Tamasha have created the Lancaster Playwriting Prize to discover diverse talent
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The Dukes Theatre in Lancaster is collaborating with Tamasha on a new playwriting prize to discover new culturally diverse talent in the North West.

The Lancaster Playwriting Prize has been created as part of a cultural partnership between the Dukes and Lancaster University. It will focus on black, Asian and minority ethnic writers in its inaugural year, and is being supported by Tamasha, which focuses on culturally diverse work.

The winner will receive £1,500 and will be invited to join the Tamasha playwrights group for 2018-19, where they will be given training and mentoring.

Tamasha’s artistic director Fin Kennedy said he hoped the prize would uncover some “exciting new talent in the region”.

The prize is focused on BAME writers and is open to playwrights of any age or experience who are are from, reside or work in the North West.

This covers Cheshire, Cumbria, Greater Manchester, Lancashire and Merseyside.

Anyone interested in applying is invited to attend one of 10 writing workshops in the North West, taking place between now and May 22. Up to five shortlisted finalists will have their work read by three artistic directors and workshopped with professional actors and directors.

Extracts will be read at a showcase event in October where the winner will be announced.

The prize is being supported by actor Lucy Briers, who is a graduate of Lancaster University and will sit on the judging panel. She said: “I want to find a play that not only challenges me as an audience member but also challenges the genre of theatre.

“Live performance is still for me the most exciting form of dialogue between an author and an audience. Can it find a new voice to speak with? I don’t want gimmicks, I don’t want clever for its own sake. I want to feel that I am hearing the true soul and voice of the playwright.”

Scripts can be submitted until June 22.