Nine writers are about to find out which of them has won the Liverpool Hope Playwriting Prize for comedy.
The prize is awarded every two years and this year's ceremony is on Monday (May 9) at the city's Royal Court theatre.
The competition offers a platform for new comedy plays and writers, demanding scripts that are original, unperformed and, of course, funny. Entrants submitted their scripts last year and the winner will receive £10,000 and maybe a chance to see their play performed.
Almost 200 scripts were submitted, reviewed anonymously by a panel of industry insiders before a shortlist was sent to the judging panel of writers, agents, producers and academics.
The Liverpool Hope Playwriting Prize, a collaboration between Liverpool’s Royal Court Theatre and Liverpool Hope University, is the UK's second-largest national playwriting competition, after Manchester Royal Exchange's Bruntwood prize, which covers plays in general. Past winners and highly-commended writers have had their plays commissioned at theatres across the UK.
Royal Court executive producer Kevin Fearon said: “We have been delighted to be involved since the competition began in 2015. A part of our plan is to continue to create talent development routes for writers, and this prize is a big part of that.”
Liverpool Hope University's vice-chancellor Professor Gerald Pillay said: "The city of Liverpool has long been a hotbed of the creative and performing arts and the Hope Playwriting Prize really taps into those collective talents.”
This year's shortlist:
Stuart Purcell - And You Really Want To Show It
Set in the high-rise World Solutions office building, we follow an intern’s journey through a heavenly building in the clouds that proves the human experiment has failed.
Alex MacKeith - Behaviour Management
A teacher training company is faced with an impending Ofsted inspection. There are some weak links in the team so they do the only reasonable thing: stick them out of the day on a "training course".
Hilary Spires - Feeding Frenzy
The secretary of state is backed into a corner and swiftly comes up with a revolutionary health scheme: fresh fruit and veg are in and sweets and chocolates are out. Having caught the public mood, he has no idea what to do with it.
Linda Saavedra - Foo Foo’s Follies
The striking Midland Hotel is where all the best people in town want to be seen. But following a terrible accident, it may be up for sale – leaving hostess Foo Foo wondering what she will do next…
Matt Butler - How to Get Away With Merger
A critical moment for a long-established insurance company as a French insurance giant is on the way to sign a merger deal. Could the day get any worse? Well, yes it could...
Lawrence Quilty - Peter Byrne is Standing Here
Longstanding left-wing councillor Peter Byrne has been ousted in a local election. His options are to step down gracefully, or, um, barricade himself into his office with a pistol and start a revolution...
Joe Graham - South For the Winter A local amateur drama group is setting up in a church hall and Michael Finch is polishing his Richard III. His wife, his father and the rest of the group bring him good and bad news – but the show must go on…
Steve Lawson - The Gandhi of Garston
A near-miss with a speeding car leads lazy git Matt to take on a new lease of life as a safety campaigner. But now he needs to persuade his family and neighbours that he wants to make everybody’s life better.
Stuart Fortey - Wodehouse Wheeze
PG Wodehouse is living in France when he is captured by the Germans. Trapped in a prisoner of war camp, he makes the best of his new life by winning over his captors with his trademark wit.