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Lewis’s play makes it to the shortlist

Lewis Wren
Lewis Wren
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A Leyland playwright has been shortlisted for an award – aimed at discovering new voices from culturally diverse backgrounds.

Lewis Wren is in the running for the inaugural Lancaster Playwriting Prize.

In its first year, the prize focused on BAMER - Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic and Refugee - playwrights of any age or experience, resident in the North West and more than 30 plays were submitted.

Lancaster Playwriting Prize is an initiative arising out of the Cultural Partnership between Lancaster University and The Dukes Theatre, Lancaster.

It is supported by the actor and Lancaster University graduate, Lucy Briers and Tamasha Theatre Company.

Lucy and Tamasha artistic director, Fin Kennedy, were among the panel who have chosen the winner from a shortlist of five.

Other judges were The Dukes Artistic Director, Sarah Punshon; Lancaster University Creative Writing lecturer, Tajinder Hayer; and Aisha Khan, Co-Artistic Director of Freedom Studios.

The shortlisted writers and plays are: Naomi Sumner Chan from Stockport (Banana Split); Lewis Wren (Before it All Falls Down); Leanne Alabi from Warrington (Brexit Among the Worms); Santoshi Mann originally from Blackburn (Dot to Dot); and Lancaster University graduate, Adam Kotwal from Bolton (Breaking News).

Before It All Falls Down is about three friends from the same small town who spend a night recreating mischief from their high school days.

But when one of the group announces that they’re leaving, the night takes a sour turn as they begin to question their loyalties to one another and the town they grew up in.

“We’re delighted by the quality and range of work submitted for this inaugural Prize. It’s exciting to discover such fresh new North West voices,” said Sarah Punshon. It was a very tough process getting the list down to this final five.

“One of these writers will win a £1,500 cash prize and the opportunity to enrol on the highly competitive Tamasha Playwrights course, and two will be offered the chance to be mentored by experienced playwrights on commission here at The Dukes.”

All the shortlisted writers will have extracts from their plays performed during the showcase at The Dukes from 2pm on October 19.

The Cultural Partnership is a three year deal between The Dukes and Lancaster University which aims to develop arts, education and learning in Lancaster and to enrich the city’s cultural life.

The partnership delivers bespoke cultural outreach projects across the Lancaster district as part of the MAKE Project.

MAKE focuses on cultural outreach with young people and also aims to provide 120 young people from areas of social economic deprivation with high quality arts and education.

The Dukes is the current holder of the NW Creative Careers Award. In 2017 it won the Cultural Education Award for its partnership with Lancaster University; Northern Soul Awards for Best Cinema and Best Theatre Production(The Hobbit) and The Bay Living Award for Best Arts/Entertainments Venue. Its production of The Hobbit won the 2016 UK Theatre Award for Best Show for Children and Young People. www.dukes-lancaster.org

The ‘Pay What You Decide’ event is open to the public who can book for free and then pay whatever they think the showcase has been worth once the performance is over.

All contributions will be reinvested into supporting artists through The Dukes.

For more information and to book, ring The Dukes box office on 01524 598500 or visit www.dukes-lancaster.org