Stewart Parker Trust Award Wins for Nancy Harris, Stacey Gregg and Paul Mercier

Stewart Parker Trust Award Wins for Nancy Harris, Stacey Gregg and Paul Mercier

Success for playwrights at the Stewart Parker Trust Awards.

The award ceremony for the 2012 Stewart Parker Trust Awards took place yesterday, Wednesday 25 April, at the Lyric Theatre Belfast. Among those nominated for awards including the New Playwright Bursary, the BBC Radio Drama award and the BBC Northern Irish Language Award, were Nancy Harris, Stacey Gregg and Paul Mercier, all of whom had productions staged at the Abbey Theatre on the Peacock stage in 2011.

All three playwrights were successful. Nancy Harris was awarded the New Playwright Bursary for NO ROMANCE, which was commissioned by the Abbey Theatre and received its world premiere on the Peacock stage in March 2011. NO ROMANCE was also Nancy’s first work to be professionally produced.

Critic’s praise for Harris’ writing at the time included; ‘Harris’s writing is bracingly witty, alert and incisive ...’ The Irish Times; ‘a depth of compassion and sly humour that bond into a dazzling debut’, Sunday Independent and ‘Strong new writing like this breathes fresh life into Irish theatre’, The Sunday Business Post.

Also proving successful at the ceremony was Stacey Gregg, who was awarded the BBC Radio Drama award for PERVE. Stacey was another playwright who featured in our new writing season last year along with Nancy Harris. Her world premiere of PERVE in May was presented on the Peacock stage in 2011. Praise for the production included; ‘Perve is smart, sassy and funny’, Irish Independent and ‘Perve is a slick and sophisticated piece of contemporary theatre’, Irish Examiner.

In 2008, both Nancy and Stacey were participants in 20: Love, a playwright development programme run by the Literary Department of the Abbey Theatre which also featured writers such as Phillip McMahon, Belinda McKeon, Gary Duggan and Paul Murray.

Paul Mercier was also a winner on the day receiving the BBC Northern Irish Language Award for SÉTANTA, which ran in the Peacock theatre in December 2011 in association with the Abbey Theatre.

Paul Mercier is no stranger to the Abbey Theatre, having previously written and directed THE PASSING and THE EAST PIER on the Abbey stage, where the two productions ran in repertory in the theatre in May and April of 2011. Past productions of Paul’s at the Abbey theatre include HOMELAND and DOWN THE LINE.

The Abbey Theatre, Ireland’s national theatre, is committed to new writing and producing and nurturing the playwrights of the future. The new season announcement that will be made on May 30 will reflect this.

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