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Headteacher wins £10k Liverpool Hope Playwriting Prize for comedy about Ofsted inspection

A primary school headteacher has won this year’s Liverpool Hope Playwriting Prize.

The £10,000 biennial prize is awarded to a new play that to qualify must be “original, unperformed and funny”.

Teacher Colin Dowland won the third iteration of the prize with his script Headless, which tells the tale of a “disastrous school Ofsted inspection” when its headteacher is found drunk, unconscious and locked in a toilet.

Dowland, who is headmaster at Woodridge Primary School in north London, said “something ridiculous happens every day” in a school, making it a perfect inspiration.

The prize is run by Liverpool’s Royal Court Theatre and Liverpool Hope University, with Dowland’s comedy now being considered for production by the Royal Court.

Judges this year included author Frank Cottrell-Boyce, actor Les Dennis and writer John Godber.

Previous winners include Simon Bradbury, for his play The Last Act of JB Moliere [1], and Katie Mulgrew, who won the inaugural award for her play Omnibus.

Liverpool’s Royal Court 80 years on: How an outsider venue transformed itself into a people’s theatre [2]