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Liverpool writer Conway wins new stage and screen play award

A Liverpool writer has been named one of the winners of the first Box of Tricks and Sky Studios Screen/Play Award.

Conway McDermott will receive a £10,250 commission to write a 70-minute stage play and a 20-minute screenplay, supported by experts from both the Manchester-based theatre company and the Sky production company.

Both the stage play and screenplay will be developed from The Priestess, a trans coming of age story which collides with a psychosexual horror and which is filled with what is described as dark humour.

McDermott, a trans non-binary writer who started with queer punk collective The Hungry Bitches and has previously taken part in writing programmes including at the Everyman and Playhouse, said: “All you can hope for as a writer is to connect to others through your ideas, and to find a common truth in stories.

“It's a great feeling to know that my pitch resonated with the panel. Suddenly these new really exciting creative partnerships are rolling into my life, and I’m so excited for what they're going to bring, and desperate to rise to the challenge of it.

“I’m on the edge of my seat with excitement for what we're going to make together.”

The award was launched last year to discover and nurture Northern talent from communities who are currently underrepresented on stage and screen.

The inaugural competition attracted almost 350 entries.

And along with supporting McDermott and the second winner, Sarah Tarbit from Northumberland, Box of Tricks and Sky Studios will also help 15 shortlisted writers who will be offered a series of masterclasses.

Box of Tricks’ joint artistic directors, Hannah Tyrrell-Pinder and Adam Quayle, said: “We set out to uncover exceptional Northern talent and to celebrate creativity at a time of adversity.

“Reading submissions for the Screen/Play Award has highlighted for us the wealth of talent we have here in the North but that far too many of those voices still go unheard and their stories go untold.

“We want to unlock doors and create opportunity and we’re delighted to champion Conway and Sarah as they uncover the stories they want to tell.”

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