Manchester, United Kingdom (PressExposure) January 13, 2009 -- After a call for more women entries from competition judges Brenda Blethyn and Richard Wilson, The Bruntwood Playwriting Competition has announced its four winners, three of whom are female.
The competition, which is committed to encouraging new writing, is a partnership between Manchester office space provider Bruntwood and Manchester's Royal Exchange theatre.
The four winners are all first time playwrights and will share a prize fund of Â£40,000.
Brenda Blethyn said: "I'm delighted we've had so many women entering the competition. Reading the scripts has been great fun and really highlighted how many talented writers we have in this country".
The judges were so impressed by the shortlist of 10 plays they found it hard to separate the winners, instead deciding to increase the prize fund and award four joint prizes.
Competition judge Richard Wilson said: "We were so impressed by the plays on the shortlist that we found it difficult to split the winners into a clear ranking. All of the winning plays had equal ambition, merit and style so we decided to increase the prize fund to Â£40,000 and split it equally between the four".
The four winners are Naylah Ahmed for "Butcher Boys", Andy Sheridan for "Before the Echoes Die Away", Vivienne Franzmann for "Mogadishi", and Fiona Peek for "Salt".
The Bruntwood Playwriting Competition doesn't end there. The winners will now embark on a development with the Royal Exchange with the ambition of producing their script in the Manchester theatre.
Greg Hersov, Royal Exchange Artistic Director and competition judge said: "As all four winners are first time writers, we are committed to nurturing their talents first and foremost, and we will then be intensively developing the scripts with a view to producing them at the Royal Exchange. We will be working dramaturgically with all four writers for a year and we're very excited to have the chance to develop their work in the early stages of their careers".
Michael Oglesby, judge and Chairman of the Manchester-based property company Bruntwood, said: "We launched this competition with the aim of discovering and encouraging new writing talent and we've been overwhelmed by the quality of the work submitted. It's really exciting that the winning scripts have the potential to be produced and staged at the Royal Exchange and that the competition is unlocking so much writing talent".