Brave New Roles
On Friday 16th June 2006, at Soho Theatre and Writers Centre, 21 Dean Street, London W1: Sphinx launched an award, sponsored by Oberon Books, for playwrights creating the best role for a woman in a new play.
Currently, the award is suspended owing to loss of funding. The ultimate aim is to create a body of work containing better roles for women in contemporary plays.
Janet Suzman, Christine Payne (General Secretary of Equity), Rosemary Squire (President of SOLT), actors, writers and directors launched this new initiative.
Awards Ceremony 2006:
NEEDLE by CHRISTINA BALIT and THE INCREDIBLE MERCY OF LIMPET AND LEACH by DEBBIE JONES were the first winners of the Brave New Roles Award.
Actress and director Janet Suzman presented the prize and commission to both writers at a ceremony at Soho Theatre on Friday 24th November 2006.
CHRISTINA BALIT is an award-winning illustrator of children's books; NEEDLE is her fourth play.
DEBBIE JONES has written for television, radio and stage winning the Kings Cross New Writing Award in 2003.
Winning play NEEDLE is an historical drama focusing on the process and people behind the making of the Bayeux Tapestry. Boldly confronting colonialism, abuse and sisterhood, NEEDLE examines the story of the Norman Conquest and the lives that were swept up or forgotten in its telling.
THE INCREDIBLE MERCY OF LIMPET AND LEACH is a surreal and poignant play about terminal illness and enduring love. Against decay, death, dodos and doctors elderly couple Lily Limpet and Lily Leach struggle to cling to their past, their humanity and each other.
The Brave New Roles Award judges were: Jack Bradley, Literary Manager, National Theatre; Gemma Bodinetz, Artistic Director, Liverpool Playhouse & Everyman Theatres; Rebecca Lenkiewicz, playwright; Tanya Moodie, actress; Sue Parrish, Artistic Director Sphinx Theatre and Janet Suzman, actress and director.The winning playwrights were both awarded £2000 in prize money and received a commission from Sphinx Theatre Company.
Photos by Pau Ros: James Hogan (Oberon Books), Janet Suzman, Sue Parrish and Tanya Moodie