(Lyn Gardner’s article appeared in the Guardian, 21/.)
"The Bruntwood prize is a clarion call to all playwrights throughout the country," declared playwright Simon Stephens in Manchester last night at the launch of the 2011 Bruntwood competition and the premiere of Vivienne Franzmann's Mogadishu, one of the winners of the competition, open to all UK and Irish-based writers to write on any subject they choose. Stephens continued: "This year there is a real urgency to it. It's the first time the award has been given under this new government and conditions of work for playwrights have changed. No government in my memory has taken such a sudden, clinical, brutish attitude towards arts funding. I can't remember any government having such an attitude towards financial restrictions across the economy. I am fascinated to see the way playwrights throughout the country will use image and idea, irony, language, content and form to make sense of and dramatise this changed landscape."