Donmar’s new playwright award

The Donmar Warehouse has teamed up with Access Entertainment, owners of the Theatre Royal Haymarket, to create a new award for young playwrights.

The Theatre Royal Haymarket Writers’ Award will commission two new writers a year to write a play and also have access to the Donmar’s creative team to help research and develop the writer’s ideas.

The first two winners are Chris Bush (main image) and Diana Nneka-Atuona (above), both already award-winning playwrights.

“This award was created to build opportunities for talented writers with the aim of getting ambitious plays onto our stages” said the Donmar’s artistic director Michael Longhurst. “We’re delighted to be collaborating with Chris and Diana, who both have big and ambitious ideas for plays that moved me deeply, asking important questions about identity, and what stories occupy our spaces.

“I am very inspired by their writing and instinct for stories that are both personal and epic. I am looking forward to working alongside them both, as well as all future recipients of this award.”

Chris Bush has won awards at the UK Theatre Awards two years in a row, the National Young Playwrights’ Festival, Perfect Pitch, Sunday Times Edinburgh Competition, and a Brit Writers’ Award. "I've always been a huge fan of the Donmar Warehouse, and the epic intimacy its stage offers” she said. “My play is a very important, very personal project to me, and I am delighted to receive a commission from this brilliant theatre."

Diana Nneka Atuona is a British born Nigerian writer from Peckham, South London, whose first play Liberian Girl was presented at the Royal Court in 2015 and was nominated for an Evening Standard Theatre Award. "My project is an ambitious play about history and community” she said. “It's a play with many parts including music and cultural diversity. Receiving the award will grant me the opportunity and time to produce a polished piece of work”.

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