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Shakespeare North and BBC stage new writing competition

Children and young people are being given the chance to see their work staged at the new Shakespeare North Playhouse in a competition backed by Dame Judi Dench.

The theatre – currently being built at Prescot - has teamed up with BBC’s The One Show to launch As You Write It, Your Play on Stage.

The competition is being supported by both Dame Judi, a patron of the new Shakespeare North, and Merseyside writer Frank Cottrell Boyce. It is open to any young person aged seven to 16.

To enter, children and young people need to come up with an idea for a play, along with up to four of the main characters and the first few opening lines.

They also need to tell the judges – including Cottrell Boyce and The One Show’s Alex Jones - what having the chance to write a play and have it performed on stage would mean to them.

Entrants don’t need to have any knowledge of Shakespeare to take part and knowledge of Shakespeare will not give an advantage in the judging process.

Dame Judi, who started her professional career playing Ophelia in Hamlet at Liverpool’s Royal Court, said: "A good story makes a good play and sometimes that story is told by a very few people and sometimes it's told by quite a lot.

How the Shakespeare North Playhouse will look from the street

“You have to have a good story that will keep people on their toes and make them want to know what happens next.”

Frank Cottrell Boyce added: “Creativity is really important, not just for children who want to be actors or writers but for everyone.

“As we’ve seen in the pandemic, we really need our politicians, scientists and carers to think creatively. We’ve also seen parents need to be creative, of course.

“By encouraging creativity, we help develop problem-solving skills and inner resilience - the things we need to get us through hard times.”

The interior will be modelled on a Jacobean playhouse

The closing date is midnight on Monday, August 31 and all entries must be submitted by a parent or guardian.

Three finalists from each age category (seven to 10, 11-13 and 14-16) will be chosen and will have the opportunity to work with professionals to complete their scripts.

The best play in each category will then have an excerpt shown on The One Show in early 2021.

When finished, the winning plays will be performed on stage at the new Shakespeare North Playhouse which is due to open its doors in 2022.

Full competition details HERE

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