The winner of the 2022 Liverpool Hope Playwriting Prize was named last night as Cardiff-based writer Lawrence Quilty, for his play Peter Byrne Is Standing Here.
Nine writers were shortlisted for the fourth Liverpool Hope biennial competition, for which writers submitted their plays last year. The ceremony took place at Liverpool’s Royal Court theatre.
Lawrence's script was chosen by a wide-ranging panel of judges, including Royal Court boss Kevin Fearon and comedian and actor Les Dennis, from around 200 scripts from across the UK.
Fearon said: “The winning play was full of sharp dialogue, with characters that jumped off the page. It is a razor sharp political satire that takes you to places you don’t expect to go."
Originally from Oxford, Quilty has previously had work longlisted for Finborough Theatre's ETPEP Award 2020 and shortlisted for The Other Room New Page 2020. Lawrence is also a theatre administrator as well as a writer, and this is his first major competition win.
The delighted winner said: “I’ve written a couple of serious historical plays before this, but nothing that has ever been produced. I’d not attempted comedy before because I don’t think that I’m funny, but after this I have to accept that there is a possibility I might be!
"I am so grateful to receive a prize of this significance, with backing from a major producing house and a university. To be here at a proper event, full of people showing incredible support for new writing, is amazing. I feel very lucky to be a part of it.”
The play relates the day veteran left-wing councillor Peter Byrne finally takes matters into his own hands. After being ousted in a local by-election, the time has come for him to leave his office. His alternatives: to step down gracefully or to barricade himself in his office armed with a pistol and start a revolution. He decides on the latter...
The Liverpool Hope Playwriting Prize is the second-largest national playwriting competition and offers a platform for new comedy plays and writers UK-wide. Entries must be original, unperformed and funny.
The competition is a collaboration between Liverpool’s Royal Court Theatre and Liverpool Hope University, and offers the winner £10,000 and production consideration by the Royal Court
The competition's success stories include writers who have gone on to see their work performed across the UK.
Highly-commended 2017 finalist Gerry Linford’s playThe Miracle of Great Homer Street ran in 2018 at the Royal Court, and Gerry has since written four more plays with the latest, Macca & Beth, running at the Royal Court until May 28. This year’s presentation took place on the Macca & Beth stage set.