Tuesday 5 May 2009

2009 Brian Way Award

The Stage reports that the London's Theatre Centre has declared Douglas Maxwell the winner of the 2009 Brian Way Award, and the recipient of a cheque for £6,000, for his play for young people called The Mothership.

The annual playwriting prize was first established as the Children's Award in 2000 by the Arts Council of England, to celebrate innovation in theatre for young people. The awards was taken over by the Theatre Centre in 2007, and was renamed after Brian Way--the organisation's founder--when the Arts Council removed funding for the award.

Scottish writer Maxwell is the author of a number of plays such as Decky Does The Bronco, Variety and Backpacker Blue, while his work for young people includes Helmet, Beyond and Mancub. His plays have been performed in translation in Germany, Norway, Hong Kong, New York, Chicago, Holland and South Korea - where his work Our Bag Magnet has just completed a three-year run.

Accepting the award, Maxwell commented: "This means a lot to me because I have been writing for young audiences on and off for ten years, and it deserves respect because I think writing for young audiences is really, really hard. Writing a normal play is hard, writing a good play is almost impossible, writing a good play that teenagers might like ages you like a dog.

"These people we are writing for watch Hollyoaks and The Simpsons five nights a week - you try coming up with an idea that hasn't been done in Hollyoaks and The Simpsons. It's impossible. If it doesn't work, you are personally responsible for putting someone off going to the theatre for life. I'm not comfortable with that - that's William Shakespeare's job."

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