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Jermyn Street Theatre Announces Winner Of Woven Voices Prize For Playwriting

Jermyn Street Theatre also announces its new line-up of Creative Associates.

Jermyn Street Theatre Announces Winner Of Woven Voices Prize For Playwriting

Today, Jermyn Street Theatre has announced the winners of two major initiatives promoting underrepresented theatremakers: the Woven Voices Prize for Playwriting in collaboration with Woven Voices, and the 2022 cohort of Creative Associates. The winner of the first Woven Voices Prize, dedicated to celebrating and platforming migrant playwrights, is Kazakhstan-born Karina Wiedman (video here) with her play The Anarchist. Wiedman's debut play tells the story of Dasha, a Belarusian woman who, on the eve of elections, must decide whether to flee the political unrest bubbling in her country or stay and fight like the anarchist she once was. Jimin Suh (video here) is named runner-up for her play Unburied.

Jermyn Street Theatre also announces its new line-up of Creative Associates, a development programme that seeks to transform the careers of a small group of early-career theatre freelancers. This year's cohort comprises designer Caitlin Mawhinney, producer Jo Walker, writer/director Becca Chadder, lighting designer Catja Hamilton, writer Maatin, director Imy Wyatt Corner, writer and theatremaker Millie Gaston, movement director Phoebe Hyder and creative associate company Definitely Fine. They will receive a year of support from Jermyn Street Theatre including mentorship, research and development opportunities, and their work will be platformed in the Footprints Festival in July.

The Woven Voices Prize, which is presented by Woven Voices and Jermyn Street Theatre, in partnership with ATC London, PROJEKT EUROPA, Migrants in Theatre and Phosphoros Theatre, celebrates the rich source of creativity within the UK migrant community. The winning play was selected from six finalists by a judging panel comprising theatre director Maria Aberg, Guardian theatre critic and author Arifa Akbar, Jermyn Street Theatre Carne Deputy Director Ebenezer Bamgboye, ATC and LAMDA Associate Director Ameera Conrad, founder and former Artistic Director of Tara Arts Jatinder Verma, and playwright Timberlake Wertenbaker.

Karina Wiedman receives a cash prize and The Anarchist will be directed by Bamgboye and co-produced by Woven Voices and Jermyn Street Theatre to headline their Footprints Festival. Jimin Suh's second-placed Unburied will be given a rehearsed reading during the Footprints Festival. The other four finalists were Akshay Sharan with The Waiting Room, DHW Mildon with The Dead Box, Butshilo Nleya with Coconut Republic and Teunkie Van Der Slujis with Tikkun Olam. All four have been offered a public rehearsed reading at Jermyn Street Theatre.

Chair of the judging panel Jatinder Verma MBE said:

'The inaugural Woven Voices Prize brought together an exciting range of diverse new theatrical voices, eliciting impassioned debate among the judges. While there were several potential winners, it is a great pleasure to announce Karina Weidman's play The Anarchist as the first winner of the Woven Voices Prize. Beautifully written, The Anarchist is clearly a play for our times. Set in modern Belarus, Karina carves a deftly moving story of a young activist, whose actions remind us of the price some migrants pay to become exiles from their own land."

Ben Weaver-Hincks, Zachary Fall & Nadia Cavelle of Woven Voices said:

'We are thrilled with the outcome of this inaugural edition of the Woven Voices Prize for Playwriting. Seeing this idea through to fruition has been such an exciting and enriching process for us as a young company, both in terms of the incredible people we got to work with, and the quantity and quality of the submissions we received. We very much hope this is the first of many editions to come as we continue to work to platform migrant voices and cross-cultural work in the UK."

Jermyn Street Theatre Carne Deputy Director Ebenezer Bamgboye said:

"With this line up of artists, we feel we have succeeded in our initial intention with this programme, to bring together a generation of pioneering, text based theatre artists who have something to say now. Over the course of the year we will give them the resources and platform to grow as artists and make their voices heard."

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