We caught up with Adam Morley to find out more about the Adam Morley Sponsor a Playwright Bursary, which will gift the winning writer with £1000 to further develop the script to production in 2018.
Tell us about The Adam Morley Sponsor a Playwright Bursary?
I’m the Executive Producer of Actor Awareness, who originally sent out an open brief for plays and collected hundreds of submissions. Since then, I’ve been working independently to generate a shortlist of new plays, which will now be given a table read before a further cut to the final five that will go before the judges. It’s been great fun and humbling to read so many new fantastic plays.
It’s been a blind submission process, why was that important?
One of the things I have been campaigning for recently is equality in the arts. There isn’t a level playing field, and often opportunity exists for an elite few. Nepotism is rife, and opportunities limited. I’m not saying that those who have had opportunity granted aren’t talented or hard working – they invariably are – but the door was open for them in a way that isn’t for others. So, the blind process was created to focus on the most important thing: the words, and the stories. We are story-tellers – and ultimately, that’s what I wanted to create: a platform for a new story to be told.
What inspired you to launch the bursary?
I have always strived to create opportunity, sustainability and diversity in the arts. This has run alongside the development of my own company and projects to realise these ambitions. The bursary was created to facilitate new writing – to inspire and be inspired. I am overwhelmed by the quality of responses, and so excited to be able to offer this prize. Some have spoken of “sending the elevator down”, but it turns out only a select few were allowed into the building. I’m trying, in my own small way and with my limited resources, to provide opportunity for anyone, be they without qualifications or experience.
What will this bursary mean to the winning playwright?
The winning playwright will receive a financial reward of £1000, and I will work with them to develop their script into a full production, which we will aim to stage in 2018.
How did you select the judging panel?
They are all experts in their field, with wide-ranging experience and varied backgrounds. All of the judges are people I’ve worked with – so I know them well enough to know that they represent a broad cross-section of the arts – and society – allowing me the broadest set of views and opinions. I am delighted to have such a strong team, as I won’t be a judge for the final selection – and couldn’t ask for better judges, with so much combined experience.
What will you be looking for from the shortlisted plays?
I want to celebrate the words and the writers – and find a new piece that can grow and develop as a narrative, as well as be taken far and wide, to new audiences and hopefully new budding writers. But, primarily, what I want is a great story – something I and audiences will connect with, be entertained and moved by. A story that challenges, inspires, and creates a new world, or a new way of looking at an old one.
The judging panel includes James Phelps, most famous for portraying Fred Weasley in the Harry Potter franchise film series. He will be joined by Lola Williams, John Byrne, Yasmeen Khan, Emma Taylor and Chris Hislop.