Manchester’s Hope Mill Theatre has launched its first playwriting competition, Through the Mill.
The competition, open to UK based writers aged 16 and over, has a cash prize of £5,000 for the winning script. The prize also includes mentorship with writer, Jonathan Harvey leading to the play being produced at Hope Mill Theatre.
“I am thrilled to be involved in Through The Mill,” said Harvey. “I got my first break in competitions at Liverpool Playhouse and the Royal Court in London. Getting my plays produced via these competitions was the best education ever, and the prize money helped get me through Uni!
“I have long been a fan of Hope Mill Theatre. This is such a good opportunity, and I can’t wait to see what the competition brings, and to work with the finalists”.
Harvey, whose work includes sitcom Gimme, Gimme, Gimme is also doing an online ‘Evening With’ event to raise money for the theatre, which is currently closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“I am very flattered the theatre want to do ‘An Evening With’ with me. And delighted to be able to help raise some much needed money in a time of such huge crisis for theatres,” he said. “We’ve assembled a top notch group of actors to read from my plays and there’ll be various people popping up who I’ve worked with asking me questions. And there’ll be some singing. It’ll be a bit like An Audience with Diana Ross. Without Diana Ross. And with me.”
An Evening With Jonathan Harvey is being hosted by Hope Mill Patron, Denise Welch. The online evening will feature scenes from Harvey’s plays including Beautiful Thing, Hushabye Mountain and The Cherry Blossom Tree as well as songs from musicals that Harvey has written the book for including Dusty: The Dusty Springfield Musical and the Pet Shop Boys musical Musik.
Katherine Kingsley, Frances Barber and Danny Lee Wynter are among the cast performing on the night. Other guests include Oscar winning actress Olivia Colman, Meera Syal, Layton Williams and Catherine Tyldesley, who have all worked alongside Harvey during their careers.
Host Denise Welch said: “I have long admired Jonathan’s work and rank him as one of the country’s top writers. It was also fascinating to hear more about his craft as well as learn more about some of his lesser known works.
“The line-up of talent that will join us throughout the evening is credit to his incredibly versatile career.
“I am also so proud to support Hope Mill Theatre, which I am a Patron of, and all of the money raised will go towards their future.”