A new national competition has been launched for over-70s to encourage people with no professional experience in the arts to create new works of writing, drama, poetry, music and art while they are quarantined.
Called the King Lear Prizes, the competition will offer £1,000 prizes for short stories, short plays, poetry, solo musical compositions and art.
Shortlisted and winning entries will be performed by actors and musicians and broadcast online for the public.
The prizes have been set up by a committee of young people from the arts, local government and media from across the UK.
Judges for the competition, which is supported by charity Age UK, include broadcaster Gyles Brandreth, actor Adil Ray and cellist Julian Lloyd-Webber.
Lloyd Webber, who will judge the musical composition category, said, “In these extraordinary times there will be many people stuck indoors with time on their hands.
“This is a great opportunity to turn to music and the arts and to start composing or writing.
“These new King Lear Prizes are a brilliant idea because they give people a challenge to work on while in isolation. You don’t need experience, you just need to be willing to give composing or writing a try.”
Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight, who will judge the short drama category, said: “While people are at home, I would urge them to enter the competition and set themselves a goal that they can work towards over the next few weeks.
“There is a lot of talent out there among people who have simply never tried before. I’m looking forward to seeing the entries and uncovering some hidden talents. Give it a go: what have you got to lose?”
In the coming weeks the competition may be widened to other groups – such as children – who are stuck at home during the coronavirus outbreak, as further sponsorship is secured.
Members of the public can submit their entries by email or post, with more information available here.