Rory Mullarkey awarded Pinter Commission

Published on Wed 26 Mar 2014
Playwright Rory Mullarkey received the 2014 Pinter Commission today (Tuesday 25 March) - an award given annually by Lady Antonia Fraser, Harold Pinter's widow, to support a new commission at the Royal Court Theatre.

Rory Mullarkey awarded Pinter Commission

Playwright Rory Mullarkey received the 2014 Pinter Commission today (Tuesday 25 March) – an award given annually by Lady Antonia Fraser, Harold Pinter’s widow, to support a new commission at the Royal Court Theatre.

The Pinter Commission is now in its third year and is given each year to support a commission of a playwright to write a new play for the Royal Court Theatre. There are no restrictions on the award, which can be given to any playwright from a first time, unpublished writer to one already established.

Rory Mullarkey’s first full length play Cannibals opened at the Royal Exchange Manchester in 2013, becoming the youngest playwright to have his work performed on their main stage.

Rory was the Royal Court’s writer on attachment in 2010 and has been closely associated with the theatre’s international work, translating Russian and Ukrainian plays, including Aleksey Scherbak’s Remembrance Day as part of the 2011 International Season and for a number of stage readings; And I Don’t Care How You’re Doing Anymore by Oksana Savchenko, Twatted by Evgeniy Markovskiy, Uncle Sasha The Butcher by Mariam Agamian and Pagans by Anna Yablonkskaya.

Rory Mullarkey, Playwright said

“Harold Pinter and the Royal Court Theatre have always been gigantic inspirations to me, so I feel really honoured and grateful for the opportunity.”

Vicky Featherstone, Artistic Director of the Royal Court said:
“The Royal Court has had an important relationship with Rory for some years, through his talent as a translator and, most significantly, as a playwright himself taking part in our writing groups.

“His translation work in the international department has enabled UK audiences to watch and enjoy a wide of variety of new plays from Eastern Europe, retaining their original spirit and integrity, from Aleksey Scherbak’s Remembrance Day about modern day politics in Latvia to a wide variety of readings from writers in Russia , Ukraine, and Belarus.

“I’m enormously excited to offer Rory his first commission for the Royal Court as a playwright in his own right, supported very generously by Harold’s widow Antonia Fraser. He is a remarkable writer – an original fresh voice, with a sharp political edge and a thread of his Eastern European travels running through. Although this commission can be awarded to any playwright with no specific criteria, Harold was a staunch supporter of the Royal Court’s international work and alongside his unwavering commitment to politics, it seems fitting to present Rory with the Pinter Commission. I look forward to seeing what he will make.”

Lady Antonia Fraser said:
“I believe that the Pinter Commission is exactly what Harold would have wanted. Because he had experienced the devastating rejection of his early work, he knew the true value of encouragement. New writing was always intensely important to Harold and Rory Mullarkey is a welcome recipient of the 2014 Award.”


For more information, please contact Anna Evans on 020 7565 5063 [email protected]

Notes to Editors:

Harold Pinter at the Royal Court Theatre

Harold Pinter had a long association with the Royal Court Theatre, both as a writer, and director, but also as an actor, starting his career there as an understudy in 1958 on two NF Simpson plays – A Resounding Tinkle and The Hole. In 1960, his first play The Room transferred to the Royal Court in a double bill with The Dumb Waiter. His other productions at the Royal Court included Mountain Language, directed by Katie Mitchell, The New World Order, which he wrote and directed as well as directing David Mamet’s play Oleanna in 1993. His play Ashes to Ashes, which he also directed, was the first play to open the Theatre Upstairs at the Ambassadors Theatre in the West End when the Royal Court Theatre closed for refurbishment in 1996. In 2005, as part of the 50th anniversary programme, Pinter returned to the stage as an actor, performing Beckett’s play Krapp’s Last Tape, directed by Ian Rickson, then Artistic Director of the Royal Court.

Alongside his work on stage, Pinter maintained a close relationship with the Royal Court, throughout his career, supporting and encouraging the new writers coming up, as well as working with writers from all over the world at the Royal Court’s international residency each year.