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James Rushbrooke Wins Papatango New Writing Prize; TOMCAT to Play Southwark This Fall

The winner of the seventh Papatango New Writing Prize was announced today 27 June at this year's host venue, Southwark Playhouse.

Chosen from more than 600 entries, all judged anonymously, this year's winner is James Rushbrooke with his play, TOMCAT. James will receive a four week run at Southwark Playhouse from Wednesday 28 October (press night: Friday 30 October 8pm) to Saturday 21 Nov 2015. The script will be published by Nick Hern Books.

George Turvey, Artistic Director of Papatango, says "Tomcat was the outstanding play from over 600 entries. James is a highly original new writer, and Tomcat is one of the most exciting scripts we've ever had. Its exploration of medical ethics, mental illness and abortion tackles the urgency and controversy of these issues with sensitivity."

In just six years, the Papatango New Writing Prize has launched the careers of many hugely successful new playwrights. It is unique in the UK - no other annual new writing initiative guarantees its winner a full production and publication, championing début playwrights with maximum impact.

Papatango Prize-winners and discoveries include BAFTA-winner Dominic Mitchell, OffWestEnd Award and RNT Foundation Playwright Award winner Dawn King, Tom Morton-Smith (Oppenheimer, RSC and West End) and Fiona Doyle (Deluge, Hampstead Theatre; now on attachment at the National Theatre Studio).

About TOMCAT:

"Oh, she's dangerous. But not because of her genes. Because of you."

In the not-too-distant future, the world is better than ever. Diseases and disorders have been wiped out. But 12 year old Jess doesn't belong. She slipped through the net and there's something dangerous in her DNA, something that must be 'cured'.

Charlie is watching Jess. He'll do whatever it takes to keep society safe.

As debate over genetic screening rages, with Richard Dawkins recently questioning the rights of foetuses with Down's Syndrome, Tomcat's urgent vision questions the lengths to which we will go to keep humanity healthy.

When you can learn everything about a person on a computer screen, does that mean there's nothing left to discover?

Playwright James Rushbrooke, 33, is from Gloucester. He consults on advocacy rights and participation programmes for children, and has written and delivered several award-winning training programmes for children in care. He took his BSc in Psychology and Drama from UWE.

Tomcat will be his first full production. Other writing credits include Photo Finish and The Crab Bucket (Waterloo East Theatre). He most recently wrote Back For The Cat, an extract of which will be performed for the Old Vic New Voices Festival (Old Vic Theatre) in July 2015.

Casting and other creative details to be announced.

Previous Papatango New Writing Prize-winners include:

Fiona Doyle, then an unproduced and unrepresented writer living in rural Ireland. Since the success of her first play Coolatully, produced by Papatango at the Finborough Theatre, she has been signed by the Curtis Brown Literary Agency, had her second play Deluge premiere at Hampstead Theatre, and commenced an attachment at the National Theatre Studio.

Dominic Mitchell, whose first script was produced by Papatango and who won two BAFTAs in 2014 for his BBC series In the Flesh. Dom is now writing a series for HBO.

Luke Owen, then an unrepresented copywriter in Norwich, who was signed by United Agents and is developing a new play with Headlong. His Prize-winning play Unscorched will transfer to Italy this year.

Tom Morton-Smith, whose play Oppenheimer recently premiered with the RSC in the West End.

Dawn King, whose Foxfinder was discovered by Papatango and directed by Blanche McIntyre. Dawn won the OffWestEnd Most Promising Playwright Award and the inaugural Royal National Theatre Foundation Playwright Award, and Blanche won a Critics' Circle Award. It was one of The Independent's Top 5 Plays of the Year and has transferred worldwide.

Papatango's patrons are Howard Davies, David Suchet, Zoë Wanamaker and Andrew Welch. Artistic Advisors are Colin Barr, Matt Charman, Tamara Harvey, Catherine Johnson, Dominic Mitchell, Con O'Neill and Tanya Tillett.

Papatango Theatre Company also run a BBC Resident Playwright Fellowship, a Channel 4 Playwrights' scheme, and commission and develop new work from open applications.


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