Michael Oglesby, creator of the Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting, has died aged 80.
Oglesby, founder of Manchester-based property company Bruntwood, launched the playwriting prize in 2005, in partnership with the Royal Exchange Theatre. It is Europe’s biggest playwriting prize.
Responding to the news of his death, Royal Exchange joint artistic directors Roy Alexander Weise and Bryony Shanahan said in a statement: “Mike was a passionate supporter of the Royal Exchange Theatre, he was an audience member, an advocate, a champion and a true custodian of all the work we do – from the productions we put on our stages (missing only a handful in over 40 years) to the work we do with communities across Greater Manchester.”
They added: “It is not an exaggeration to say we would not be who we are today had Mike not challenged and encouraged us to be the best we could be.”
The artistic directors said his “resolute belief in new writing” had allowed the theatre to “champion, celebrate and develop some of the UK’s most original and inspiring playwrights”.
In 2000 he established the Oglesby Charitable Trust, and through this he supported the theatre in creating its new pop-up venue, the Den.
“We are very proud to have this remarkable relationship and are committed to ensuring that the legacy that Mike began is continued in the Royal Exchange’s work,” the statement added.
He is survived by his wife Jean, and his children Chris and Kate.