Last Updated on 12 May 2021 by Showcall Editorial Team
Theatre company Papatango is to film Samuel Bailey’s Shook and stage Igor Memic’s Old Bridge alongside a remodelling of its annual New Writing Prize
Theatre company Papatango has announced new productions for 2021, including a film of Samuel Bailey’s Shook which was unable to transfer to the West End transfer because of Covid-19.
Featuring the original cast of Josef Davies, Josh Finan, Andrea Hall and Ivan Oyik, Shook is due to be captured on film in December and released early next year. It will be directed by George Turvey in collaboration with Bafta Award-winning and multi-Emmy-nominated director James Bobin.
The play, inspired by true stories, looks at three young offenders who are due to become fathers while incarcerated. The winner of Papatango’s New Writing Award, it premiered to great acclaim at Southwark Playhouse in London.
Papatango has also confirmed that it is going ahead with the world premiere of British-Bosnian writer Igor Memic’s play, Old Bridge, at London’s Bush Theatre, which was delayed because of Covid-19 restrictions.
Set in Mostar in southern Bosnia and Herzegovina, the play conjures up a lost world of innocence and hope. Inspired by true stories, it powerfully exposes the impact of a war that Europe forgot and the bravery, love and sacrifice of those who lived through it.
Shook and Old Bridge were winners of Papatango’s New Writing Prize in 2019 and 2020 respectively. Now in its 13th year, the award is being “reimagined” for 2021, aiming to generate “career-defining” work for three times as many artists.
As part of the award, Papatango will produce audio recordings of the three winning productions for free world premières in a UK tour run through a new partnership with ETT (English Touring Theatre).
Judged anonymously, the Papatango New Writing Prize guarantees a new writer a full production, publication by Nick Hern Books, royalties and a commission for a new play. Every entrant receives feedback on their script – a commitment made by no other company.
For 2021, it will invite submissions of 25 to 50 minutes for audio performance and will select three winners, rather than one, each receiving £2,000, an audio production and digital publication with Nick Hern Books.
Three casts and creative teams will be assembled to record the winning plays, with Papatango pledging that at least one member of each production will be selected from open-entry applications.
The audio recordings of the plays will then tour to 12 venues around the UK including Bristol Old Vic, Chichester Festival Theatre, Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough, Theatre Royal Plymouth, Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse, Theatr Clwyd in Mold, Lyric Theatre Belfast, Southwark Playhouse and Bush Theatre.
The recordings will be played from free listening stations – sanitised, distanced and safe – and therefore can go ahead whatever social distancing requirements may be in place, supplemented with copies of the scripts including Braille translations, all helping to encourage audiences back into theatres. Tickets will be free and bookable in advance.
The 2021 prize will be open for entries from 9am on Friday 27 November 2020, closing at midnight on 7 February 2021, with winners selected in May ahead of an autumn tour. More details on the open-application process for creatives and casts will be announced in 2021.
Papatango has also announced the launch of its Education Portal to ensure anyone can train to make theatre. It is also expanding its tried-and-tested free creative learning opportunities through GoWrite, with Sarah Emily Parkes appointed to the newly created role of education officer.
The ambitious programme of open-entry opportunities has been developed to support early-stage artists and freelancers, who are among those hardest hit by Covid-19, and provide completely free and accessible new plays to help encourage audiences back to theatre.
Turvey, who is artistic director of Papatango, said: “We’re bouncing back from the pandemic with our biggest-ever programme to support artists and audiences. Including our first film, our rescheduled move to the Bush Theatre, and our remodelled prize, we’ll champion more brilliant new talent than ever before at a time when this is especially vital.
“Equally, by welcoming Sarah to the team and launching our education portal, we’ll help even more people to get into theatre and reap the benefits of creativity. That we can deliver this expansion, even though we run without any core public subsidy and chose not to apply to the Cultural Recovery Fund so that others with greater need could do so, demonstrates what can be achieved with a little will and a lot of imagination.”