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Whiting Award

Nottingham Playhouse and Theatre Writing Partnership are pleased to announce the 2010 winners of the Award, supported by Peter Wolff Theatre Trust. The winners of this prestigious award are Lucy Kirkwood with her moving and emotive play ‘it felt empty when the heart went at first but it is alright now’ and Tim Crouch’s ground-breaking and provocative piece ‘The Author’.
The Award is awarded annually to a new play which best demonstrates an original and distinctive development in dramatic writing. This award has been instrumental in the development of the careers of some of our best known and well respected British dramatists in the last forty-five years. Previous winners include Edward Bond, Howard Brenton, David Edgar, Martin Crimp, Tanika Gupta and Sir Tom Stoppard.
Peter Wolff and the Peter Wolff Theatre Trust have a long history of supporting the theatre. The list of Awards, productions and theatres they support is considerable and they, like the award, have already left their substantial imprint on the shape of contemporary British theatre and, in particular, new theatre writing.
Originally instituted by The Arts Council in 1965, the John Whiting Award was designed to celebrate new playwriting talent and has been developed further by a consortium of theatres since 2007 with funding being generously provided by The Peter Wolff Theatre Trust. The award now travels the country and each year a member of the consortium hosts the award and collates the submissions.
Chair of the 2010 Judging panel, Ben Jancovich said: ‘From a longlist of 29 plays the five judges narrowed the list down to a shortlist of 12 which formed the basis of the judging meeting. Two very different plays emerged as strong favourites, each having equally strong and powerful advocates. Perhaps it is a testimony to the confident diversity of styles and approaches at work in contemporary British theatre writing that try as they might, the judges couldn’t chose between the poetic beauty of a character based human drama and the audacious, subversion of form and rejection of conventional narrative in the other. It wasn’t an argument about new or old theatre, but what theatre is, who it is for, and what it can aspire to be. Stuck in its passionate disagreements, the panel decided that rather than look for a compromise, or force through one winner, they should honour both traditions and both writers and split the award.’
Nottingham Playhouse’s Artistic Director, Giles Croft stated ‘Nottingham Playhouse is delighted to have been chosen to present this year’s award. Nottingham Playhouse has a long-standing tradition of producing new plays and in recent years this has been a central part of our programming policy, so it is very exciting for us be this year’s host theatre. It is also fitting that we are delivering the award in association with the Theatre Writing Partnership which is doing so much to support new writing in the East Midlands.’
The award was judged by a hugely experienced panel which includes Anthony Clark, James Dacre, Stella Feehily, Peter Petralia and Duska Radosavljevic. The total prize value for the award is £6,000 which will be spilt between both of the winners.
The award has an established consortium that includes: Birmingham Repertory Theatre; The Bush Theatre; Clean Break; The Contemporary Theatre & New Writing Company; Hampstead Theatre; Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse; Manchester Royal Exchange; Nottingham Playhouse; Nuffield Southampton; Paines Plough; The Royal Court London; Soho Theatre; Tamasha Theatre Company and Traverse Theatre.


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