Box of Tricks and Sky Studios’ new award has been set up to find new writing talent from the North of England, drawn from people over the age of 18, with no professional writing experience and from communities including disabled, LGBTQ+, BAME, first generation migrant and low socioeconomic background.
Screen/Play Award will offer two writers, with no TV writing experience, a bursary to write a new play for Box of Tricks as well as forging a development partnership with Sky Studios throughout 2021.
Box of Tricks (Manchester-based) and Sky Studios (in Leeds) are seeking stories with the scope for both stage and screen and are a reflection of today’s world.
Applications should include a sample of the applicant’s writing as well as a 500-word pitch. This should explain how their story would be developed into a stage play as well as a short play for screen. A diverse pool of readers will read all entries.
Shortlisted applicants will know in December and five finalists will pitch their ideas in January 2021. Following these interviews, the panel will select two writers to develop their ideas and write their scripts with support from Box of Tricks and Sky Studios throughout 2021.
The Screen/Play Award industry panel includes actor Mina Anwar (Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, Crucible Theatre and West End), Chris Bush (UK Theatre Award-winning playwright), actor and advocate for disability on screen/stage Melissa Johns (Life, I Hate Suzie, Coronation Street), David Judge (actor and writer – Box of Tricks’ SparkPlug, finalist for Alfred Fagon Award for Best New Play of the Year 2017), Donna Metcalfe (Script Executive, Sky Studios), Hannah Tyrrell-Pinder (Joint Artistic Director, Box of Tricks) and Temi Wilkey (actor and writer – 2020 Stage Debut Award, The High Table).
Hannah Tyrrell-Pinder and Adam Quayle, Joint Artistic Directors, Box of Tricks, said: “Box of Tricks is hugely excited to partner with Sky Studios to launch our inaugural Screen/Play Award for exceptional Northern talent. Following the launch of our PlayMakers Network at the height of lockdown – for Northern playwrights to connect, collaborate and create – we are delighted to share this game-changing opportunity for two writers. With so much uncertainty still ahead, we face the very real prospect of losing a generation of talent, so it is vital that we seize every opportunity to support, nurture and promote new voices in the North – especially those whose stories are too seldom heard on our stages or seen on our screens. It’s time to make a change for the better.”
Vicky Wharton and Donna Metcalfe of Sky Studios’ Innovation Hub said: “The aim of Sky Studios Innovation Hub is to support creative risk from ambitious, diverse and emerging talent, an ethos Box of Tricks shares. It is no coincidence that several of their alumni are now working on Sky Studios productions. Therefore, we are thrilled to be forming a creative partnership, to unearth, nurture and develop new writing voices of the future.”
David Judge, Writer, actor and Screen/Play panellist said: “Box of Tricks have well and truly opened the door for me as a playwright, not in a ‘welcome to the industry’ way, but in a ‘welcome to yourself’ way. They were able to identify and nurture my ‘voice’ in a non-intimidating and collaborative environment. The work we have created has directly led to me working with Sky Studios, and again I cannot rave enough about the freedom and support I have received on this journey so far. I am SO gutted not to be able to apply for this award, as it is going to be such an exciting, creative and rewarding opportunity for those involved.”
The submission window opens on Monday 19 October and the deadline for all applications is 5pm on Friday 6 November 2020. Submissions made outside this window will not be considered.
Further details about the Screen/Play Award are available at: www.boxoftrickstheatre.co.uk/screenplay. Interested writers are advised to join Box of Tricks’ PlayMakers Network via the website or on Facebook for up-to-date information and additional content.
Feature photograph shows Hannah Tyrrell-Pinder by Alex Mead Decoy Media.