Bruntwood, one of the UK’s largest regional property providers, is bringing back its prestigious playwriting competition for another year, and is calling on other businesses to also think more holistically in their approach to building back better.
The Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting – which seeks scripts from established, emerging and debut writers to develop for the stage – is set to return in 2022. The biennial prize is a partnership between the property company, a major supporter of the arts, the Oglesby Charitable Trust, and world-class producing theatre, the Royal Exchange Theatre.
As the owner-manager of some of the region’s most well-known business, retail and leisure properties – from Afflecks and Hatch to NEO and Manchester Technology Centre – Bruntwood has long held the view that to create thriving cities, leisure and culture are just as important as first-class workspaces for building sustainable places where people can happily work and live. As such, together with the Oglesby Charitable Trust, each year Bruntwood donates 10 per cent of distributable profits to local arts and community causes.
The news also follows the publication of Bruntwood’s ‘What Makes A Thriving City’ report for 2021, which revealed that alongside a healthy business community – named as a city’s biggest factor for making it an attractive place to live and work – a sense of community, culture and diversity also featured in the top answers of nearly 1,200 people who were asked, ‘what makes a thriving city?’
Kate Vokes, Chair of Trustees at the Oglesby Charitable Trust and Non-Executive Director at Bruntwood commented: “The return of the Bruntwood Prize signals a return of bustling cities, full of cultural vibrancy and a celebration of shared experiences. We’ve always recognised the significant role that the arts play in creating thriving cities – but nobody could be in any doubt after the last 18 months.
“As a long-standing champion of the arts, since arts and culture inject so much life into our cities, we recognise that places like Manchester are ecosystems and are committed to keeping this value alive. Our partnership with the Royal Exchange Theatre helps nurture new and established talent, and provides a platform for the country’s, often hidden, creatives. As we all support the business community to bounce back – let's not forget the arts. Good luck to all those submitting.”
Launched in 2005, The Bruntwood Prize is now recognised as a launch-pad for some of the country’s most respected and produced playwrights and screenwriters, including Anna Jordan, Laurie Nunn, Duncan Macmillan, Janice Okoh and Kendall Fever. In Katherine Soper’s case, winning in 2015 was life-changing: she submitted WISH LIST whilst working in a perfume shop in London, and the play went on to premiere at the Royal Exchange Theatre in 2016, co-produced with the Royal Court – where it went on to make its sell-out London debut in 2017.
The Prize received a record-breaking 2,561 entries during its last cycle, which culminated in Phoebe Eclair-Powell’s play, SHED: EXPLODED VIEW, being named overall winner in November 2019. Also a winner in 2019, Stuart Slade’s new play, GLEE & ME is currently playing at the Royal Exchange and opened last week to high acclaim.
Submissions will open for the Bruntwood Prize in January 2022 along with the announcement of the judging panel, before closing on 6th June. Established writers and those who may never have written a play will be encouraged to submit through an anonymous judging process, meaning each entry is judged on its own merit. Further details – including the 2022 prize categories, events and new learning resources – will be released in due course.
Those looking to try their hand at playwriting ahead of submissions opening can find a wealth of free resources on the writeaplay website, including hugely popular online workshops from some of the industry's top professionals.
Picture: Glee & Me - Liv Hill (Lola) - Photo by Helen Murray