Theatre Uncut announced its first Political Playwriting Award, in partnership with the Young Vic, the Sherman Theatre and the Traverse Theatre. Artistic Directors Emma Callander and Hannah Price host a celebratory launch to mark the occasion:

Yesterday, at a celebratory event held at the Young Vic Theatre, Theatre Uncut announced the launch of their Political Playwriting Award, the first of its kind in the UK.

Earlier this month, the charity celebrated their return to the theatrical sphere, after a brief break to restructure, with the Power Plays, a series of brand-new short plays written by some of the UK’s most dynamic female playwrights. The seven plays explore the theme of power from the female perspective and include works by Sabrina MahfouzVivienne Franzmann and Atiha Sen Gupta, each of whom have previously written for Theatre Uncut during its seven-year history.

Theatre Uncut Young Vic

Suhaiymah Manzoor Khan (image courtesy of The Other Richard)

Newly commissioned playwright, Suhaiymah Manzoor Khan, read out her piece, A Coin In Somebody Else’s Pocket, as part of the launch event. So far, this work has been downloaded for free in countries across the world – a feature of the Mass Participation Map that enables Theatre Uncut to truly connect with a global community and chart their reach.

But Theatre Uncut have gone one step further, announcing the launch of the first of its kind, a Political Playwriting Award that is open to voices from all backgrounds. In order to facilitate this, the company have partnered with leading venues in the three capitals of Great Britain – the Young Vic in London, the Sherman Theatre in Cardiff and the Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh. Artistic Directors, Kwame Kwei-ArmahRachel O’Riordan and Orla O’Loughlin will each form the panel of judges, along with Theatre Uncut’s Artistic Directors Emma Callander and Hannah Price, to pick the winning script.

Theatre Uncut Young Vic

Hannah Price & Emma Callander (image courtesy of The Other Richard)

At the launch event, each venue AD was asked what prompted them to say yes to this ground-breaking new endeavour,

“I began as a political playwright and so it felt really important, as one of my first things at the Young Vic, to invite [Theatre Uncut] in and say, I’m in to support you in any which way. It’s a brilliant way of sending a message out that it counts; being a playwright matters; speaking to the world matters.” comments Kwame.

“The Traverse has a 55-year history of new writing and the tradition in Scotland is politically front foot, socially engaged work. My very first festival programme featured Theatre Uncut so I’ve been on the journey with them. The work is brilliant, the attention absolute and the debate so tenacious and full of action. At your heart is hope that change is possible – we need that now more than ever. So, here we go.” adds Orla.

“I was fascinated by the partners – for me, asking what political means to you in these very distinct geographical areas was a big draw, looking at some of the similar issues we are facing through very different prisms. Anything that puts new work at the heart of the ambition chimes what we’re trying to do at the Sherman – giving platforms to stories that matter, to make theatre that has an impact, to say things that people will respond to in their gut. I’m all in.” concludes Rachel.



The Theatre Uncut Political Playwriting Award opens for submissions from 1 Sept – 1 Nov 2018. For further information, please visit the company website.