Major drama prize adds new dimension to oldest literary awards
Published by Anne Marie Hughes on Mon 13 Aug 12 @ 10:22
Britain's oldest literary awards, the James Tait Black Prizes, are being extended to include a new category for drama.
The £10,000 award, which will complement the existing prizes given to a new work of fiction and biography, will be launched at a ceremony on Wednesday 1st August.
The prize for the best original new play written in English, Scots or Gaelic anywhere in the world will be organised by the University of Edinburgh in partnership with the National Theatre of Scotland.
Judges will award the accolade to an original voice in theatre and one that they feel has made a significant and unique contribution to the art form. The prize is open to any new work by playwrights from any country, and at any stage in their career.
The judges will be students and staff of the University of Edinburgh's School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures and representatives from the National Theatre of Scotland.
The National Theatre of Scotland will perform the winning play as a public reading during the August festivals in Edinburgh.
The first winner of the annual award will be announced in August 2013.
Founded in 1919, the James Tait Black Prizes are Britain's oldest literary awards and one of the world's most prestigious. Past winners include DH Lawrence, Graham Greene, Huxley and Ian McEwan. This is the first time the prizes have been extended to dramatic work.
To qualify a play must have been originally written in English (including all standard and non-standard varieties) Scots or Gaelic, and been first produced in 2011 or 2012, and performed by a professional company. The two year period is to mark the award's inauguration; subsequent years will only consider plays produced in the previous year.
Professor Sir Timothy O'Shea, Principal of The University of Edinburgh, said: "I am delighted that the University is working with the National Theatre of Scotland to create this new James Tait Black Prize for Drama. The James Tait Black Prizes have a very long history of celebrating the work of great novelists and biographers and it is wonderful that we can now extend this to recognise original and innovative drama."
George Aza-Selinger, Literary Manager, National Theatre Scotland, said: "We are very pleased to be forging a long term partnership with the University of Edinburgh and to be involved in the inauguration of the James Tait Black Award for Drama, with its close associations to the prestigious literary prizes. It is an honour to create a new award for playwrights and we look forward to rewarding truly original voices in world theatre for years to come."
Theatre companies and agents are invited to nominate scripts by 28 February 2013.