London playwright wins UK's Bruntwood Prize

Tue Nov 15, 2011 9:47am EST
 
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LONDON (Reuters) - "Three Birds," a play about three siblings living in southeast London, won the Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting Tuesday.

Nearly 2,200 budding playwrights entered Britain's largest competition of its kind this year, and they were reduced to 10 shortlisted works.

Of those 10, four received awards including the main prize for Janice Okoh, who picked up a cheque for 16,000 pounds ($25,441) and will have her play developed by the Royal Exchange Theater in Manchester.

The other three winning playwrights, who will also be taken up by the theater with a view to full production, were Alistair McDowall for "Brilliant Adventures," Gareth Farr for "Britannia Waves the Rules" and Louise Monaghan for "Shadow Play."

Each runner up received 8,000 pounds. The award is organised jointly by property company Bruntwood and the Royal Exchange Theater.

"In these harsh economic times it is essential that companies provide the stimulus and support for the arts," said Bruntwood chairman Michael Oglesby, who was also a judge of the competition.

Three Birds tells the story of Tiana, Tionne and Tanika who are left alone at home to fend for themselves as the adult world comes to call.

Okoh, who was born and raised in the part of London where the story is set, has a background in law and spent seven years working in the city's financial district.

She has been writing since she was 14 and Three Birds was her second full-length play for theater.

(Reporting by Mike Collett-White, editing by Paul Casciato)