The Kenneth Branagh Award for New Drama Writing 2022

Amateur playwrights worldwide are invited to submit a 30-minute one-act play.  This year we recieved 193 scripts from 23 countries. Three winning scripts were selected by our judges, and will be transformed into fully staged plays, performed at The Old Court Windsor, over three evenings.  The plays are judged purely on the writing before they are staged. One of the three scripts will be chosen as the overall winner and awarded the £500 prize at the Awards ceremony on Saturday 8th October.                                                                

The Winner!

Valerie O'Connor

We have great pleasure in announcing the WINNER of the 2022 Awards is:

Valerie O‘Connor with her play ‘Black Forest’.


The Awards Ceremony Photos

Karen Darville (Chair of Windsor Fringe) & Valerie O'Connor (Winner)

Karen Darville (Chair), Johnnie Wade, Valerie O'Connor, Joan Lane (Judge)

The three finalists: Michael Pearcy, Valerie O'Connor, Euan Mumford

Black Forest: Amanda Noar (Director), Valerie O'Connor (Writer), Jackie Pulford (Actor)

The Exhibit: Immy Brunt (Actor), Tom Ivaan (Actor), Joe Rouke (Actor), Euan Mumford (Writer), Kiera Joyce (Actor), Anna Wellman (Director),

Person Of Interest: Michael Pearcy (Writer), Peter Saracen (Actor), Karen McCaffrey (Actor), Avena Wallace (Actor), Rebecca Bugeja (Actor), Anthony Shrubshall (Director)

The Three Plays: Finalists, Directors and Actors

The Three Finalists

Euan Mumford 'The Exhibit'

Euan Mumford graduated from Queen Mary University of London with a First Class Honours Degree in English in 2006. He has created online comics, short films, and even computer games in his spare time but has never written fiction professionally. During the past year, he was pleased that his short film script, ‘The Price of Dust’, was shortlisted from over 1000 scripts for the Screen and Story Film Festival 2021.”

Michael Pearcy 'Person Of Interest'

A commercial photographer from necessity, but a writer at heart, Mike’s plays have been performed in the USA, Australia, New Zealand, Greece, Gibraltar and Singapore. There have been many performances in the UK including at The Union Theatre in Southwark where The Gatekeeper's True Religion was described by Time Out magazine as ‘…a unique gem’. The short play Walkway was shortlisted in the 2020 Kenneth Branagh Drama Awards and NATFIS was on the 2021 shortlist.

He is very proud to have been involved in all five of the Burnham Drama shows (number six is in production) raising over five thousand pounds to help retain a community library in Burnham.

Mike’s short stories have won awards in various festivals and competitions including the Berkshire Arts Festival and the Woman’s Own short story competition. He has been Slough Writers Writer of the year on five occasions and been included in the top three of 31 Slough Writers competitions.

There have been extensive writing projects for Slough Museum and Slough Library including a podcast for Slough 202020. He has delivered a variety of writing workshops.

Current projects include promoting his full-length play Gates of Chernobyl and refining his full length play The Girl from the Fiction Department. He is a member of the Writers Guild and Actors and Writers London.


Valerie O'Connor 'Black Forest'

Valerie O’Connor believes cake heals all ill, or does it? This monologue is the first play she has written since childhood. Following a long career in food journalism, she undertook an MA in Creative Writing and is now developing a TV comedy script as well as finishing her first novel. Now that her two adult sons are reared, this is the best time to write.

The Directors

Amanda Noar - Black Forest

Amanda is an award-winning director, choreographer and coach, and has worked extensively in film, TV & theatre, both as a performer and as a producer, director and choreographer.

Recently Amanda worked as Associate Director and choreographer on a workshop of a new American show, “Chasing Rainbows” and was also a performance coach on America’s Got Talent and Penn & Teller Fool Us.

Earlier this year, Amanda produced, directed and choreographed a sell-out production of “Stepping Out” at The Studio Theatre in N12.

Before Covid, Amanda Produced, directed and choreographed “Working A Musical” at Upstairs at the Gatehouse, which received rave reviews and a seal of approval from Stephen Schwartz himself.


Other director/choreographer credits include: Sister Act, Made in Dagenham, The Full Monty, Sweet Charity, The Producers, Annie, Hot Mikado, Seussical, Fame, Oliver, Fiddler on the Roof, The Wiz and Summer Holiday.

Amanda has also directed numerous training films and corporate videos. She has been a guest director /choreographer at many drama schools up and down the country and has led many teaching training sessions for drama teachers.

Theatre credits are too numerous to mention but Amanda has played in many, MANY musicals and plays in the West End, on tour and in rep theatres all over the UK.

Amanda is a regular director at The Kenneth Branagh new writing festival in Windsor and is very excited to be back this year.

Anna Wellman - The Exhibit

Anna will soon be graduating at Royal Holloway University and has already built an enviable record in performance, choreography, directing and dramaturgy. 

Her experience has included:

Directed a new version of Sondheim’s classic ‘Company’, recontextualized into the aftermath of Covid lockdowns to explore how our relationships to each other and ourselves have changed as a result.

Assistant Director in a cabaret show focused on the evolution of recent musical theatre from West Side Story to the present day. Numbers directed and choreographed included songs from Evita, Hadestown, Falsettos and Wicked.

Appearing as Feste in ‘Twelfth Night’ in an autistic recontextualization of Shakespeare’s ‘Twelfth Night’ directed by Connor McClenan.

Assistant director in a recontexualised version of Gilbert and Sullivan’s ‘Patience’ set in a university in the 1970’s. 

President of ‘The Holloway Players’.

Anthony Shrubshall - Person of Interest

Theatre Direction includes The Return of Sherlock Holmes (Upstairs at the Gatehouse Theatre and currently touring), Power Luncheon (The Hope Theatre) The Good Dad: a Love Story (Golden Goose Theatre, The Hope Theatre and Old Red Lion Theatre).

Nominated at The Hope Theatre for best director OFFIE award. A Boy Called Porro {Pleasance Theatre), Edred The Vampyre (Old Red Lion Theatre), An Absence Of (Old Court, Windsor) winner of the Kenneth Branagh new writers award), It's a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play (0ld Joint Stock Theatre, Birmingham) Death of a Hunter (Finborough Theatre), The Gin Chronicles series (ArtsSpace Edinburgh), Orbits (Drayton ArmsTheatre), RealLife TV (Barons Court Theatre) and Saffron Hill ( Pleasance Theatre), LANZA (Kings Head Theatre) The Seagull (Tabard Theatre),  Zena Edwards's Security (Battersea Arts Centre) the first UK production selected for Tadashe Suzuki's Shizuoka Festival, Japan, and Richard Tyrone Jones’s Big Heart, adapted into a series for BBC Radio 4.

Online direction includes: Lear Alone winner of the overall ONCOMM award 2022 and Scenesaver Best Director Award 2022. Since 2020: Love Screens (OnComm Award winner) and Death of a Hunter (OnComm Award winner), He has directed two short cross disciplinary promotional films of Shakespeare works Macbeth with Terry Deary, author of the Horrible Histories and Romeo and Juliet with Tate Modern.  He was formerly Artistic Director of OPEN Ealing Arts Centre and the Drayton Court Theatre, where productions included The BulletLandscapeThe Lover and Mojo.  

He has published on directing Vsevolod Meyerhold’s acting technique, Harold Pinter’s Mountain Language, Samuel Beckett’s Rockaby and the theatre of Jacques Lecoq.  He is a member of Equity, The Chelsea Arts Club and Fellow of The Royal Society of Arts.

The Actors

Black Forest

Jackie Pulford

Jackie's previous theatre credits include Elegies for Angels, Punks & Raging Queens (Kings Head and Union Theatre) Catfish The Musical (Turbine on the Jetty) Grimaldi (Kenneth Moore Theatre) and Love & Money (Soho Theatre), as well as roles for short film, commercial & corporate projects. Jackie can also be heard on the concept album for Catfish The Musical.

Person of Interest

Rebecca Bugeja

Rebecca is a Welsh, London based actress of dual heritage, who graduated from a 'Film, TV and Stage' degree in 2014.  

Theatre: Script Scratch- The Ghost of You (The Other Palace), Who is Theo? (Teahouse Theatre), Life Changes (OSO Arts Centre), Guests of the Cartel (Stockwell Playhouse), Auld Acquaintance (Teahouse Theatre), Trevor's House (Tabard Theatre), The Wake ('The Hellfire'/West Wycombe Caves).  

Next, Rebecca will be performing in Ghostlight (The Union Theatre). 

Training: The Collected (Oxford Old Fire Station Arts Centre and Bucks New University), The Visit, directed by Robert Hastie, (Bucks New University) Nowhere (Station House Opera & Bucks New University workshop). 

Short films: Immortal Mayhem (Farnborough College of Technology), A Friend in Need (Vortex Films), Icing on the CakeTempusDark Paradise and Karma (Bucks New University). 

Other Credits: The Ghost Train (R&D audio recording)Undiscussable (Radio audio recording), One Night in Tiger Bay and Partner in the Firm (R&D Equity Rehearsed Readings), Disney's Aladdin (Magical Quests Ltd & The Woolf Trust tour), The Wave Pictures' Roosevelt Skyes (Music Video), Peter Pan (Tour), Alcotraz: London, Eddie Izzard’s Force Majeure Reloaded: Press party, Who Shot the Sheriff? and A Murder most Fowl (Immersive theatre productions). 

Avena Wallace

Training: Drama Centre London and The London School of Dramatic Art 

For Drama Centre London: "The Illusion" (Alcandra), "When the terror has Ended..." (Marie-Antoinette), "8th Continent" (Donna, The Don), "Macbeth" (Lady Macduff and the Porter)

Theatre includes:  "Who is Theo" (TeaHouse Theatre), "Lovesick" (Hope Theatre / Hen and Chickens Theatre), "An Ordinary Day" (Platform Theatre), "From Blaze to Blitz" (Inner Temple Hall), "Absolution" (Theatre 503) 

Film and TV includes: "New Blood" (BBC), "Night Surf" (Tony Pomfret)

Voiceover includes: work for Harper Collins, WF Howes, RNIB, Fitbit, SSE Airtricity, and Bord na Mona




Peter Saracen

Peter started late in the business, having studied drama in Aberystwyth and making his debut in an open air Romeo & Juliet as Friar John. Next came Julius Caesar for Pendle Productions as Mark Antony and an Italian tour of The Importance of Being Earnest as Lane, Chasuble and Merriman. Recent work includes Frankenstein in Bonn (various), The Merry Wives of Windsor in Canterbury as Sir Hugh Evans, Power Luncheon as King George V1 and Short Memory as Adam on the London Fringe.
Recent film and tv includes Les Miserables as a singing beggar, Much Ado as Leonato (Best Feature-London International Film Festival 2021), Pagalpanti as a judge and Pennyworth (series 2) as a coal seller for Warner Bros Television.

Karen McCaffrey

Karen’s debut into showbiz began as a young child when she was chosen to sing with a pop band called Tommy Drennan and The Top League in Limerick, Ireland.  They released a song called Beautiful Peace which reached No.2 in the Irish charts, beaten only by Slade who sang the well known Christmas song Merry Xmas Everybody.

The passion to perform was ignited and aged 20 she began her training in classical acting at The Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art in Kensington and has since worked as an actress and singer.  Some of her favourite work includes national tours of The Pirates of Penzance, Calendar Girls, The Glass Menagerie on tour in Germany, Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Nights Dream, The Tempest, Turf at The Kings Head theatre, and Separate Tables in Cannes, France.  She also sang lead vocals with an Andrew Sisters style harmony group and has toured London with a guitarist singing traditional jazz and blues.

Following the birth of her daughter in 2002, she began writing, and work so far includes a one woman show called Acting and Me, a play called Mothers Day performed at The Jermyn Street Theatre, and short films, New York – London - Monroe, Goddess for a Day and Unexpected encounter, a true account of when she met Al Pacino in 1996.  A memoir of a childhood in Ireland and London’s East End is awaiting a fourth draft.




The Exhibit

Tom Avaan

Tom is a writer and performer who trained at the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts (LIPA) for 11 years before studying at Royal Holloway, University of London. They recently completed their masters degree in Creative Writing. Throughout their time at university, they performed, write for, directed and choreographed a wide range of performances as well as competition dances. They are very excited to be working some acting muscles again as The Exhibit.

Immy Brunt

I am a second year Drama with Film student at Royal Holloway. I joined a local theatre group, Curtain Up, when I was eleven and haven’t looked back since! I have performed shows such as ‘Blue Stockings’ and ‘Twelfth Night’. In addition to this, I have taken part in a couple of student short films which I have loved. I hope you enjoy this production as much as I am excited to be in it!

Kiera Joyce

I am a second year English student at Royal Holloway University of London. Prior to starting at Royal Holloway I trained at Italia Conti Arts Centre and at Arts Ed part-time and took part in a variety of amateur performances. Whilst at University I have played Lucentio in Taming of the Shrew, Lady Macbeth in Macbeth and Cain in Cain and Abel. This is my first time at Windsor Fringe and I am very excited to be a part of The Exhibit.

Joe Rourke

Theatre has, until now, taken a backseat in Joe’s life since he started university, so he is very excited to be getting back to the stage as the plainly unlikeable Steven in The Exhibit and to perform at the Windsor Fringe. Joe previously worked in his local youth theatre group on shows such as Arabian Nights and The Importance of Being Earnest.

Joe is a student at Royal Holloway, studying Computer Science, and hopes to work more closely with and take part in all the dramatic opportunities he can this year. He has previously put his skills to use in a wide range of roles across the stage and screen, from sound engineer for a pantomime to starring in music videos. He hopes this role in The Exhibit will reignite his love for the stage and be the start of a new chapter in his acting career!

The Judges

  • Andrew Wadsworth 2.jpg
  • Joan Lane.webp
  • Andrew C Wadsworth.webp

Andrew C Wadsworth - Judge

West End: Kiss Me Kate Olivier Award Nomination Best Actor in a Musical, Javert in Les Miserables, Judas in Godspell, Songbook, Anthony in Sweeney Todd, Curley in Oklahoma, Nigel in Pass the Butler, the original Eddie in Blood Brothers, Sky Masterson in Guys and Dolls, Lt Joe Cable in South Pacific, Spencer Wylie in Betrayal of Nora Blake, Alderman Fitzwarren in Dick Whittington, Zipp, Georges in Marguerite and The Go Between. 

National Theatre: Andrew in Coming in to Land, Tony Lumpkin in She Stoops to Conquer, Julien in Martine, Adam Adam in Rough Crossing, Sky Masterson in Guys and Dolls and Dolabella in Anthony and Cleopatra. For Music Theatre London: The Don in Don Giovanni, Papageno in Magic Flute, The Count in Figaro, Germont Pere in La Traviata and Alidoro in La Cenerentola. 

Other theatre: Captain Hook in Lost Boy at Charing Cross Theatre, Juan Peron Evita national tour, Dick Barton Special Agent. one man play Nymphs and Shepherds (Etcetera), Twelfth Night (Edinburgh), Right Royal Farce (Kings Head), Lady and the Tiger (Orange Tree Richmond). Radio Times (Watermill Newbury) 

TV: Victorian Scandals (Granada), Peak Practice (Carlton), Wings (BBC) Radio: The Lorenzaccio Story and the award winning Killing Maestros. 

As director: Aladdin Milton Keynes Theatre , A Bowl Of Cherries Charing Cross Theatre. Nativity in Creakebottom Slingshot Theatre, A Comedy of Arias Jermyn Street and Kings Head, Assassins, Sauce for the Goose, Threepenny Opera, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Sweeney Todd, Man of La Mancha, This Thing Called Love, Billy, four short films ‘Stories of 2016’ and BOO. Resident Director Zipp (Duchess) and Dick Barton (National Tour). 

Andrew created and directed a short film Home about homelessness in London which had its first screening at The Tricycle Theatre and was shown at the Houses of Parliament in April 2016.

Joan Lane - Judge

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 to 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 2023. The coronavirus pandemic caused disruption in the film industry, as in all other areas of life and caused a couple of her film projects and a stage play, to come to a 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.

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 2‘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’. She recently co-wrote the screenplay of a new film which goes into production in October of this year, shooting in Mongolia, Hungary and the UK.

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 until recently, one at the renowned Art Theatre in Moscow.

She is a regular Lecturer/Mentor on the renowned Rocaberti Castle Writers’ Retreats alongside some of the top people in screenwriting. (







Performance Details


Thursday 6th, Friday 7th and Saturday 8th October


The Old Court, St Leonards Rd, Windsor, SL4 3BL


We are very pleased to announce the short list of eleven plays.

In no particular order:

  1. Black Forest No. 9738
  2. The Mockingbird’s Nest No. 7302
  3. The Exhibit No. 4579                                       
  4. Person of Interest No. 4904
  5. Before I Go No. 1584
  6. Home is where the Something is No. 9711
  7. Buddy-boys No. 9452
  8. Making Art: The Yellow House No. 4185
  9. Charity Begins at Home: Let’s Move No. 5187    
  10. Bottleneck No. 5937        
  11. Love No. 3273


After receiving just over 200 scripts for this year’s competition and after three rounds of reading, the long list of scripts are listed below*.

15. The Mockingbirds Nest

18. What They Want

25. Elephant


30. Pro_Creation

39. Before I go

44. Difficult Love

59. A Lovely Day for a Boating Trip

63. Charity Begins at Home

64. The Exhibit

65. Person of Interest

75. Unicorn Tears

89.Turing's Test

91. The Telephone Call

98. The Good Guys

103. Love At First Sight

118. Shaking

119. The Least Worst Option

126. Moving on

135. Buddy Boys

137. We're in This

144. Blind Date

149. Making Art The Yellow House

151. As It Comes

153. Last Impressions

157. Bride in the Cellar

162. Home is Where the [Something] Is

165. Empty

172. Helping Hands

173. Black Forest

178. Gangsta Love

181. Bottleneck

190. Visiting Time

191. Sacramental Lambs

* The numbers refer to our internal script numbering.



Authors do not automatically receive feedback on readers’ assessment or comments about their play (unless their play makes it to the long list).

Scripts are evaluated anonymously by readers and the final short list by our two judges. The three finalists will be notified by mid-June 2022.

Results (including the ‘long’ and the ‘short’ list) will be announced via the Fringe website, social media and other related websites. Approximate dates arelong list – end April / May …short list – May … final 3 – mid June.

The winner of the £500 award (held in a sealed envelope) will be announced at the Awards Ceremony after ‘last night’ performances in October. 

Further queries, please email: [email protected].


  • Only amateur playwrights are eligible and only one script per author will be accepted.
  • Each script must be an original work and not previously published or performed.
  • Each play is to be between 25 – 35 minutes in length.
  • Each play to have a cast of no more than six actors.
  • Each play must be suitable for staging in a studio theatre.

For full details of the submission criteria, script guidelines, answers to frequently asked questions & payment details, please button below for a downloadable PDF.

The submitted scripts will be evaluated anonymously by readers and the final short list by our two judges. Results (including the ‘long’ and the ‘short’ list) will be announced via the Fringe website, social media and related websites. Approximate dates are … Long list – end April / May 2022 Short list – May 2022 Final 3 – mid June 2022 The winner of the £500 award (held in a sealed envelope) will be announced at the Awards Ceremony after ‘the last night’ performances in October.

Drama Writing Award Guidelines & FAQs press here:

Submission & Fee

  • TWO paper copies and one emailed copy to be submitted.
  • £10 submission fee plus an (optional) script printing fee (8p per page).
  • Fee payable by cheques payable to Windsor Fringe Festival. Or a payment by Paypal or Credit card via Paypal.

CLICK HERE FOR PAYPAL (Paypal account not necessary)