Paines Plough, Ellie Keel Productions and 45North have announced that the joint winner of The Women’s Prize for Playwriting 2020 Ahlam will have a staged reading of their debut play You Bury Me as part of a festival of new work at the Edinburgh International Festival at the Royal Lyceum Theatre this summer.
Ahlam won the first ever presentation of The Women’s Prize for Playwriting, and the premiere follows the success of the other joint winner in 2020, Amy Trigg. Both playwrights have had their debut shows performed within nine months of winning. Amy Trigg opened Reasons You Should(n’t) Love Me at the Kiln in May 2021, to sell out success and critical acclaim – a tragicomedy about self-love, spina bifida, and how shit and wonderful life can be.
You Bury Me is written by Ahlam and directed by Paines Plough’s Artistic Director Katie Posner with music by Arun Ghosh.
This story starts with a place. No, a city.
A city called Al Qahera.
This is a story about bodies. Young people discovering their own bodies and one another’s. Bodies that are violated and brutalised by the state. Bodies that make history.
Winner of The Women’s Prize for Playwriting 2020, YOU BURY ME is an explosive, political debut from Ahlam about a generation fighting to live and love freely in post-Arab Spring Cairo.
Alham said: “I hope YOU BURY ME offers a glimpse into the painful and beautiful paradox that is Cairo, and her stories that are full of love and tenderness, as well as rage and violence. I want to thank everyone involved at The Women’s Prize for Playwriting for believing that this is a story worth telling, I cannot describe what this means to me.”
Joint Artistic Directors of Paines Plough Charlotte Bennett and Katie Posner said: “We are so thrilled to be able to produce this reading of YOU BURY ME at the EIF this August. Being able to bring bold and dynamic stories to the stage is exactly why we set out to deliver. The Women’s Prize for Playwriting and it feels incredible to be able to support not one, but two of these amazing women in 2021. As we look ahead to the next year of the prize and the return of telling stories to audiences in person across the UK we want to see the gender imbalance across our main stages radically shift and we hope to be part of this change.”
Ellie Keel said: “We founded The Women’s Prize for Playwriting not only to find, but also to produce the best new plays by women on national stages. This production of Ahlam’s extraordinary play YOU BURY ME at the Edinburgh International Festival is exciting and prestigious in its own right, and also means that both of our First Prize-winning plays from 2020 are being shown to audiences within months of winning. We are delighted for Amy Trigg and Ahlam and are honoured to work with them and the talented creative teams making these productions. We hope that this sends a strong message to women entering their work to the Prize this year that the winners of The Women’s Prize for Playwriting will receive the very best productions.”
Reasons You Should(n’t) Love Me, co-produced with Paines Plough, The Women’s Prize for Playwriting, 45North and the Kiln is on at the Kiln until 12 June. The staged reading of You Bury Me will run 13 – 14 August for selected performances and is co-produced by Paines Plough, Ellie Keel Productions and 45North.
The Women’s Prize for Playwriting was launched in November 2019 by Ellie Keel Productions and Paines Plough, with 45North and in association with Sonia Friedman Productions. The aim of the prize is to celebrate and support exceptional UK and Ireland based playwrights who identify as female.
The prize is £12,000 and includes an exclusive option for Ellie Keel Productions and Paines Plough to co-produce the winning play. The Women’s Prize for Playwriting is designed to celebrate and raise the profile of female playwrights by providing them with a national platform. Anyone who is aged 16 years and over, who is resident in the UK or Ireland and who identifies as female can enter. The prize is for a full-length play (defined as over 60 minutes in length), written in English. Musicals and pantomimes are not eligible.
The Women’s Prize for Playwriting submissions for 2021 are open now and close on 12 July, to apply please visit womensprizeforplaywriting.co.uk.