Five finalists have been shortlisted for the first WiT Award, a prize created to discover and nurture new writers working in the theatre industry. The winner will be announced at a reception on 25 May. The winning writer will receive an £8,000 commission; and additionally a development relationship with Out of Joint theatre company, to include an opportunity to workshop a play with actors and a director.
To enter the WiT Award, over 200 candidates submitted a full-length stage play, along with a statement about their writing ambitions. The five finalists are:
- Oliver Bennett is an actor who has appeared in plays with Belarus Free Theatre, whose work he has found inspirational. He has also performed at Southwark Playhouse, The Print Room, and in Backbeat in the West End. He has also worked frequently with Howard Barker and Edward Bond and performed at the Glasgow Citizen’s Theatre.
- Marek Horn, a Front of House Assistant for the Bristol Old Vic Theatre, who has also worked at the Finborough Theatre and High Tide Theatre Festival.
- Daniel Nixon, a former Associate Literary Agent at Blake Friedmann Literary Agency, who has worked on projects with organisations including Hampstead Theatre and the Lyric Theatre, Belfast.
- Bethany Sharp, a freelancer whose current work includes London Administrator for the Independent Centre for Actor Training; Creative Producer for Frequency Theatre who work with theatre professionals to make audio dramas; as a project producer for As Told By, a GPS storytelling project; and as a practitioner with Jigsaw Arts.
- Chloe Todd Fordham, the Literary Manager at Graeae and formerly a Studio Administrator at the Royal Court Theatre.
A panel of judges will now choose the winner. They are: playwrights Mark Ravenhill and Winsome Pinnock; theatre publisher Nick Hern; director Max Stafford-Clark; script editor and Out of Joint’s Literary Manager Catriona Craig; and Clive Webster, member of the Experienced Theatre Practitioners Early Playwriting Trust, which instigated the award.