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Asif Khan among winners of Channel 4 Playwrights’ Scheme

Asif Khan Asif Khan
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Winners of the Channel 4 Playwrights’ Scheme have been announced, with entries from the Orange Tree Theatre in London and the Traverse Theatre in Scotland among them.

The scheme celebrates emerging British playwriting talent and has been supported by Channel 4 for the past five years.

In addition to the five winners announced as part of the scheme, an award given to the writer of the best play written by one of last year’s winners has gone jointly to Melissa Bubnic and Chino Odimba. They wrote Monkey Work Baboon Chop and How to Walk on the Moon, respectively, and are the joint winners of the newly named Sonia Friedman Productions Award.

The recipients of this year’s Channel 4 Playwrights’ Scheme, who each win £10,000, are:

  • Sonali Bhattacharyya, for Deepa the Saint at the Orange Tree Theatre
  • Asif Khan, for Combustion, with Rifco and the Watford Palace Theatre
  • Natasha Marshall for Half Breed, with Clean Break
  • Janice Okah, for Egusi Soup, with Menagerie
  • Adura Onashile, for Expensive Shit, with the Traverse Theatre

Each of the writers spent one year on attachment with the theatres, where they wrote their plays. They are now eligible to submit their plays for next year’s Sonia Friedman’s Production Award. Francis Turnly’s The Great Wave, which won this award last year, is about to be premiered at the National Theatre.

This year’s winners were selected by a panel including director Richard Eyre, who said the writers had tackled issues such as race and class.

He added that the scheme had “a tremendous pedigree in identifying the best new British writers”.