Exeter College Lecturer Wins the Theatre Fest West Writer's Prize

Theatre Fest West Writer's Prize Winner Shiona Morton

Date: Monday 24 April 2017

Exeter College lecturer and playwright, Shiona Morton from Brixham South Devon, has been awarded the distinguished Theatre Fest West Writer’s Prize. As part of the prize, her play with be produced and staged by Salisbury Playhouse.

Shiona had to submit an original unproduced play, suitable for a studio theatre space and up to four actors. She says: "Hansel is something I've been working on for some time, and has had several complete rewrites. Last summer I rewrote it again and felt that it was in good shape to submit. In December I heard that I was one of three shortlisted."

Hansel is about an elderly hoarder, Edith, who is visited by her daughter, Viv, for her quarterly clean-out. Tensions rise when Viv discovers Edith’s friendship with a teenage boy sleeping rough in the woods outside Edith’s cottage.

Writers from all over the South West entered the competition, three plays were then chosen and contestants had the chance to complete a day’s research and development along with rehearsed reading with a professional company.

Jo Newman, associate director of Salisbury Playhouse, said: "The Theatre Fest West Writer’s Prize has enabled Salisbury Playhouse to build new, meaningful relationships with writers from the region, celebrating the incredible talent in the South West and producing a brand new play as part of our Original Drama programme. Hansel is a touching, atmospheric piece which explores a really important and relevant subject. We’re really excited about introducing Shiona’s work to our audience."

Shiona said:

I was delighted to hear the news that Hansel had been selected as the winner. The most exciting thing for me is to see my work produced. It is fantastic to watch my ideas and characters being brought to life by actors live on stage. This is a great prize because it celebrates playwrights in the South West region and offers a platform for new plays.

About Theatre Fest West:

Theatre Fest West is Salisbury Playhouse’s annual celebration of work made in the South West. 2017’s Theatre Fest West was bigger than ever, with over 30 performances taking place across Wiltshire showcasing work from artists from all corners of the South West. We kicked off the festival with South West Theatre Symposium, where artists and industry professionals from across the region came together to have meaningful conversations and celebrate theatre making in the South West.

About Exeter College:

Exeter College is a tertiary college in the city of Exeter, Devon, England, providing further education for 16- 18-year-old students, including apprenticeships, A levels and the International Baccalaureate, as well as a range of courses for 14- to 16-year-olds, higher education and adult courses, community education and professional development courses.

Exeter College was established in 1970 as the first tertiary college in England. The college offers higher education in partnership with institutions including the University of Exeter, The University of Plymouth Colleges network, the University of St Mark & St John and Kingston University.

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