Theatre503 Announces 2016 Playwriting Award Winner and Spring 2017 Highlights

By: Nov. 03, 2016
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AnDrew Thompson is announced as the winner of the second biennial Theatre503 Playwriting Award at an event hosted by Erica Whyman and introduced by Mark Lawson on Wednesday 2 November.

AnDrew Thompson, a Sunderland-born, Edinburgh-based writer who works part-time as an NHS administrator, received a £6000 prize for his play, In Event of Moone Disaster, which will be produced at Theatre503 in 2017.

Opening at a raucous party on the night of the 1969 moon landing, In Event of Moone Disaster spans ninety years to 2056 - the day the first woman lands on Mars. Exploring the changing role of women in the family, in science, and in love, In Event of Moone Disaster is a portrait of ambition, sacrifice and lust. It asks why outer space holds such appeal to mankind - and to womankind.

In Event of Moone Disaster was chosen from a shortlist of five plays, selected from over 1600 scripts submitted. The award received scripts from 52 countries around the world, from Algeria to Australia and Puerto Rico to Poland. The winning play was announced after extensive debate by an industry panel including Evening Standard critic Henry Hitchings, BBC broadcaster Mark Lawson, playwrights David Greig, Charlotte Keatley, Timberlake Wertenbaker and Roy Williams, and literary agents Mel Kenyon and Lily WilliamS. Thompson received the award from Bea Roberts, a previous winner of the Theatre503 Playwriting Award.

The other shortlisted plays were: Alison Carr's Caterpillar, Tearrance Chisholm's Br'er Cotton, Annie Jenkins' In Lipstick and Ed Jones' The Political History of Smack and Crack.

Lisa Spirling, Theatre503's Artistic Director, says: 'In Event of Moone Disaster is an astonishing play. It transports us to the moon and back, covering 90 years of sexual politics and space exploration through the story of three generations of women. The play's ambition is vast, and the universal story at its heart is exquisite. Connecting to all that Theatre503 does as a tiny theatre with an international reach, we are thrilled to be introducing this extraordinary writer to the world.'

AnDrew Thompson, Theatre503 Playwriting Award winner, says: 'I'm thrilled to have been chosen. It's great that Theatre503 open themselves up to the world with this competition and to have that team championing my work, and to be able to see my play on stage, is a fantastic opportunity.'

Lisa Spirling, who was appointed Artistic Director of the Battersea new writing powerhouse in May, also revealed highlights from the Theatre503's 2017 spring season, including:


  • 503Fresh Festival: a presentation of plays developed by 503's youth group. 503Fresh works with young people aged 16 - 25 who are not in education, employment or training (NEET), to create short plays about their lives. (12-14 January)
  • Years of Sunlight, by Michael McLean, directed by Amelia Sears, produced by Seared Productions. Set in a Liverpool overspill estate, Years of Sunlight is a lyrical exploration of geographical alienation, the mayhem of drug addiction, and the random events that shape us into who we are. (25 January - 18 February; Press Night: Monday 30 January)


  • Glory Whispers by Sonya Hale and The Monkey by John Stanley presented by Synergy Theatre. The winners of Synergy's national prison scriptwriting competition are presented as the main pieces in a festival of new plays by ex-prisoners all about getting out and going home. (Glory Whispers: 21 February - 4 March; The Monkey: 7 - 18 March)


  • Escape The Scaffold by Titus Halder: a co-production between Theatre503, Mongrel Thumb, and The Other Place in Cardiff. This dark psychological thriller follows three best friends who reunite in the basement of their family home. As the house slowly fills with water they must consider their youthful idealism, and ask how such optimism can be reconciled with events of the outside world. (At Theatre503 from 22 March - 15 April; Press Night: Monday 27 March. At The Other Room from 18 April - 6 May)
  • + collaborations with Dippermouth theatre company on Tom Powell's The Bear Hunt and with The Small Things Theatre Company on a new play by Cordelia O'Neill.


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