WriteForTheStage Prize for New Writing, 2019: Publication Out Now

Each year, WriteForTheStage gets together with Greater Manchester Fringe Festival to help promote, champion, and recognise the quality of work during the festival. And, over the years, we've witnessed a huge growth in the quality of work; demonstrated by the volume of pieces that go on to the Edinburgh Fringe and onto national touring.

It seems that the GMFringe really has found its voice, and we're very proud to help mark the legacy of the work with an annual publication, celebrating the best new writing from the festival.

Previous winners

We've now published six of the seven winning pieces of the WriteForTheStage Prize for New Writing.

The previous winners were:


Alan Stockdill - Le Grand Return, performed at The Swan, Dobcross


John FK Hoyle - Trigonometry, performed at The Swan, Dobcross

Elliot Hughes & Hidden Track Theatre - Standard:Elite, performed at Nexus Arts Cafe, Manchester


Dan Ireland-Reeves - Bleach, performed at The Kings Arms Theatre, Salford


Jonathan Hall - How To Survive A Zombie Apocalypse, performed at The Kings Arms Theatre, Salford

Cody Daigle-Orians - 18 Victoria, performed at 53Two, Manchester


Laura Harper - A Quick Guide To Ruining Your Life, performed at The Kings Arms, Salford

The Judges

Each year, we gather a collection of theatre professionals together to help us find our winning piece. Application to the prize is initiated by submission, and we go and see all of the pieces to assess the quality of the writing.

Stephen M Hornby

Stephen is a multi-award-winning playwright and director and the co-host of the WriteForTheStage Podcast.

Stephen is completing an AHRC funded PhD, researching playwriting from archives. He is National Playwright in Residence to LGBT History Month and artistic director of Inkbrew Productions.

Stephen lectures at the University of Salford on playwriting and the history of British Theatre.

Plays include:

Adhesion of Love, toured North West, spring 2019

The Burnley Buggers’ Ball, toured North West, spring 2017 to 5 STAR reviews

Die Diana winner of the 2016 Best Drama Award for the Greater Manchester Fringe

A Very Victorian Scandal, Arts Council of England funded

Stephen is under commission to several UK museums. His short film Unchechen won a Wings Award in 2018 and has been screened around the world. The Adhesion of Love explores Bolton's connection with the queer American poet Walt Whitman and will tour in 2019.

Twitter & Instagram: @stephenmhornby @inkbrew

Jayne Marshall

Jayne has a Distinction MA in Playwriting from Salford University and runs the WriteForTheStage courses in Glossop.

She's a qualified trainer (C&G 7307 and CIPD Associate) with over 14 years of teaching experience and has taught creative writing with the Workers Education Authority.

Jayne's work has been performed around the NorthWest at venues such as The Lowry, Studio Salford, and at the 24:7 Theatre Festival.

Most recent project: ‘Sharing the Story: Make Do and Mend’ a collaboration with a group of older women who grew up in Tameside during WWII. This was performed for them at their communal lounge and within local community venues across Tameside as part of Ambition For Ageing’s inaugural Festival of Ageing.

Jayne was one of the winners of the BBC Radio/Royal Exchange Manchester Monologues with ‘Hand to Hand Combat’.

Naomi Sumner

Naomi Sumner Chan is a Manchester-based playwright & dramaturg. She leads Brush Stroke Order, a new writing company providing workshops, mentoring, and support to those who write for live performance.

Naomi currently reads for The National Theatre, The Royal Exchange Theatre, and Sheffield Theatres.

SAME SAME DIFFERENT, a verbatim play exploring adoption and identity was commissioned by Eclipse Theatre and toured across the North of England in Spring 2019.

Her new play BANANA SPLIT is in development with Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough.

Richard Douglas

Richard Douglas began writing in 2009.

Turning his sights towards playwriting, he joined the first cohort of WriteForTheStage students and was actively involved in four courses covering writing and producing over several years.

Out of this came his first play Barbara the Zoo Keeper in 2014, followed by Marina and the Clone in 2016 which had some success with the BBC Writers Room, and Margaret, a monologue which debuted at GM Fringe Festival 2017 and toured locally.

Richard has produced several plays, both his own and others; including work by Mike Heath, Robert Pegg, Tom Hogan and Proud and Loud Arts: a professional disability arts organisation.

He works part-time for a digital agency as a copywriter, character writer for an artificially intelligent chatbot, and app scriptwriter.

Richard is writing his first novel and eyeing up a return to Manchester’s fringe scene.

Dr Szilvi Naray-Davey

Szilvi is a drama practitioner, director, dramaturge, academic, and lecturer at Salford University. She has performed on stage and film in New York, Los Angeles, London and Manchester.

Szilvi trained in method acting at the Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute and worked as an actress for ten years before founding her own theatre company, Ignition Stage, in 2007. Ignition Stage’s remit is to produce translated drama from Central and Eastern Europe.

Among her recent productions is ‘PRAH’ (written by Hungary’s acclaimed playwright Gyorgy Spiro), translated and directed by Szilvi. The play was staged in Manchester and London, supported by a generous Arts Council grant. It was extremely well received by audiences and reviewers alike.

Szilvi’s PhD was in literary translation, with a particular emphasis on drama translation, both as a translator and a Translation Studies scholar. To date, she has translated three contemporary Hungarian plays; these will be used as part of a publication for Oberon Books. Szilvi also co-translates contemporary Hungarian short stories, together with Dr Ursula Hurley.

Szilvi was awarded her PhD in 2016 for her doctoral thesis entitled ‘Practice-Based Methodologies for Contemporary Drama Translation’.

Mike Heath

Mike Heath is an award-winning playwright, director, tutor, copywriter, and dramaturg. He has a Distinction MA in Playwriting and has written 18 stage plays which have been performed extensively around the North West of England, London, Wales, Cornwall, and Western Australia.

His latest play, The Big Things, was shortlisted for the BBC Alfred Bradley Bursary Award, where it was developed with the drama department and subsequently enjoyed a (rather controversial) 3-week run in London. His work has been published in paperback, and he is the founding tutor of WriteForTheStage.

Mike has been developing his most recent play, boyfriend stroke husband, through Liverpool Everyman's Playwright's Programme. He teaches playwriting at Salford University.

A Quick Guide to Ruining Your Life

Laura Harper's script is both funny and insightful, providing an intimate window into the psyche of a character who avoids social anxiety at all costs. We loved it because it took the "What if" to exceptional lengths and played with the consequences, increasingly narrowing the protagonist's way out of the dilemma and making her pay for her folly in an entertaining, non-judgmental way.

It's a really excellent script and one that we think deserves a life outside of the GMFringe, so we hope that publishing the text will help more people discover this entertaining romp into the unknown depths of Dawn's attic.

We're glad to announce that the publication of A Quick Guide to Ruining Your Life is now available in paperback and on Kindle from Amazon.

Greater Manchester Fringe Festival 2020 is now open for submissions

Application for GMFringe 2020 opened a month early this year and we've already got LOTS of applications for shows. So, if you're considering bringing a piece to the 2020 festival, click here for all the information.

If you're new to producing for fringe theatre, our WriteForTheStage Producing course is due to start in January. We'll help you get ready to make your show a success, including teaching you how to apply for funding with Arts Council England.

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