News & Blog
The First National Octagon Prize
11 Dec 2015
The Octagon Theatre is delighted to launch its first national writing prize: a competition celebrating new and original writing for the stage.
Entrants over 16 with any level of experience are invited to submit dramatic monologues, up to 40 minutes in length, of any theme or genre, from children’s interactive storytelling, to adult horror. Judges will be looking for original subject matter, engaging speech and, above all, something that makes them sit up and take notice. The successful entry will be performed on the Octagon stage by professional actors, and directed by the Octagon’s Artistic Director, Elizabeth Newman.
Reviewing the monologues will be an esteemed panel of judges, including Sue Emmas (Associate Artistic Director, Young Vic); Amit Sharma (Associate Director, Graeae); Aisha Khan (Artistic Director, Freedom Studios); Max Stafford-Clark (Artistic Director, Out of Joint); Stella Feehily (playwright); Lawrence Till (former Artistic Director, Octagon Theatre); Sue Roberts (BBC Audio Drama Producer for Radio 3 and 4, and editor of Radio 3’s The Verb); and Octagon Theatre Artistic Director Elizabeth Newman.
Speaking of the Prize, Elizabeth said: “Over recent years we've managed to engage writers from across the region and nationally through various programmes, projects and initiatives. We are incredibly committed to a meaningful approach to writer development and consider it an essential part of what we do at our Theatre.
However, it is vital for the writer to have their work performed by great actors and produced for audiences. It is also important for audiences to see great plays written in the now, and for our rich artistic community to nurture the cannon. It is for all of these reasons that we have launched our first National Octagon Prize.
We begin with the dramatic monologue; a beautiful form where the playwright has an immediate dialogue with their audience. We decided to begin with the dramatic monologue as, very importantly, our audience have expressed countless times how much they value and enjoy direct contact from the actor (and therefore writer) on stage. Over the coming years, we will adapt our prize to ensure our audience is exposed to a dynamic and diverse diet of theatrical experiences, too.
This synergy found between the actor and the audience is something to celebrate across our three platforms - inside, outside and online – too, so you can expect our winning monologues to be popping up everywhere.
I approached some of my most respected colleagues all of whom have very different areas of expertise, but who love new writing and making. We particularly want to encourage writing from under-represented and marginalised groups. We want to listen to the voices that are not easily, often, or sometimes ever heard within our diverse community. We feel passionately about sharing these voices in Bolton and beyond.”
Entries must be submitted by email, to firstname.lastname@example.org, or by post, to Octagon Theatre, Howell Croft South, Bolton, BL1 1SB, by 11:59pm 26 February 2016. The monologues will be performed at the Octagon in 2017.