2021 Finalists

We are delighted to announce the 8 Finalist plays for The Women’s Prize for Playwriting 2021, selected from 850 submissions.

These 8 plays will be considered by the judges at their meeting on 27th January 2022.

MOUNTAIN WARFARE

Abi Zakarian

When the horrors of the past are denied, who decides which histories are remembered?

Hugh and Liv Bryce have found their perfect (second) home: The Blue House sits on a remote hillside, isolated and beautiful. It’s a place to escape their busy lives and plan for their future family. But the house is haunted by secrets and Mariam and Davit Martirosian, the previous occupants, refuse to let go of their home without a fight. Exploring the denial of the Armenian Genocide, what drives the cycles of ethnic cleansing, and how blood can bind you to a place, Mountain Warfare asks what you’d be prepared to do to keep your home, your heritage, and your history alive.
BIRDIE

Alison Carr

In this dark drama, a family fractured by an unforgiveable crime are reunited and no one emerges unscathed.

Karen and her partner Lynn arrive at a tatty hotel to meet Karen’s younger sister Suzanne. The sisters haven’t seen each other for over 30 years and the difficult reunion is made even worse when Suzanne unexpectedly turns up with her thirteen-year-old daughter Della in tow.

It’s Della who forced her Mam to arrange this get-together after stumbling upon their family secret – that when Karen was her age she was convicted of an unforgiveable crime and spent over a decade in prison before being released with a new identity. Della is desperate to find out what makes Karen tick, and Karen is terrified she’ll tell her.

A BOUFFON PLAY ABOUT HONG KONG

Isabella Leung

A darkly absurd parade through a silenced city.

Set against the backdrop of Hong Kong’s skyscraper, the bouffons emerge from the swamp to tell the truth about their home. They must be careful with their choice of words, they must conceal their fear and anger, they must put those who abandoned them in their rightful place, and their weapon is humour. Laughter helps the bouffons to find freedom in an absurd world where politicians are comedians, soldiers, and police are troubled poets, and at the centre of it all, a woman with all the power, living a glamorous life of empty daydreams.
FURIES

Isley Lynn

Sick of tweets and vigils, two young women take retribution into their own hands.

Meg and Ally do bad things to bad people. They’re not professionals, but when justice is unserved, they decide to address the balance themselves.

They recreate the acts of violence exactly. They find supporters: in Maggie, a therapist who has heard too much, and Tim, a doctor who has seen too much. But as the work begins to endanger them all, one by one the team abandon the project, leaving Meg to reconcile with the insane ambition of what she wants to achieve: to freeze the seemingly endless wave of violence by directing that violence back on itself. It’s impossible for her to continue alone. But it’s unthinkable to her to go back.

CONSUMED

Karis Kelly

Four generations of Northern Irish Women: a house full of hungry ghosts, with more than one skeleton in the closet.

Bangor, Northern Ireland. It’s Eileen’s 90th birthday, and her neurotic daughter Gilly is fussing, trying to organise her impending party. Gilly hasn’t finished unpacking the shopping when her high-flying daughter Jenny arrives from London with her worryingly thin daughter Muireann. That makes four generations of Gillespie women in one room - you could cut the tension with a knife. As the women prepare for a party that no one seems to want, the atmosphere turns sinister as deep-rooted recriminations fly out of the women like weapons. This is a house full of hungry ghosts and there’s definitely a few skeletons in the closet…
upright enuf

lydia luke

Micaela is hardworking, nurturing and can push thru severe pain, but what happens when it hurst too much and no one is listening?

Michaela is experiencing severe pain in her womb. Each time she visits the doctor, they dismiss her concerns. And in turn, she dismisses it herself. But the pain persists until she has to reckon with it.
4 DECADES

Paula B Stanic

Four women, two wars, one referendum, four decisions and decades of the same questions – a play about love, betrayal and feeling anger for the country you were born in.

Leona is a patriot determined to prove her loyalty. Amy wants to keep what’s left of her family close. Esther’s just desperate to sing wherever she’ll get the change while teenager Amber’s anxious to follow her late mother and put the world right. Over decades, these black British women push to live the lives they choose as public events leave their mark and private relationships are shattered. Through two wars to the 2016 EU membership referendum, we experience the four most significant decades in the lives of the Cleary women.
HOW I LEARNED TO SWIM

Somebody Jones

A coming-of-adulthood play that explores Black people’s relationship to water, while finally answering the question: Are there really sharks in the deep end of the pool?

Jamie wants to learn to swim, which wouldn’t be so scary, except for the fact that she just turned 30. In an attempt to find closure after her brother’s disappearance, she decides to finally face her fear.

Congratulations.