From a record number of 1493 entries, a longlist of 20 inspiring and fabulously imagined emerging voices, and a shortlist of seven incredibly eclectic new plays, Soho Theatre has announced the winner of the Verity Bargate Award 2020 as Amanda Wilkin with her captivating play Shedding A Skin. The production will have its world premiere at Soho Theatre in the Spring/Summer of 2021.
For 50 years Soho Theatre has championed new writing, from lunch time plays in the 70s to today’s commissions, attachments, writers labs and awards. Since 1982, Soho Theatre’s prestigious biennial playwriting competition, the Verity Bargate Award, has uncovered the best new play by an emerging UK and Irish writer and launched the careers of some of Britain’s most established writers.
In January this year, almost 1500 new plays by emerging writers were submitted to the Verity Bargate Award 2020. What followed was months of reading from a diverse team of arts industry professionals, that continued throughout COVID restrictions, to reach a longlist of 20 plays before a shortlist of seven plays was determined. Chaired by film and television producer, and Award Sponsor, Character 7’s Stephen Garrett (The Night Manager, The Undoing) – who described the shortlisted plays as ‘spine-tingly zeitgeisty’ – hours of Zoom deliberations ensued between a panel of industry experts including former Soho Theatre writers Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Laura Wade, screenwriter Russell T Davies, actress and playwright Lolita Chakrabarti, before determining Amanda Wilkin’s play Shedding A Skin as the Award winner.
Lolita Chakrabarti said: ‘Amanda Wilkin’s play is beautifully written, contemporary, poetic and delicate. The world she creates in the play is familiar and surprising all at once. She’s definitely a talent to watch.’
Phoebe Waller-Bridge said: ‘I was not prepared to be kidnapped by a play and a voice so completely as I was by Amanda Wilkin’s Shedding A Skin. I’m excited to see this profound, funny, modern, stark and hopeful play performed at Soho Theatre. Then of course, after that, just everything Amanda puts her pen to!’
Amanda Wilkin will be the recipient of the £7,500 prize, and will see the play produced at Soho Theatre in Spring / Summer 2021. The production will also be recorded and livestreamed, as well as released on Soho Theatre On Demand at a date to be announced.
Amanda Wilkin said: “I’m really excited and grateful to find out that I’ve won the Verity Bargate Award. It was just amazing to be longlisted and shortlisted with extraordinary writers that I’m really proud to be amongst. I just wanted to say a big thank you to all the readers and the judges. I’m looking forward to getting started!”