(image: top L-R Effie Samara, Wendy Thomson - bottom L-R Kate Saffin, Amie Taylor)
This Mothering Sunday, on 6th March 2016 6.30pm at Greenwich Theatre launches a new award for female playwrights, RED Women's Theatre Awards, in a co-production with Female Arts magazine.
Aptly beginning in Women's HERStory Month as part of International Women's Day celebrations, is the launch of a new award for emerging female playwrights, who have responded to a call out for plays about war, politics and refuge.
The award is the idea of playwright Effie Samara, whose current research at the University of Glasgow is focused on the potential for revolution in female-authored British drama.
“I’ve had it in my head for 10 or 15 years but this seems like the right time,” said Effie. “We live in a time of war and exile and it needs to be talked about, not just as it has been through history by men but by women too."
Effie has a panel of readers for RED, including James Haddrell, Alice Kornitzer, Susan Kelly (Nelly), Zoe Barrett, and other academics and theatre professionals and has read at least part of every script herself.
“I’m looking for a evolutionary aesthetic in female authored drama and we’re well on our way. In a year or two I’m sure we’re going to get a masterpiece – maybe it’s even one of these plays set to be showcased in Greenwich.”
Female Arts Editor-In-Chief, Wendy Thomson, said: "We've been championing women in the performing arts for five years this spring so we're delighted to work with Effie Samara - our Edinburgh Editor - on her vision for an award for emerging female playwrights.
"It's so important to improve visibility and recognition of female voices in all our diversity, which is why I founded Female Arts magazine to promote gender equality in the arts.
The Female Arts team are fully behind RED Women's Theatre awards, including Amie Taylor and Kate Saffin who are directing. It's fantastic to have the first regional showcase of the awards at Greenwich Theatre who do so much to support female theatre makers."
Artistic and Executive director James Haddrell said: “Women are not only outnumbered by men by two to one among British playwrights, they are not often writing this kind of work, not because of a lack of desire but because of such a low expectation of having their work produced.
“Submissions could have a historic or modern setting, could respond to particular real events or be entirely fictitious, could be about local, national or international politics, as long as they responded to the call to action issued by RED. As part of the panel I read the fourteen plays on the long-list and was struck not only by the quality but by the sheer diversity of approach. After an incredibly difficult series of discussions, we are all incredibly proud of the four shortlisted plays, and the evening of play-readings on March 6 is set to be an exciting event.”
The shortlisted plays for RED Women's Theatre Awards London final are:
DISSONANCE by Isabella Javor, directed by James Haddrell
Picking through the rubble with five survivors in the bones of a deserted city; searching for something real, something safe. In their fragile makeshift community, our survivors struggle with finding purpose without social structure, order, and authority. When a mysterious outsider is welcomed into their home, they discover a truth billions had once coveted.
GONE by Kate Webster, directed by Alice Kornitzer
When Annie's big brother dies in the army in Afghanistan, London's eager to declare him a hero - everyone from the Mayor down wants to listen to what Annie has to say and support her and her sister. But when her younger brother dies setting a suicide bomb, suddenly they're a family of traitors and terrorists.
SPURN THE DUST by Sian Rowland, directed by Kate Saffin
As yet another march against austerity cuts turns ugly, two protesters find themselves thrown together at the feet of one of history's greatest reformers. One protester is hiding and one desperately wants to be seen but ultimately both want to be found.
UNDER MY THUMB by Cassiah Joski-Jethi, directed by Amie Taylor
Five women, apparently incarcerated in a derelict warehouse, all of whom have spoken out against the injustices done to them. The women have made a tolerable life out of their situation, with their own hierarchy and specific routine of doing things. When their routine is interrupted with the arrival of a new inmate their politics are challenged, but is the new arrival all she seems?
RED Women’s Theatre Awards
Presented by: Effie Samara, Greenwich Theatre and Female Arts
Sunday, March 6, from 6.30pm. Tickets £7 (including £1 booking fee) | Box Office 020 8858 7755 | Greenwich Theatre
For full details visit www.redwomenstheatreawards.com