The Victoria Wood Playwriting Prize for Comedy announced

Friday 19th May 2023, 9:50am

  • The Victoria Wood Playwriting Prize for Comedy will launch in September 2023
  • Organsied via Birmingham Repertory Theatre, the winner will receive £25,000 (£10,000 of which will be the play commission)
  • Organiser Sean Foley says: "This will be the first major playwriting prize for narrative stage comedy in the world, and will be open to all"
Our Friend Victoria. Victoria Wood. Copyright: Phil McIntyre Entertainment

Birmingham Repertory Theatre has announced The Victoria Wood Playwriting Prize for Comedy, a new major writing competition which will come with a significant cash prize.

The news was announced on what would have been Victoria Wood's 70th birthday by Sean Foley, the artistic director of the Birmingham theatre.

The Victoria Wood Playwriting Prize for Comedy has been launched in conjunction with The Victoria Wood Foundation, a charity set up as a result of Victoria's last will and testimony. Many of the trustees were friends of Victoria, and they support aspects of the arts that interested Victoria in her lifetime.

Submissions will be accepted from September 2023, with the winner announced in Spring 2024. The winner will receive £25,000 (£10,000 of which will be the play commission).

Sean Foley says: "It's a personal thrill that the Rep is now able to announce The Victoria Wood Playwriting Prize for Comedy in partnership with the Victoria Wood Foundation. To have a new major playwriting prize in our industry is cause for celebration itself - never has the need for supporting new plays been greater - but to have this Prize dedicated to the art of Comedy, perhaps the most difficult genre of all, is ground breaking.

"A fitting tribute to Victoria Wood's trailblazing comic talent, this will be the first major playwriting prize for narrative stage comedy in the world, and will be open to all. The Rep is proud that the home of the prize is in the UK's most diverse and youngest city, the city of one of Victoria's major collaborators, Dame Julie Walters, and the city of so many contemporary comedians and writers such as Sir Lenny Henry, Joe Lycett, and Meera Syal, CBE, FRSL. It is of course also the city where Victoria Wood herself went to university to study Drama.

"Of the twin masks of drama - Comedy and Tragedy - often the focus from our industry, across acting, directing and writing, is on the latter. The Rep has been a pioneering force in UK theatre for over 100 years, and with the creation of this prize is once again opening up new possibilities... As a major theatre that celebrates the difficult art of making people laugh, we hope to become a national home for theatrical comedy - where writing, developing, and creating that art is taken seriously."

Full competition rules and regulations will be on the Birmingham Rep website in due course.

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