The Rep moves one step closer to Victoria Wood comedy prize

Birmingham Repertory Theatre has announced a shortlist of comedy plays for a prestigious new playwriting prize in the name of comedic legend Victoria Wood.

Sean Foley, the Rep’s artistic director, has announced that eight new plays will compete for The Victoria Wood Playwriting Prize for Comedy, in partnership with The Victoria Wood Foundationand supported by BBC Comedy.

Created by The Rep, it is the first ever major playwriting prize dedicated to the art of comedy. The eight shortlisted plays are:

  • Bring me the Head of Miriam Margolyes by Andrew Pollard
  • Hello Charlie by Caoimhe Farren 
  • Bum by Ed Amsden and Tom Coles 
  • Goodbye Suzzie Jenkins by Ben Callon 
  • Reach for the Stars by Jenny Knotts 
  • Portugal by Eugene O’Hare
  • Sidekicked by Patrick Maguire 
  • Fake Melania by Poppy Corbett 

Joining Foley on the panel are: Daniel Rigby, BAFTA award-winning actor, comedian and friend of Victoria Wood; Siobhan McSweeney, BAFTA award-winning actor and broadcaster; Tegan Summer, West End and Broadway producer; Tanika Gupta, renowned playwright; and Piers Wenger. television producer and Victoria Wood Foundation representative.

Four finalists will be announced on 13 May, with the winner revealed at a special ceremony at The Rep on Wednesday 15 May. The eventual winner will receive £25,000 (£10,000 of which will be the play commission) and a special award designed and currently being made in the Rep’s own workshops.

Sean said: “This is the first major playwriting prize for narrative stage comedy in the world, and is a fitting tribute to Victoria Wood’s trailblazing comic talent.

Sean FOley, the Rep’s artistic director. Picture by Kris Askey.

“It’s a personal thrill that the Rep created this playwriting comedy prize in partnership with the Victoria Wood Foundation. To have a new major playwriting prize in our industry is a cause for celebration itself, as never has the need for supporting new plays been greater.

“But to have this prize dedicated to the art of comedy, perhaps the most difficult genre of all, is ground-breaking.”

Another fitting link is the fact that Victoria Wood studied drama at Birmingham University.

ENDS

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