Book awards' dramatic new twist

Britain’s oldest literary awards are breaking new ground with a new theatre prize.

The shortlist for the first ever James Tait Black Prize for Drama has been unveiled.

The five nominations are an exciting mix of dramatic talent chosen from more than 180 plays from the UK and the rest of the world.

Exciting mix

It is an incredibly strong shortlist, of bold, provocative plays – exactly what this award sets out to recognise.

Neil MurrayExecutive Producer at The National Theatre of Scotland

The eclectic shortlist includes productions about military secrets leaked from Iraq and an unlikely love story set in a medical testing unit.

Other productions include an exploration of society’s attitudes to the human body, propaganda mechanisms used in the Chinese Cultural Revolution and a dystopian vision where nature collides with humanity.

Original voice

The £10,000 prize recognises a play that displays an original theatrical voice.

The drama prize was launched last year by the University of Edinburgh in partnership with the National Theatre Scotland and in association with Edinburgh’s Traverse Theatre.

There will be a reading of the successful play produced by the National Theatre of Scotland at Edinburgh’s Traverse Theatre on 5 August at 7pm.

Event Information

Box Office: 0131 228 1404 (in phone booking only)

Monday 5 August 2013, 7.00pm

Monday 5 August 2013, 9.30pm

Edinburgh's Traverse Theatre

The shortlist

  • In Water I’m Weightless by Kaite O’Reilly: a series of provocative monologues originally performed by a cast of deaf and disabled performers. Produced by National Theatre Wales – a commission for the Cultural Olympiad and London 2012 Festival.
  • The Hundred Flowers Project by Christopher Chen: an examination of the connections between the Chinese Cultural Revolution and the digital transformation sweeping the US today. Originally produced with Crowded Fire Theater and Playwrights Foundation, both based in San Francisco, in October 2012.
  • The Effect by Lucy Prebble: a story about love and neuroscience set in a pharmaceutical testing centre. Originally co-produced by Headlong and The National Theatre in London in November 2012.
  • Foxfinder by Dawn King: a darkly comic play about a man who visits a farm to eradicate a fox infestation. First presented at the Finborough Theatre, London in November 2011 as part of the Papatango New Writing Festival.
  • The Radicalisation of Bradley Manning by Tim Price: based on the true story of a 24 year-old soldier who military secrets leaked from Iraq. The trial is currently taking place in the US. Originally produced by National Theatre Wales and first performed at Cardiff high School in April 2012.

We are thrilled by the response to the first year of our drama prize. The James Tait Black Awards are renowned for showcasing the very best of literature and we are delighted to celebrate the work of playwrights this year.

Nicola McCartneyMember of the James Tait Black judging panel, playwright and lecturer at the University of Edinburgh

Related Links

James Tait Black Prizes

National Theatre of Scotland

Traverse Theatre

School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures