Royal Court Theatre Announces Dalia Taha as the Recipient of the Elyse Dodgson Commission for the Middle East

Published on Fri 8 Nov 2019

The Royal Court Theatre has announced Dalia Taha as the recipient of the Elyse Dodgson Commission for the Middle East.

This Commission has been set up in memory of the extraordinary and pioneering work Dodgson undertook in her 22 years as International Director at the Royal Court, from founding the International Writers Programme to putting international writers at the heart of the Royal Court’s work.

This commission is a new award, to be given biennially to support an international playwright to write a new play. The recipient of the commission will always be based outside the UK, and each award will be given to a playwright from a different region around the world.

This first iteration of the commission focuses on the Royal Court’s longstanding work in the Middle East and supports one of its leading playwrights in producing a new play for the Royal Court.

Palestinian playwright Dalia Taha had her first play Fireworks (Al’ab Nariya) produced at the Royal Court in 2015. Prior to that she had worked with Dodgson and the Royal Court through writers workshops in Palestine and at the theatre’s International Residency in 2013.

Commenting on receiving the inaugural commission playwright Dalia Taha said;

“I’m honoured and humbled to receive this commission. Elyse’s support and commitment to international playwrights was unwavering and receiving this commission named after her I feel great pride in continuing to celebrate her legacy. Elyse loved theatre and believed in its power and this is something that I will always carry with me.” 

As with all of the Royal Court’s international work, the commission will also provide support for the translation, development and workshopping of the play. Allowing Taha to spend time in residence at the Royal Court to further develop the play that results from this commission.

Vicky Featherstone, Artistic Director at the Royal Court Theatre said;

“The Royal Court is deeply committed to continuing Elyse’s work and to celebrating her legacy. There was no region in the world more significant to Elyse than the Middle East, where she had been supporting writers and artists tirelessly for over twenty years. So it feels absolutely fitting to be able to award the first incarnation of this commission to an artist from that region, thanks to the extraordinary generosity of two of our supporters and their friends. We chose Dalia as the first recipient because she’s simply one of the most exciting playwrights whose work we’ve programmed here over the last few years. And I can’t wait to see what she will write next.”

The Elyse Dodgson Commission for the Middle East has been made possible through the generosity of an anonymous couple and the philanthropic support of their friends.

Read the full press release here.