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Soho Theatre's Verity Bargate Award 40th Anniversary Longlist Announced

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Soho Theatre's Verity Bargate Award 40th Anniversary Longlist Announced

From modern day inequities to porn addiction, betting shops, spiritual and sexual liberation and an octopus taught to believe in God, 17 new plays have been longlisted for the 40th anniversary of Soho Theatre's Character 7 sponsored Verity Bargate Award.

From over 1200 submissions, the longlist represents the very best in new writing today with many written over the last two years during lockdown. The longlist showcases a variety of themes and form - from epic dramas, comedies, thrillers and heartfelt autobiographical stories to theatrical leaps of imagination - proving how strong the craft of playwriting remains throughout the UK and Ireland.

This year's award is judged by a panel of industry experts including past Soho playwrights Theresa Ikoko (Girls, 2015, Soho Theatre), James Graham (Tory Boyz, 2008, and Monster Raving Loony, 2016, Soho Theatre) and Morgan Lloyd Malcolm (Mum, 2021, Soho Theatre), as well as April De Angelis (Jumpy, Royal Court and West End). The award is sponsored by Character 7 and chaired by film and television producer, Character 7's Stephen Garrett. The Award honours Verity Bargate, Soho's co-founder who passionately championed new writing during her time at the small but hugely influential fringe theatre company, Soho Poly.

Verity Bargate Award 2022 longlist

A Woman Walks Into a Bank Roxy Cook

A Young Man Comes Alan Mahon

Bet Junkie Daniel Ward

Boys On The Verge of Tears Sam Grabiner

CAP: A Medicinal Love Story Mika Onyx Johnson

Everything I'm Thinking, All of the Time Sam Ward

Friday at the masjid maatin

Hallelujah Temi Wilkey

King Troll (The Fawn) Sonali Bhattacharyya

Lady Dealer Martha Watson Allpress

Octopolis Marek Horn

Porn Play Sophia Chetin-Leuner

Private Adult Things Georgia Green

Samuel Takes a Break in Male Dungeon

No.5 After a Long but Generally

Successful Day of Tours Rhianna Ilube

Sick Children Karaoke Gareth Jandrell

Succession Theme Is My Ringtone Joe Kerridge

Working Men Benjamin Kuffuor

The longlisted playwrights for the Verity Bargate Award 2022 are:

Alan Mahon is a writer and actor from Ireland. His play LAD, co-written and performed with Rhys Dunlop premiered in Dublin in 2019 and London in 2020. A Young Man Comes marks his debut solo play. As an actor, he has most recently appeared in Edgar Wright's Last Night in Soho.

Benjamin Kuffuor graduated from the National Film and Television School in 2011, his graduation script, YOUNGERS, was developed by Big Talk Productions for E4 and later aired on BBC America. He is one of a handful of British writers to be credited as a series creator before their 25th birthday. Benjamin is also a published playwright, his 2019 play AGELESS written for NT Connections toured the UK before being staged at the Dorfman. He was featured on the BBC Talent hotlist 2017 after writing an original series pilot as part of the BBC 2016 TV Drama Writers' Programme. Most recently, he served as Shadow Writer for KAOS (Netflix/Sister pictures), and contributed as a story consultant on WILDERNESS (Amazon/Firebird Productions). He continues to develop original work across a range of mediums

Daniel Ward is a writer and actor from South London. A graduate of the NYT and LAMDA, he has performed in theatre's all over the country whilst continually writing and honing his artistic voice. This led to his debut play THE CANARY AND THE CROW which opened at Edinburgh Festival Fringe (2019) to rousing accolades and sold-out performances. It went on to receive the Brighton Fringe Award for Excellence before embarking on a UK tour, which included a run at Theatre Royal Stratford East, and ended 2020 on a high by winning Daniel the George Devine Award.

Gareth Jandrell's first full length play Pure O was performed at the Kings Head Theatre. Gareth has gone on to adapt Blood Wedding, Metamorphosis, Faust and Thebes for The Faction, Thebes going on to be published by Bloomsbury/Methuen. Gareth wrote The Wonderful Discovery of Witches in the County of Lancaster for Dawn State which was performed at the Pleasance Courtyard and tourned nationally. Gareth's play Alkaline was shortlisted for the Papatango Prize and his play The Rub was one of the winners of Bolton Octagon's Top 5 competition.

Georgia Green is a writer and award-nominated director. She sometimes writes about reconciling her Ashkenazi Jewish heritage with her Britishness, sometimes about grief and sometimes about joy. As a writer she is currently on The Bush Theatre's Emerging Writer's Program and has previously been a member of of Soho Writers' Lab, HighTide Academy and Royal Court Writers. Her short radio play Breech won the Bitterpill Painkiller Prize and was recorded and released featuring actor Jessica Clark, she has written for Southwark Playhouse Elder's Company and her play How to Kill Your Mother was chosen from over 2000 submissions to feature in the PINT-SIZED Festival at The Bunker Theatre. She is a mentor on the Playwrighting MFA at Central School of Speech and Drama. As director her work includes Invisible (Bush Theatre), Pilgrims (Guildhall), Three Sisters (LAMDA), Human Animals (Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama), Twelfth Night (ALRA), Parliament Square (Rose Bruford), OUTSIDE: Three new plays by Kalungi Ssebandeke, Sonali Bhattacharyya and Zoe Cooper (Orange Tree Theatre), Blue Stockings (LAMDA), You Got Older (LAMDA), The Mikvah Project (Orange Tree Theatre/ BBC RADIO 4, Nominated for Stage Award).

Joe Kerridge is a playwright from south east London. His work has been performed at Sheffield Theatres, MAC Birmingham, STYX & VAULT Festival, where he won an Innovation award. He has also been longlisted for the Papatango Prize and is a graduate of the Royal Court Writers' Programme.

maatin is a London-based playwright, screenwriter, and dramaturg who focuses on Muslim storytelling. His work was selected for the Mono Box's PLAYSTART 2019, longlisted for BBC Comedy Room 2020, and nominated for the Edinburgh TV Festival's New Voice Awards 2021. He was selected for the Hampstead Theatre's INSPIRE Programme 2020/21 and has worked with the Royal Court. He is currently a Creative Associate at Jermyn Street Theatre. He graduated from Royal Central School of Speech and Drama with an MFA in Writing for Stage and Broadcast Media in 2020.

Marek Horn is a playwright from Dorset, currently based in South London. His debut play, Wild Swimming, premiered at the 2019 Edinburgh Festival Fringe, having received a Pleasance Regional Partnership Award and a Ronald Duncan Prize. It later enjoyed a sell-out run at Bristol Old Vic and a radio version was commissioned for BBC Radio 4. His latest play, Yellowfin, was produced at Southwark Playhouse in 2021 and was nominated for five Off West End Theatre Awards including Best New Play.

Martha Watson Allpress is a writer and actor from the Lincolnshire in the East Midlands. Her debut play; Patricia Gets Ready (for a date with the man that used to hit her); embarked on a tour in 2022, after a sold out run at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2021. It is published with Nick Hern, and now in development for a screen adaptation. Her second play, Kick, won the Bill Cashmore Award, and was presented at the Lyric Hammersmith for a limited run earlier this year. Martha is also part of Hampstead Theatre's INSPIRE Playwrighting Group, and is working toward a new piece with their dramaturgical support.

Mika Onyx Johnson is an actor, writer and performance artist from Nottingham now based in London. Select credits include, as an actor; Michael X (Almedia); Screw (Channel 4/STV Studios); Newark, Newark (Gold/UKTV); Reflection (BBC); The Girlfriend Experience (STARZ); Cyrano de Bergerac (Jamie Lloyd Company/West End/BAM) & as a writer; Pink Lemonade (Bush); My White Best Friend (Bunker).

Rhianna Ilube is a playwright and game-maker. She is Associate Director at Coney, a leading interactive theatre company, with a focus on bringing heritage sites and archives to life through play. She is an alumna of the Royal Court writer's programme 2021 and the Oxford Playhouse Playmakers 2022. Her debut play, Samuel Takes A Break... was shortlisted for the Women's Prize for Playwriting and Channel 4's 4Stories. Her second play, We Are Here To Make Change!!!!!, was produced as part of the Royal Court's SW1 programme in Spring 2022. Rhianna is now exploring writing for TV, and is a resident at House Productions.

Roxy Cook is a writer, director and dramaturg working across theatre and TV. After 5 years directing new writing (associate dir. Olivier award winning production 'Rotterdam, assistant dir. to Lisa Spirling and Rob Drummond, dir. 'Happy to Help' at Park Theatre), she began writing in 2019. 'A Woman Walks into a Bank' is her debut play, and was developed with support from JW3 and the Park Theatre Script Accelerator program in 2019, finished in lockdown, and shortlisted for the Women's Prize for Playwriting 2021. Alongside writing and directing, Roxy works in script editing and development for Brock Media and Paper Entertainment respectively, and as a freelance script reader.

Sam Grabiner is a playwright. His play Next Year In Jerusalem! was developed as Resident Playwright at Papatango Theatre Company and is a winner of the Roundabout Theatre New Play Reading Series. He was a finalist for The O'Neill Theatre Centre's National Playwrights Conference. His play Neptune was shortlisted for the 2019 Bruntwood Prize and he co-runs the theatre/comedy company Pelican whose critically-acclaimed, physical comedy shows have toured the UK. He is a graduate of the clown school L'école Philippe Gaulier and has taken part in The Royal Court Theatre's Young Writers Programme.

Sam Ward is an award-winning writer, artist and performer, largely working under the name YESYESNONO. His writing has been performed across the world, with the first international premiere opening at Chicago Arts in 2020. His work has previously won the Total Theatre Award for an Emerging Artist and been shortlisted for the Total Theatre Award for Innovation. Work includes: Five Encounters on a Site Called Craigslist [2017], insert slogan here [2018] and the accident did not take place [2019]. He is currently working towards we were promised honey! which opens at Roundabout @ Summerhall in August 2022. His plays are published by Bloomsbury. He has worked extensively as a story editor and dramaturg for theatre, including work.txt by Nathan Ellis [2022], SWIM by Liz Richardson [2019] and BINGE! by Might Heart [2019].

Sonali Bhattacharyya is a graduate of the Royal Court Writers' Group, the Old Vic 12, and Donmar Warehouse Future Forms Programme and recipient of the Bertha Foundation Artivism Award. She is currently under commission to Fifth Word, Kiln Theatre, Tara Arts and Donmar Warehouse, and is developing a drama series for television with Dancing Ledge Productions and an Augmented Reality project with Anagram. Her plays include the Sonia Friedman Production Award and Theatre Uncut Political Playwriting Award winning Chasing Hares (Young Vic Theatre), Two Billion Beats (Orange Tree Theatre), Megaball (National Theatre Learning), Slummers (Cardboard Citizens/Bunker Theatre), The Invisible Boy (Kiln Theatre) and 2066 (Almeida Theatre).

Sophia Chetin-Leuner is a writer and teacher from London. Her first play, SAVE + QUIT, was published by Nick Hern Books in 2017. She completed an MFA in Dramatic Writing from NYU Tisch in 2018 where she was the recipient of the Dalio Family Foundation Scholarship. She was a member of the Bush Emerging Writers Group in 2019.

Temi Wilkey is an actor & writer from North London. She studied English at Cambridge before training with the National Youth Theatre REP company in 2014. Her theatre credits include the National, RSC and Manchester Royal Exchange. Temi was a member of the Royal Court's Young Writers Group in 2017 and wrote her debut play, The High Table, at the course's culmination. It was produced at the Bush Theatre in Lynette Linton's debut season, and won Temi the Stage Debut Award for Best Writer in 2020. She also co-founded & co-directed the Drag King company, Pecs, performing in the sell-out runs of their shows at venues including Soho Theatre, The Yard & Tate Britain before leaving the company in 2019. Temi wrote an episode of Netflix's Sex Education S3 for which she was nominated for the NAACP award for Outstanding writing in a Comedy Series. She has written two episodes for Disney Plus's forthcoming show Wedding Season and is working on the adaptation of the Booker-prize winning book Girl, Woman, Other for the BBC. She is currently developing her own original projects in the UK and US and in 2021 was on the BFI Flare x BAFTA Crew programme mentored by Russell T Davies, as well as being named one of the Forbes 30 under 30.

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