2020 Finalists

We are delighted to announce the finalists for the inaugural Women’s Prize for Playwriting.

From an incredible 1,169 submissions, we present our amazing 7 finalists.

PARADISE STREET

Chinonyerem Odimba

This is a story that takes in the shifts of both attitudes and violence, in is a new folklore style, it confounds any ideas of Black British presence, and follows the hopes, dreams, and fears of generations of Black women starting with a girl called Gabe.

Chinonyerem Odimba is a playwright, screenwriter, theatre director and poet. Her work for theatre includes 'Joanne' and 'Amongst the Reeds' for Clean Break / The Yard, a modern retelling of Twist for Theatre Centre, and 'Medea' at Bristol Old Vic. Recent commissions have seen her work produced at Hampstead Theatre, Kiln Theatre, Live Theatre, Watermill Theatre, Radio 4, and Channel 4. She is currently working on commissions with RSC, BBC and Jermyn Street Theatre.

Chinonyerem has also worked as an Assistant Director/Director for Bristol Old Vic and Theatre503,and was due to be directing ‘Braids’ at Live Theatre, Newcastle in April 2020.

Chinonyerem Odimba also teaches in theatres and universities across the UK.

Describe your play in a sentence:

This is a story that takes in the shifts of both attitudes and violence, in is a new folklore style, it confounds any ideas of Black British presence, and follows the hopes, dreams, and fears of generations of Black women starting with a girl called Gabe.

RED SKY AT NIGHT

Eve Leigh

Red Sky at Night is about living as an immigrant in London, capitalism, aliens, and other things that are probably going to kill us.

Eve Leigh is a writer for performance.
Her plays include Midnight Movie (Royal Court/Berlin Theatertreffen Stueckemarkt 2020); While You Are Here (The Place/Dance East); The Trick (Bush Theatre, national tour); Spooky Action At A Distance (Royal Court/RWCMD); The Curtain (Young Vic Taking Part); Stone Face, and Silent Planet (both Finborough Theatre).
Game text/story design includes The Delegation (Coney/Точка доступа); A Day In The Life Of Someone Else (Oscar Mike).
Installations include Movimento/Variations (36 маймуни/Bulgarian National Theatre Festival); Your Future (HAU/Sophiensaele/Ballhaus Ost/Camden People’s Theatre).
Dramaturgy includes How To Win Against History (Young Vic).
Commissions include National Theatre Connections, Bush Theatre, Royal Shakespeare Company, Sheffield Theatres, PappyShow. She was artist-in-residence at the National Theatre of Greece 2017.
Awards include Jerwood/Royal Court New Playwright Award 2019 (with Jasmine Lee-Jones), Bruntwood Prize shortlist 2019, Berlin Theatertreffen Stueckemarkt selection 2020.
She says: ‘It's hard to put into words why I write. I want every play of mine to be an emergency. There's something about the ritual of emergency, an emergency happening at the same time in the same room every evening, that feels like an essential response to the moment we live in.’

Describe your play in a sentence:
Red Sky at Night is about living as an immigrant in London, capitalism, aliens, and other things that are probably going to kill us.

YOU BURY ME

Ahlam

The play is about love and resistance in Cairo.

Ahlam is an occasional writer, she tries to fit it between her anxiety about the end of the world and her anxiety about what her parents would think. When she’s not writing plays, she spends her time teaching herself how to put on liquid eye-liner, wondering why koshari isn’t the most popular dish in the world and contemplating who she would have been if she had grown up in Blacksburg (VA) instead of Cairo (Egypt).

Describe your play in a sentence:
The play is about love and resistance in Cairo.

COLOSTRUM

Liv Hennessy

Set during calving season on a West Midlands farm, three people navigate their pastoral duty to the land, to the animals, and to each other.

Liv Hennessy is a writer from the West Midlands, interested in regional voices and stories. She has written several short pieces during her time as a Pentabus Theatre young writer, and with the Royal Exchange Young company. She currently works as the Story Editor for ITV Emmerdale, and COLOSTRUM is her first full length play.

Describe your play in a sentence:
Set during calving season on a West Midlands farm, three people navigate their pastoral duty to the land, to the animals, and to each other.

THE VIRGINS

Miriam Battye

Over one evening, four virgins and two non-virgins try to answer the question that has been repeatedly asked of them, 'What do you want?’

Miriam Battye is a writer from Manchester. She had her London debut with her play Scenes with girls at the Royal Court in January 2020, directed by Lucy Morrison. Her other plays include Trip The Light Fantastic (Bristol Old Vic), Pancake Day (Bunker Theatre/PLAY Theatre Co) and All Your Gold (Theatre Royal Plymouth), and she has written extensively for community and youth groups in Manchester and the South West. She also has recently started to write for television and was the 2018 Sister Pictures Writer In Residence.

Describe your play in a sentence:
Over one evening, four virgins and two non-virgins try to answer the question that has been repeatedly asked of them, 'What do you want?’

...Blackbird Hour

babirye bukilwa

...blackbird hour is a call to arms to loving oneself when love has evaporated from the body.

Babirye is an actor, model, poet (SISTA!, THE COLOUR OF MADNESS), podcaster and songwriter. Most recently seen returning to the National Theatre stage opposite Cate Blanchett and directed by Katie Mitchell, her notable work includes the Royal Court, the Hampstead theatre, The Nottingham Playhouse, the Arcola, Soho, The Leicester Curve, BBC, UKTV/Alibi/Showtime, Channel 4 and the ICA. babirye was shortlisted for the Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting Shortlist 2019 with her debut play ‘...blackbird hour.’ babirye co-founded the award nominated podcast ‘SISTREN’; a podcast and collective founded in 2015 to amply the Black, femme Queer British experience. She has modelled for Burberry, Adidas, Macy’s, Dr Martens and Blue magazine. She was also noted by the Guardian newspaper as ‘One of ten female creatives 2019’. babirye was invited to join the BBC London writers room 2018 as well as the Royal Court Introduction to Playwriting writers room 2019. She is currently an artist in residence at Theatre Peckham 2020, with her second play ‘...cake’ an origin story to her debut play ‘...black bird hour.’

Describe your play in a sentence:
...blackbird hour is a call to arms to loving oneself when love has evaporated from the body.

REASONS YOU SHOULD(N’T) LOVE ME

Amy Trigg

Juno was born with Spina bifida and is now clumsily navigating her twenties amidst street healers, love, loneliness and the feeling of being an unfinished project.

Amy is an actor and writer from Essex. Born with Spina bifida, Amy was the first wheelchair user to graduate from a performance course at Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts.

Acting credits include: ‘The Taming of the Shrew’ and ‘Measure for Measure’ (Royal Shakespeare Company), ‘Shakespeare within the Abbey’ and ‘The Sonnet Walks’ (Shakespeare's Globe), ‘Goth Weekend’ (The Stephen Joseph Theatre and Live Theatre), ‘The Who’s Tommy’ (Tour), ‘The Glass Menagerie’ (Nottingham Playhouse), ‘Unprecedented’ (BBC and Headlong) and ‘Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again’ (Universal).

Amy’s essay ‘An Ode to Improvisation (and Poehler and Fey)’ features in the book ‘Feminist’s Don’t Wear Pink (and other lies)’, curated by Scarlett Curtis and published by Penguin. In 2014 Amy was a regular guest writer for Access Magazine. She is known for her one woman sketch 'The Rebrand' for which she won 'Colchester New Comedian of the Year 2016’. In 2020 Amy wrote two short digital plays for the Royal Shakespeare Company and Midsummer Festival.

REASONS YOU SHOULD(N’T) LOVE ME is Amy’s first full-length play.

Describe your play in a sentence:
Juno was born with Spina bifida and is now clumsily navigating her twenties amidst street healers, love, loneliness and the feeling of being an unfinished project.

Congratulations.