Soho Theatre has announced the six plays shortlisted for the 40th anniversary of Soho Theatre’s Character 7 sponsored Verity Bargate Award:
- A Young Man Comes by Alan Mahon
- Boys on the Verge of Tears by Sam Grabiner
- Everything I’m Thinking, All of the Time by Sam Ward
- Porn Play by Sophie Chetin-Leuner
- Samuel Takes a Break in Male Dungeon N°5 After a Long but Generally Successful Day of Tours by Rhianna Ilube
- Working Men by Benjamin Kuffuor
This year’s award is judged by a panel of industry experts including past Soho playwrights Theresa Ikoko (Girls, 2015, Soho Theatre), James Graham (Tory Boyz, 2008, and Monster Raving Loony, 2016, Soho Theatre) and Morgan Lloyd Malcolm (Mum, 2021, Soho Theatre), as well as April De Angelis (Jumpy, Royal Court and West End). The award is sponsored by Character 7 and chaired by film and television producer, Character 7’s Stephen Garrett. The Award honours Verity Bargate, Soho’s co-founder who passionately championed new writing during her time at the small but hugely influential fringe theatre company, Soho Poly.
Gillian Greer, Soho Theatre’s Literary Manager, said: ‘These six plays represent some of the most exciting new writing being developed in the UK and Ireland today. We’re delighted by the range of stories that the Award has identified this year – from raucous comedy to high octane thriller and form bending innovation, each and every one of these plays deserves to be produced and celebrated. We couldn’t be prouder to shortlist them for the Verity Bargate Award 2022’
Character 7’s Executive Chairman and Verity Bargate Award Judging Panel Chair Stephen Garrett said: ‘There has never been a more urgent time to make sure that new, young, vibrant voices are heard. The Verity Bargate Award provides the most fabulous platform to enable emerging talent to stand out from the cacophony. This is a thrilling shortlist, exceptional writers all. Character 7 could not be prouder to be a part of this.’
The shortlisted plays for the Verity Bargate Award 2022 are:
A YOUNG MAN COMES – Alan Mahon
Mary is living out her retirement alone, at peace with the fact that she has never had sex. But when her niece arrives late one night with a young man in need of a place to stay, Mary gets drawn into an unlikely love triangle.
A Young Man Comes is a heartwarming dark comedy about sex, love and living life to the full.
BOYS ON THE VERGE OF TEARS – Sam Grabiner
In a men’s public toilet, characters drift in and out going about their business. A father teaches his son how to use a toilet, kids bunk off school, fights breakout after nights of drinking. As the play unfolds a story about shame, violence and vulnerability begins to emerge.
A play about all-male spaces, men’s bodies, and what it means to spend your life performing for other people.
EVERYTHING I’M THINKING, ALL OF THE TIME – Sam Ward
Carol learns that her company is being bought by a larger corporation that want to background check her. She decides to delete her social media. Her partner and boss react strangely, pushing Carol further. She meets a stranger called Frankie who begins to plant paranoid thoughts into her head. Carol’s paranoia increases. She becomes convinced both her boss and her partner are part of it. When the stranger offers her a chance to leave she takes it, only to discover that the stranger has been obsessed with her for years. Carol’s only option, in the end, is to disappear.
PORN PLAY – Sophia Chetin-Leuner
Josie struggles to complete her PhD while struggling with an increasingly debilitating porn addiction. When she has no choice but to move back home with her father, Josie is forced to confront the roots of her addiction, and what she may need to do in order to stay afloat.
SAMUEL TAKES A BREAK IN MALE DUNGEON NO.5 AFTER A LONG BUT GENERALLY SUCCESSFUL DAY OF TOURS – Rhianna Ilube
Everyday Samuel wakes up and does his job. He is the Senior Tour Guide of a Prominent Slave Castle in Ghana. He enjoys his job, yes. 10 tours a day, 6 days a week. He has a tour script, of course, but occasionally he experiments with it.
This year is different. It’s the Year of Return, meaning that millions of diaspora tourists are visiting Ghana to mark 400 years since the first enslaved Africans arrived in the USA. Many of them are here for the first time. They are all booking a slot on his tour.
WORKING MEN – Benjamin Kuffuor
A play about social housing and the inequities of modern living. The piece starts on a construction site where a dispute breaks out between the Council and the Contractor regarding the cost of major maintenance repairs on an old estate. The second half is about the shifting of blame and the lack of responsibility taken after an incident occurs on the estate. The story is about the people in the middle; not the ones who impose the decisions or the ones who are affected by them. It’s about Working Men who forced to think in numbers over lives.
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ABOUT CHARACTER 7
Character 7 is a production company founded by Stephen Garrett for high-end television and film projects. It is based in Los Angeles and London.
Prior to Character 7, Garrett was Founder and Executive Chairman of Kudos, the UK’s leading independent producer of TV drama. With his business partner Jane Featherstone, Kudos’ TV drama arm galvanized British television with the popular, acclaimed shows BAFTA- winning “Spooks” (based on Garrett’s original idea), “Hustle,” “Life on Mars,” “The Hour” and ITV’s hit “Broadchurch.” Garrett and Featherstone sold Kudos to Elisabeth Murdoch’s Shine Group in 2006, and continued to be involved with the company until 2014. characterseven.com | @characterseven
ABOUT THE VERITY BARGATE AWARD 2022 JUDGES
APRIL DE ANGELIS
April De Angelis is an acclaimed playwright who has worked in stage, radio and television. Such work includes: My Brilliant Friend, a two part dramatization of Elena Ferrantes’ epic family saga (Rose Theatre Kingston and National Theatre, London 2019/20); The Village (Theatre Royal Stratford East, 2018); Frankenstein (Royal Exchange Manchester 2018, Jumpy ( starring Tamsin Greig, Royal Court 2011 & Duke of York’s Theatre, West End 2012, Melbourne and Sydney 2015); an adaptation of Wuthering Heights (Birmingham Rep, 2008); WILD EAST (Royal Court 2006); A Laughing Matter (Out of Joint at National Theatre, 2001); A Warwickshire Testimony (RSC, 1999); The Positive Hour (Out of Joint at Hampstead Theatre, 1997); Playhouse Creatures (Sphinx Theatre Company at the Haymarket Theatre 1993 and revived at the Old Vic Theatre, 1997 and again at Chichester Festival Theatre in 2013); The Life And Times Of Fanny Hill (The Old Fire Station Oxford, 1991; revived at the Bristol Old Vic, 2015).
Other work includes the opera libretti: Flight (Glyndebourne Opera, 1997) and the Silent Twins (Almeida, 2007). Television includes Aristophanes (Channel 4/1995) and she has written extensively for radio including an acclaimed adaptation of Peyton Place (BBC Radio, 2002).
James is a playwright and screenwriter whose recent work includes Quiz, on stage at Chichester and the West End before being adapted for ITV1 last spring; Brexit: The Uncivil War for Channel 4 (2019); The Culture as part of Hull’s City of Culture; Ink at the Almeida Theatre, West End and on Broadway (2017), nominated for Best New Play at the Oliviers and the Tony Awards. Labour of Love (West End, 2017) won the Olivier Award for Best New Comedy; The Vote at the Donmar Warehouse, live streamed onto More4 on election night 2015, and This House which premiered at the National Theatre in 2012, before a sell-out run in the Olivier in 2013, a transfer to the West End in 2016 and a nationwide wide tour in 2018. He remains a Playwright in Residence at the Finborough Theatre were his first professional play was staged in 2005.
Theresa Ikoko has had a variety of jobs in prison education, secure settings and social inclusion/community engagement projects. She is passionate about participation, young people and community efficacy.
Theresa’s debut feature film Rocks premiered at TIFF to wonderful reviews and picked up nominations and wins at the 2021 BIFAs and BAFTAs. She is the winner of the George Devine Award and Alfred Fagon Award for her debut play Girls (Soho Theatre / Talawa / Hightide) – which was also a Verity Bargate Award Finalist. Theresa is currently developing Grime Kids to air on BBC 3 in 2022, and Wahala for BBC1; as well as various film, tv and theatre projects.
MORGAN LLOYD MALCOLM
Morgan was commissioned by The Globe to write Emilia which became a sell out in summer 2018 and transferred to the West End at the Vaudeville theatre in 2019. It won three Olivier Awards in 2021 including Best Comedy or Entertainment. It has been optioned as a film and she is in development on this currently.
Previous theatre includes Belongings and The Wasp. Mum for Francesca Moody Productions and Typical Girls for Clean Break produced in 2021 after being cancelled during the pandemic. Current theatre commissions with Headlong, Lyric Hammersmith, and Clean Break. For Television she is working with Merman, Gaumont and Moonage. She is also adapting her play The Wasp into a screenplay for Paradise City Films.