Liverpool Hope Playwriting Prize 2022 winner revealed


A comedy about a politician’s extreme bid to cling on to power has won this year’s Liverpool Hope Playwriting Prize.

Cardiff-based Lawrence Quilty takes the £10,000 first prize for his play Peter Byrne is Standing Here.

Long-standing left wing councillor Peter Byrne has been ousted in a local by-election. The time has come for him to leave the office and his only option is to step down gracefully. Well, the other option is barricade himself into the office armed with a pistol and start a revolution.

The play, chosen through an anonymous submission process by a panel of judges, will now be considered for production by Liverpool’s Royal Court which runs the prestigious competition - the second largest playwriting prize in the country - in conjunction with Liverpool Hope University.

Quilty, originally from Oxford but who works as a theatre administrator in Cardiff, said: “I’ve written a couple of serious historical plays before this but nothing that has ever been produced.

“I’d not attempted comedy before because I don’t think that I’m funny but after this I have to accept that there is a possibility that I might be!

“I’m so grateful to receive a prize of this significance with backing from a major producing house and a university. To be here at a proper event full of people showing incredible support for new writing is amazing. I feel very lucky to be a part of it.”

Peter Byrne Is Standing Here was chosen from a shortlist which also included:

Stuart Purcell – And You Really Want to Show It; Alex MacKeith – Behaviour Management; Hilary Spires – Feeding Frenzy; Linda Saavedra – Foo Foo Follies; Matt Butler – How to Get Away With Merger; Joe Graham – South for the Winter; Steve Lawson – The Gandhi of Garston, and Stuart Fortey – Wodehouse Wheeze.

Royal Court executive producer and competition judge, Kevin Fearon, commented, “The winning play was full of sharp dialogue with characters that jumped off the page. It’s a razor -sharp political satire and it takes you to places that you don’t expect to go. After much deliberation, all the judges agreed that it was a worthy winner.”

Liverpool Hope University's Vice-Chancellor Professor Gerald Pillay added: "The city of Liverpool has long been a hotbed of the creative and performing arts, and the Hope Playwriting Prize really taps into those collective talents.

“The university is proud to collaborate with Liverpool’s Royal Court Theatre on this award, and it’s extremely exciting to see the competition now reach its final stage.

“I know the judging panel really had its work cut out to select just one winner.

“I’m also confident the Hope Playwriting Prize will inspire our own students to pursue their creative ambitions, as we help to usher-in the next generation of theatrical artists.”