The Shakespeare North Playhouse and BBC One’s The One Show have revealed the finalists of their As you Write It – Your play On Stage Playwriting Competition.
The national playwriting competition, which was open to young people from the age of 7 up to 16 years old, received over 1,300 entries. It gives children and young people an extraordinary chance to have their idea for a play brought to life on stage at The Shakespeare North Playhouse in Prescot.
The top nine finalists were revealed on The One Show (Friday 20 November) and received goodwill messages from famous faces including: Michael Ball, Michelle Visage, Carrie Hope Fletcher, author Frank Cottrell-Boyce, Natasha Gordon, Kiran Millwood Hargrave, and Callum Woodhouse.
About the competition
The competition is divided into three age categories, with three finalists in each category. The finalists in the 7-10 year old category are: Livy, 10 from Cheshire; Katie, 10, from Staffordshire and Rosie, 10 from Ayrshire.
In the 11-13 age range the finalists are: Ruby, now 14, from Lancashire; Holly, 11, from Bristol and Hannah, 13, from Hampshire.
While the finalists in the 14-16 age group are Ana, 16, from Brighton; Sophie, 14, from the South East and Emma, now 17, from Devon.
All nine finalists now have the chance to develop their ideas with professionals and write their final plays. A panel of judges will then select a winner from each category in early 2021. The winning plays will be performed at The Shakespeare North Playhouse during its opening season in 2022.
Presenter of The One Show, Alex Jones, said:
“All our finalists are incredibly talented with astonishing imaginations and it’s really heartening to see young people with so much promise. It’s an absolute honour to be involved in this competition.”
Max Steinberg CBE, Chair of The Shakespeare North Trust who was one of the judges, commented:
“I have been absolutely privileged to have been involved in the As You Write it competition. I was really bowled over by the creativity, humour and imagination that was so clearly evident in the shortlisted entries I had the pleasure of reading. No two ideas were the same and there was a real originality in all of the submissions I saw.
“It is great to think that these wonderful ideas will be developed even further and I am genuinely excited to see which are selected to be brought to life on stage at The Shakespeare North Playhouse.
“When there have been so many concerns about the future of theatre and performance this competition is evidence, if it were needed, that the future – despite its challenges – is indeed very bright.”
About the Shakespeare North Playhouse
Work is continuing to progress on the construction of The Shakespeare North Playhouse which is due to open to the public in Prescot on Merseyside in 2022. At the centre of the new building will sit a flexible theatre with capacity for between 320 and 472 seats, based on the iconic 17th century ‘cockpit-in-court’ design. This is particularly apt as Prescot was the only place outside London to have a purpose-built theatre in Elizabethan times. This fact, and the areas fascinating links – via the Earls of Derby – to Shakespeare himself has paved the way for this major cultural development.
The Playhouse will complete the UK’s Shakespearean triangle with The Globe in London and the RSC in Stratford-upon-Avon.