The 18th Kenneth Branagh Award for New Drama Writing 2021

Kenneth Branagh introduces the 2021 Drama Writing Awards

The Awards can be viewed on YouTube. Tickets for the link can be purchased by clicking the button below.

OUR HAPPY WINNER, ANDREW TURNER, WITH HIS CHEQUE & CHAMPAGNE

ANDREW TURNER’s message on being our WINNER 2021

I just want to say many thanks to all the drama team for three wonderful plays & I’m absolutely delighted to have won … I can’t quite believe it.

Every element of the performance of my play exceeded my expectations, My sincere thanks to Peter Kavanagh, my director and all the team for their brilliant work.

I know that a lot of hard work goes on behind the scenes, so you all have my heart-felt gratitude.

The Three Plays: Directors & Cast

Into That Good Night

LEFT TO RIGHT:

Charlotte Moore, David Hepple, Shaun Stone, Ben de Wynter (director)

The Most Dangerous Woman In America

LEFT TO RIGHT:

Peter Kavanagh (director) Isabella Inchbald, Ed Browning, .
Seated: Veronica Quilligan

The Sperm Bank

LEFT TO RIGHT:

Paul St. John-Wilson, Will Thorpe, Eloise Jones, Michel Chilon,                      Paula Chitty (Director)
Front: George Green

Review of the Drama Writing Awards 2021 Please click below

Programme of the final three plays online

Due to the Global covid lockdown, we had no idea what to expect but are happy to know that writers are still very creative. 

We’ve received 220 scripts from: Belgium, Spain, England, USA, France, Wales, Germany, Ireland, Australia, Italy, N. Ireland, Scotland, N. Zealand, Canada and the islands of Jersey & Guernsey. 

Scripts were numbered and evaluated anonymously by 33 readers, and the final shortlist by our two judges. The scripts were judged purely on the writing.

The three finalists were announced on June 15th 2021, with the overall winner's name being kept secret in a sealed envelope, which was announced after the three performances.

J.B. HEAPS  (N.Y. USA)        Script No.20                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           As an executive producer for Showtime Sports, J.B. Heaps won five national Sports Emmys for his programs about the sport of boxing. Recently retired and happily ensconced in New York City, he spends his days writing.

ANDREW TURNER   (Lancs, UK)        Script No.123                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Andrew is a social worker, who has been writing in his spare time for the past 15 years. He has had several short plays performed at various festivals in the UK and internationally, also a number of  plays which have been performed live on local radio.

JOHN WOLFSON    (N.Y. USA)        Script No.37                                                                                                                                                                                                                            John occupies the position of curator of rare books at The Globe Theatre in London. “The Sperm Bank” is new and not previously performed. His play “The Inn at Lydda” was read at The Globe with David de Keyser. Other plays have been presented at Playwright’s Horizons & the O’Neill Foundation. For these he received no royalties and is considered to be total amateur. His annual talks on Shakespeare have become a popular feature of the Globe’s Summer Education programme.

WE WELCOME OUR THREE TALENTED DIRECTORS

BEN DE WYNTER MMC - directing 'INTO THAT GOOD NIGHT'

Welcome to Ben who is an Associate at the award-winning Union Theatre.  

Directing Credits inc: the critically acclaimed European premiere of A Man of Importance, (Arts Theatre, London) Associate on ATG/Donmar’s award-winning Guys and Dolls (Piccadilly Theatre) with Patrick Swayze, the national tour of Trevor Nunn’s award-winning My Fair Lady, David Hare’s The Breath of Life (The Haymarket) with Judi Dench and Maggie Smith. Robert Strura on The Seagull (Kate Beckinsale and Michael Sheene). The critically acclaimed Cabaret, European premiere of Wild Party and Pippin all with Sasha Regan. The Boys from Syracuse,  Alan Ayckbourn’s Confusions, Absent Friends and Joking Apart (Union).  Sweeney Todd (Crescent, Birmingham), Candide (Ivy, GSA), The Constant Couple (Farquhar Festival, Derry), Playboy of the Western World (Joint Stock),  A Chorus Line, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying and Nine (Jellicoe), Andrew Muir’s Tales from a Pier, The Eight Foot Leap, Push (Time Out Critic’s Choice), Love on the First Floor and Anniversary Sweet, Albee’s The Zoo Story and Pinter’s Family Voices (King’s Head and  the sold - out production of People Like Us by Julie Burchill and Jane Robins.

He is one half of the award-winning production house Regan De Wynter Productions and in 2015 was excited to produce with Hilary and Stuart Sasha’s all-male Gilbert and Sullivan shows and UK Tour of Salad Days. 

Ben is a member of the Magic Circle, and was invited to The Monte Carlo Club to perform for Prince Rainer and Prince Albert. He was magical advisor on Pure Gold (Soho Theatre), Doctor Faustus (SELCAT), Pippin (Union), and The Comedy of Errors (Gatehouse). He directed John Van der Put as Piff the Magic Dragon in Jurassic Bark (Pleasance, Edinburgh) and in Love and Other Magic Tricks, winning best production at the Buxton Festival. 

 

PAULA CHITTY - directing 'THE SPERM BANK'

Paula is a Freelance Director - Designer – Producer. She has, four times, very successfully, directed plays for our Drama Award and we’re very pleased to welcome her back.

She has directed and designed over 50 productions in London and on regional tour; from Mike Leigh to Shakespeare and Puccini to Menottie at: The Arcola Theatre, The Kings Head Theatre, Upstairs at The Gatehouse, Highgate, Brockley Jack SE4  and The Arts Theatre, West End and on regional tour. She was assistant director at The Royal Opera House and now runs two theatre companies : Irrational Theatre (www.irrationaltheatre.co.uk ) that specialises in the best of British opera, plays, librettists and composers and Lily and Bear Productions (www.lilyandbearproductions.com) which presented a new musical for children that premiered at The Albert Hall.

 

PETER KAVANAGH - directing 'THE MOST DANGEROUS WOMAN in AMERICA'

Welcome Peter, an award-winning director for theatre, television and audio. 

Theatre productions, writing and translations inc: ‘Not Quite Jerusalem’ (Finborough Theatre,); ‘A Selfish Boy’ (Tristan Bates Theatre & ‘After Prospero’ (Bill Cashmore Memorial Prize INK Festival) ‘The Labyrinth’ by Fernando Arrabal (Players Theatre Dublin, Dublin Theatre Festival and Royal Court London); ‘A Door Must be Either Open or Shut’ & ‘The Boor’ (Chichester Theatre Festival); ‘The Good Companions’ (Watford); ‘Love and the Art of War’ (King’s Head); ‘Gospel Oak’ (Lilian Baylis) ‘Vox Humana’ (Cockpit Theatre) ‘Blink’ Barons Court Theatre. 

Film and TV inc: ‘Sightings of Bono’ starring Bono (All Ireland Prods) ‘Sisters’ (BBC2); ‘I was the Cigarette Girl’ (BBC Northern Ireland) starring Andrew Scott and Nuella O’Neill (Bronze Shield, Columbia Film Festival) TAPS Bafta winner Best Production ‘The Pros The Cons and A Screw’ by Tim Elgood. 

‘Drama on 3’: Ibsen’s ‘Rosmersholm’ ‘Brand’ ‘The Lady from the Sea’ ‘The Wild Duck (trans Christopher Hampton), nominated Best Director BBC Audio Awards 2018. ‘Faith Healer’ ‘True West’ ‘Tom and Viv’ ‘Otherwise Engaged’ Sony, Society of Authors, Writers Guild, Bafta and other awards include Prix Italia nominations ‘The Dead’ and ‘Tim Drum’, and Prix Italia Special Commendation for ‘Landscape’ with Harold Pinter and Penelope Wilton.

Audio writing and translations: ‘Lonely Joe’ with Jenny Prager (R4) ‘The Dead House’ (Michele Rakotoson) World Service 

Theatre and film reviews: Guardian, TLS, Irish Times, The Evening Standard, Theatre Ireland. 

WE ARE DELIGHTED and THRILLED TO ANNOUNCE OUR JUDGES for 2021

We are extremely sad that Roger Michell, one of our esteemed judges of this year's Drama Writing Awards, sadly died earlier in the year.

We were very honoured to have him as one of our judges and our thoughts and sympathies are with his family and friends at this time.

Windsor Fringe would like to thank Roger for his valued input as a judge this year.

Roger Michell

The son of an English Diplomat, he was born in South Africa and as a child lived in Beirut, Damascus and Prague. He started directing plays at school before going on to Cambridge where, in 1977, he won the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Buzz Goodbody Award at the National Student Drama Festival and a Fringe First Award at the Edinburgh Fringe. 

West End directing: the National Theatre, the Old Vic, the Lyric Hammersmith, the Donmar Warehouse, Hampstead, the Royal Court & the Almeida. Also on Broadway and elsewhere. For six years, he was Resident Director at the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford and in London. 

TV, FILM directing started In the early 1990s. TV inc: the award-winning miniseries The Buddha of Suburbia, marking the first of his many collaborations with writer Hanif Kureishi; documentaries for the BBC; and a number of commercials.  The Lost Honour of Christopher Jeffries, which won both BAFTA and RTS Awards for Best Mini Series and a Best Leading Actor BAFTA accolade for Jason Watkins: and Birthday, starring his wife Anna Maxwell Martin and Stephen Mangan, winning the best single drama award at FIPA in Biarritz.

Film Features as director inc;  Persuasion, which starred Amanda Root and Ciaran Hinds, for which he won a BAFTA:  My Night With Reg, adapted by Kevin Elyot from the latter’s play; Titanic Town, winning awards at both Emden and Locarno,, and for which Julie Walters received an IFTA Award nomination; Notting Hill, starring Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant, for which he received the Evening Standard British Film Awards’ Peter Sellars Award for Comedy and an Empire Award; Changing Lanes, starring Ben Affleck and Prism Award nominee Samuel L. Jackson; The Mother, winner Cannes Europa Award and for which Anne Reid was honoured by the London Critics’ Circle Film Awards: Enduring Love, for which he received Directors Guild of Great Britain Award, European Film Award, and British Independent Film Award (BIFA) nominations as Best Director; Venus, winner of best film at the Seville Film Festival, and for which Leslie Philips won the BIFA as best supporting Actor starring opposite Peter O’Toole; Morning Glory, starring Rachel McAdams, Harrison Ford, and Diane Keaton; Hyde Park on Hudson, starring Bill Murray as FDR, a role for which he received a Golden Globe nomination; and Le Week-end, starring Jim Broadbent, who won the Best Actor award at the San Sebastián International Film Festival and Lindsay Duncan, who won the BIFA for Best Actress.  The film also garnered a BIFA nomination for Best Screenplay for Hanif Kureishi, NOTHING LIKE A DAME, an Arena documentary with Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Eileen Atkins and Joan Plowright: BLACKBIRD, starring Susan Sarandon, Kate Winslet and Sam Neill, currently available on Amazon, and, to be released in September, THE DUKE, with Jim Broadbent and Helen Mirren.

Joan Lane

Joan  so enjoyed being one of our judges, that she is delighted to be asked again. 

She has worked in arts management and production for 30 years. We welcome her “on board” again and are very fortunate to have her.

Joan is known for having developed the film ‘The King’s Speech’, directed by Tom Hooper, starring Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush and Helena Bonham Carter - having been sent the stage play by writer David Seidler.  Following the introduction to several of Joan’s colleagues, David was persuaded to adapt the stage play to the iconic film it has become.

She trained as a Speech and Language Therapist, with a background as a music scholar. She has also worked as a vocal consultant. Her varied work in music, film and television exposed Joan to scripts and screenplays. With a background of language, Joan began to work with writers and edit scripts and screenplays. She now spends most of her working hours doing just that. Currently, a couple of TV series on which she has worked with first-time writers are under consideration and three films are expected to go into production in 2021-2022.  Sadly, the coronavirus pandemic has caused a couple of these film projects and a stage play, to come to a (hopefully) temporary halt.

Her company, Wild Thyme Productions, has toured six innovative productions of Shakespeare’s plays in the UK and Germany and mounted world premiere showcases and readings of new plays and musicals in London. She is a member of Musical Theatre Network UK, concerned with the writing of new musicals, and a member of the British Shakespeare Association. 

Primarily engaged as a Consultant by the BBC, Joan’s skills were used for the recording, filming and Royal Opera House performance of ‘The Little Prince’. She was a director for BBC Radio Two and BBC Television’s New Talent UK-wide search for the ‘Voice of Musical Theatre’, involved with background music for the film ‘The Actors’, coordinated the participation of singing Angels for Stephen Fry’s directorial film debut ‘Bright Young Things’ and worked on the BBC’s Promenade Concert/Opera ‘The Water Diviner’s Tale’. 

As well as touring with her own company, Joan has worked on several plays at the National Theatre and toured plays with ATG, PW Productions and the Pleasance Theatre. She recommends scripts to Russian translator colleagues and two plays were produced in Russia recently, one at the renowned Art Theatre in Moscow. 

She is a regular Lecturer/Mentor on the Rocaberti Castle Writers’ Retreat which, like many organisations, is adapting to the current pandemic, and offering Webinars (online seminars) from some of the top people in screenwriting. (https://rocabertiwriters.com/retreats),

(Wild Thyme Productions Ltd  [email protected])

The Runners Up

 no. 140    “Natfis” by Mike Pearcy (Burnham, Bucks)

 no.   04      “First Stone From The Moon” by Allston James (California USA)

 no.  128  “Dolly’s Dilemma”  by Lekha Desai Morrison (Oxford UK) 

 no.  187  “ Greene Fingers” by Moya Mason (Abingdon, Bucks)

 no.  201   “PARLOUR” by Lucy McIlgorm (London UK)

 no.  215  “PRISONERS of WAR” by Francesca Hall (Norwich UK)

no.    80    “THE UNREMARKABLE DEATH & REMARKABLE LIFE of EDGAR HOLE” by 

                             Patrick Clarke (Liverpool UK)