Afsaneh Gray wins The Brian Way Award

2 May 2018



Afsaneh Gray wins The Brian Way Award

Theatre Centre is pleased to announce Afsaneh Gray has won the Brian Way Award.

Following a national call out for treatments on the theme of ‘Treaty’ to mark the Treaty of Versailles centenary, Gray’s play has been commissioned for Theatre Centre’s flagship national tour of schools and venues in 2019.

Afsaneh Gray said:
"I'm thrilled to win the Brian Way Award. Writing for young people is one of my passions, and I can't wait to work with Theatre Centre on a play that I hope will include secondary school students in some of today’s big debates. At a time of great political change, many young people don’t have a vote, despite being the future of this country – I believe theatre can play a role in at least giving them a voice.”

Named in honour of Theatre Centre’s founder Brian Way, the award welcomed submissions for plays suitable for young people aged 13 and over, with the company keen to create new relationships with writers excited to write for children and young people.

Natalie Wilson, Theatre Centre’s Artistic Director said:
“When we relaunched the Brian Way Award, we hoped to inspire writers to come up with adventurous and unorthodox ideas. Afsaneh’s writing does just that and her treatment for ‘Stranger’ confronts an urgent and universal challenge about how we live with borders in all their forms. Her theatricality and explicit political objective will be not only exciting but vital in galvanising debate and questions about how we want our future to be shaped.

As the government shuts the door to Europe, it’s more important than ever that we tell stories which imagine, navigate and hope for a united future. Touring this work into schools has never been so critical. When we take our productions into schools, that’s when all young people, no matter where they live and no matter their circumstances, get to experience the transformative power of live theatre”.

Most recently, Gray’s play Octopus, a satire about what it means to be British, premiered at the 2016 Edinburgh Fringe before transferring to Theatre503 and then onto a national UK tour.

Gray has been a member of the Orange Tree Writers Collective, the Royal Court Studio Group and the Soho Young Writers’ Group. She is currently a member of the Bush Theatre’s Emerging Writers’ Group and is under commission by the Unicorn Theatre.

Having commissioned over 250 plays for children and young people, Theatre Centre has been a pioneer and sector leader in new writing for young audiences for over 65 years. Theatre Centre previously ran the Brian Way Award for Best New Play for young audiences from 2006 to 2013, with winners including Evan Placey, Douglas Maxwell and Tim Crouch.

ENDS


NOTES TO EDITORS

Contact:
Emily Groves, Marketing Manager, Theatre Centre
emily@theatre-centre.co.uk
020 7729 3066

About Afsaneh Gray
Afsaneh Gray is a playwright, librettist and screenwriter. Her play Octopus, a satire about what it means to be British (“Raises the hairs on the back of your neck…laugh-out-loud funny” The Times), premiered at the 2016 Edinburgh Fringe (subsequently Theatre503/UK tour). Previous work includes and the Crowd (wept), a verbatim opera about the death of Jade Goody (“Both satirical and sad” The Guardian) (Tête à Tête Opera Festival), BATR Zone C (Theatre503), and The Fool On The Hill (Scuola di Teatro Paolo Grassi, Milan). She has been a member of the Orange Tree Writers Collective, the Royal Court Studio Group and the Soho Young Writers’ Group. She is currently a member of the Bush Theatre’s Emerging Writers’ Group and is under commission by the Unicorn Theatre. For TV/film, she is writing for BBC Doctors and developing short film Everweather.
Representation: Giles Smart @ United Agents.

Praise for Octopus by Afsaneh Gray
“Satirical take on Britishness is inspired and very funny with it” – The Stage

 “Raises the hairs on the back of your neck…laugh-out-loud funny” - The Times

Octopus is a riotous rallying cry for anyone who has ever been asked “where are you from anyway?” – The Scotsman

 “Afsaneh Gray’s script is snappy and witty, counterbalancing the tricky subject matter with a hefty measure of daft humour.” – Exeunt Magazine

About Theatre Centre
Theatre Centre creates powerful new writing, commissioning daring and original plays from diverse and bold writers.

We aim to ignite leadership and activism through an extensive programme of theatre and performance created for, with and about young people, giving voice to stories that are resonant with our audiences and valuing narratives that are relevant to their worlds. We tour nationally across the UK to ensure all children and young have the chance to experience the transformative benefits of theatre.

Two of Theatre Centre's commissions won Best Play for Young Audiences at The Writer’s Guild of Great Britain in 2017, with Rise Up by Lisa Evans and What The Thunder Said by Ed Harris being awarded the prize.

Established in 1953, we have worked with many celebrated playwrights including Roy Williams, Noël Grieg, Sabrina Mahfouz, Chino Odimba and Bryony Lavery.

The Brian Way Award Shortlist
Afsaneh Gray was selected as the winner of the Brian Way Award from a final shortlist of 4 other writers. These were:

Ross Dunsmore
Ross’ play Milk premiered at the Traverse Theatre as their flagship production of the Edinburgh Festival 2016, receiving the Tom Erhardt Award.

Daniel Foxsmith
Daniel was shortlisted for the 2017 Bruntwood Prize. He is a member of the Orange Tree Writer’s Collective 2017 and Artistic Director of Snuff Box Theatre.

Gbemisola Ikumelo
Gbemisola is an actress, writer and director and has a written for both stage and screen, including commissions for BBC Comedy and the Barbican Centre.

Lydia Marchant
Lydia is a Hull Truck Theatre Supported Artist. She has participated in writer development schemes including at West Yorkshire Playhouse, National Theatre & Soho Theatre.