Selected from nearly 350 entries from underrepresented talent right across the North of England, Box of Tricks and Sky Studios are delighted to announce that the two winners of the inaugural Screen/Play Award are Conway McDermott and Sarah Tarbit. Each writer will be awarded £10,250 to write a 70-minute stage play and a 20-minute screenplay inspired by a single central idea throughout 2021.
Conway McDermott [they/them] is a trans non-binary writer from Liverpool. They describe their work as genre fiction, using fantasy, history, sci-fi and mysticism to “create a fuller landscape of worlds and stories for weird working-class queers to inhabit”. For Screen/Play, Conway will develop The Priestess - a trans coming of age story that crashes into a psychosexual horror full of dark humour.
Sarah Tarbit [she/her] is from Ashington, Northumberland, one of the most deprived areas in the country. Her work documents life in the region and often calls for social and political change. In 2020, she was Highly Commended for the Sid Chaplin Award (part of the Northern Writers’ Awards) and had two short plays produced by Live Theatre in Newcastle. For Screen/Play, Sarah will develop You Belong Here exploring the effects suicide can have on a community and the people left behind.
Launched to unearth exceptional Northern talent from communities currently underrepresented on stage and screen, Screen/Play has shone a light on the voices that need to be heard and the stories that need to be told and we've been overwhelmed by the wealth of talent in the region. Over the last few months, we have read 341 submissions, longlisted 64 writers, shortlisted 15, interviewed 6 finalists and, after impassioned debates with our brilliant panel, now unveil our winning writers Conway and Sarah. We can't wait to start a creative journey with them both.
In addition to developing new scripts, we'll also be supporting the 15 shortlisted writers through a tailored package of masterclasses – offering an invaluable opportunity to explore their craft and the world of screenwriting with industry experts. Alongside the two winners, those writers include Shazia Ashraf, Mohammed Barber, Rosa Hesmondhalgh, Asif Khan, Aisling Lally, Rosie MacPherson, Lauren-Nicole Mayes, Amy Rhianne Milton, Laurie Ogden, Stefanie Reynolds, Elis Shotton, Ted Steptoe and Christopher York.