Katie Mulgrew Wins The Liverpool Hope Playwriting Prize

Posted on 2 April 2015
By Chris High
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The winning prize of £10,000 offered in the inaugural Liverpool Hope University Playwriting competition, and the possibility of having the winning play produced by The Liverpool Royal Court Theatre, has gone to the only woman short listed.

Katie Mulgrew, who is also the daughter of comedy legend Jimmy Cricket, scooped the prize with Omnibus which centres on housemates Nell, Lauren, Mark and his girlfriend, Jessica. All four of them are enjoying a soap opera marathon on what they think is a typical Sunday afternoon, until an unexpected visitor arrives to give them an episode to remember.

“I’m a hormonal pregnant woman,” she laughed after her name was read out by Dr. John Bennett of Liverpool Hope University. “I cried at a sandwich today!”

The competition was open to everybody across the country, had to be a comedy script and received over 200 entries which were then finally whittled down to a short list of ten. Katie – herself a stand-up comedian – was attracted by one particular aspect of the rules.

“That the competition was judged anonymously means a lot to me,” she said on receiving the award at The Liverpool Hope University Creative Campus. “It means that there hasn’t been any positive discrimination and everyone’s work has been judged on its merits, which makes me feel amazing. I hope this play will be a platform for my comedy writing, a chance to really break into the comedy world, and it would be an absolute dream to have my play performed at the Royal Court. All writers work so hard; the work is your baby and you live in the hope that somebody somewhere will connect with it. I’m genuinely and completely shocked, but so happy. It’s such an incredible award to have even been short listed for, but to win is just so amazing.”

The Liverpool Hope Playwriting Prize is the UK’s second largest playwriting prize after the Bruntwood Prize, and Katie’s play was chosen by a team of expert judges including actress and director Kathy Burke, 24 Hour Party People screenwriter and Millions novelist Frank Cottrell Boyce, Up ‘n’ Under playwright John Godber, critic and writer Paul Allen, Liverpool Royal Court Chief Executive Kevin Fearon, Liverpool Hope University Drama Academic Dr John Bennett, and Liverpool Echo Arts Editor Catherine Jones.

“When I saw the award advertised, I just loved the fact that it offered a chance to work with the Liverpool Royal Court, which is such a fabulous theatre,” Katie continued. “So many great writers come from Liverpool – and the North West as a whole – and when I saw the list of judges, I knew I’d love my work to be judged by these people.”

Two Highly Commended 21 and Under awards were also presented on the night: Robert Cooke for The Box, which centres on two men stuck in a room with no obvious way out and a magic box that contains whatever they want it to, and to Hope University student Jonathan Cheriyan for Happily Ever After? in which Prince Charming and Cinderella are having marriage problems, and the ageing Fairy Godmother seems to have lost her power to help.

“These announcements come at the end of a long process that has seen some great scripts submitted. Katie’s play is a very worthy winner,” Gillian Miller, Chief Executive of the Royal Court Liverpool Trust said. “Another great thing to take out of this process is the working partnership between The Liverpool Royal Court and Liverpool Hope University. Professor Gerald Pillay and the team at Liverpool Hope have been hugely supportive and it bodes well for this prize in future years.”

For More Information: http://www.hope.ac.uk/pwprize/