The High Sheriff’s Cheshire Prize for Literature showcases the literary talents of writers with a connection to the Cheshire area. Now into its 16th year, the competition has introduced an exciting new category – Scriptwriting.
The University of Chester is teaming up with Storyhouse for a unique event that will see the top four entries to this year’s prize compete live on stage. Working with a team of directors, actors and producers, the top entrants will have their creations brought to life upon the Storyhouse stage during the awards evening. Alongside a panel of judges, including legendary screenwriter and producer, Phil Redmond CBE (Grange Hill, Brookside, Hollyoaks), the audience will help crown this year’s winner.
Julie McKiernan – Counting Trees
“Counting Trees was inspired by my suddenly noticing some beautiful trees on the edge of a car park which I must have walked under/round thousands of times. Like many people, the climate change crisis has made me more aware of the need to protect our trees and to appreciate them more and I wanted to use this opportunity to write a short play that would hopefully make the audience look up and around at the amazing nature that surrounds us.”
Julie is a self-employed writer/community artist who specialises in heritage-based scripts for community projects which she plans and organises with the help of colleagues from Healthy Arts, a not-for-profit organisation. She also runs local history/reminiscence and creative writing workshops including one for Years Ahead at the Grangeway Youth and Community Centre in Runcorn.
Elis Shotton – Cornbrook
Elis Shotton is a playwright from Chester who has had this work performed at the Brewery Arts Centre in Kendal, Oldham Coliseum, 53two in Manchester and at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2017. He is the co-founder of Theatre Unlocked, a new-writing focussed production company that’s production ‘Flushed’ has been performed around the country, including at the Barbican in London for the Fertility Festival 2018. He graduated from the University of Manchester in 2017 with a BA (hons) in Drama and is currently studying an MA in Writing for Stage and Broadcast Media at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama.
Cornbrook tram stop, Manchester, 7:24pm. An interchange. Anna is waiting for her connecting tram home from work as she does every day however today is different. Today she meets Sophie. After there is an instant connection between the girls, Anna is forced to confront herself and make a big decision. Cornbrook is a piece that explores our relationship to the places we come from and the people who have the power to change our lives forever.
Cathy Bryant – A Taste of Paradise
A Taste of Paradise is about Heena, a woman stranded on a desert island, who falls in love with a coconut. Despite being alone (except for the coconut, obviously) Heena finds the island less lonely than marriage to an abusive husband. But can she really make a life there and claim her own, weird freedom? And will things work out with Colin, the coconut? Is the relationship bountiful?
Cathy Bryant has previously won the Marple Prize for Humorous Poetry and the Wergle Flomp Prize for Humorous Poetry. Having lived in Disley, Cheshire, she now lives in Cadishead, Manchester. A Taste of Paradise is her first play and she’s both nervous and excited about it.
Nick Fogg – Back in the Closet
Nick is a writer and a filmmaker, and a member of this year’s BFI NETWORK x BAFTA Crew. She’s currently writing her first feature screenplays, one with support from the BFI NETWORK Early Development Fund. Back in the Closet is her first short radio play.
Back in the Closet is about what it’s like when you find you need to rely on care from strangers coming into your home, and you fear that being yourself will affect the way they behave towards you. It is inspired by real experiences.
Produced by the University of Chester and Storyhouse.