Royal Court Theatre celebrates 20 years of Jerwood New Playwrights

Published on Mon 15 Sep 2014
The Royal Court Theatre celebrates 20 years of Jerwood New Playwrights this week (Monday 15 September) - a programme which supports new writers to produce plays in full productions on both its stages


The Royal Court Theatre celebrates 20 years of Jerwood New Playwrights this week (Monday 15 September) – a programme which supports new writers to produce plays in full productions on both its stages.

The Jerwood New Playwrights programme, funded by Jerwood Charitable Foundation, helps the Royal Court discover and support the next generation of world class playwrights. Starting with Joe Penhall’s play Some Voices in 1994, the programme has supported 60 writers and 77 plays in this time, producing a series of new plays each year by emerging writers, all of whom were in the first 10 years of their careers.

The Royal Court identifies playwrights with potential whose careers would benefit from the challenge and profile of being fully produced on stage. Previous Jerwood New Playwrights have included Sarah Kane (Blasted), Michael Wynne (The Knocky), Mark Ravenhill (Shopping and Fucking), Jez Butterworth (Mojo), Ayub Khan Din (East is East), Martin McDonagh (The Beauty Queen of Leenane), Conor McPherson (The Weir), Roy Williams (Clubland), Richard Bean (Toast), Simon Stephens (Herons), Rona Munro (Iron), Polly Stenham (That Face), Bola Agbaje (Gone Too Far!), Alexi Kaye Campbell (The Pride), Anya Reiss (Spur of the Moment), Nick Payne (Constellations) and many others.

Vicky Featherstone, Artistic Director of the Royal Court Theatre said:

“The Royal Court exists to create the environment for writers to be discovered, to be inspired and encouraged and to take risks. In turn we expect that they ask the questions of the world that we live in and show us new ways of thinking and being. This has been the project since the Royal Court began in 1956 and continues to be so.

“At the Royal Court, we offer an array of developmental opportunities, such as writers groups, residencies, readings and workshops, but there is no greater learning opportunity for a playwright than having their play actually produced on stage. Jerwood fundamentally understand this, and for 20 years has put its faith in the Royal Court’s ability to discover talent and nurture new voices. The longevity of this trust and investment is totally un-paralleled, which is why this partnership has been so vital and so fruitful. All the incredible playwrights who have come through this programme and become some of today’s most important influencers on contemporary writing are testament to this.”

Shonagh Manson, Director of Jerwood Charitable Foundation said:

“We are immensely proud to mark two decades of support for powerful new writing through Jerwood New Playwrights. The Royal Court continues to harness its expertise, relationships and reach in pursuit of supporting new voices and challenging contemporary perspectives. Writers are at the heart of Jerwood New Playwrights, but we would also like to recognise and thank the wider creative teams around each production, who both benefit from and contribute to meeting the demands of bringing each piece to life. In a culture in which fast-paced change and innovation abound, it is satisfying to be involved in a programme of enduring quality which benefits greatly from the care of the talented team at the Royal Court.”


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

Notes to Editors:

The writers and their productions supported by Jerwood New Playwrights from 1994-2014 are:

Joe Penhall (SOME VOICES), Nick Grosso (PEACHES, REAL CLASSY AFFAIR), Judy Upton (ASHES AND SAND), Sarah Kane (BLASTED, CLEANSED, 4.48 PSYCHOSIS), Michael Wynne (THE KNOCKY, THE PEOPLE ARE FRIENDLY), Judith Johnson (UGANDA), Sebastian Barry THE STEWARD OF CHRISTENDOM), Jez Butterworth (MOJO), Mark Ravenhill (SHOPPING AND FUCKING), Ayub Khan Din (EAST IS EAST, NOTES ON FALLING LEAVES), Martin McDonagh (THE BEAUTY QUEEN OF LEENANE), Jess Walters (COCKROACH, WHO?), Tamantha Hammerschlag (BACKPAY), Conor McPherson (THE WEIR), Meredith Oakes (FAITH), Rebecca Prichard (FAIR GAME), Roy Williams (LIFT OFF, CLUBLAND, FALLOUT), Richard Bean (TOAST, UNDER THE WHALEBACK), Gary Mitchell (TRUST, THE FORCE OF CHANGE), Mick Mahoney (SACRED HEART, FOOD CHAIN), Marina Carr (ON RAFTERY’S HILL), David Eldridge (UNDER THE BLUE SKY, INCOMPLETE AND RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESS), David Harrower (PRESENCE), Simon Stephens (HERONS, COUNTRY MUSIC, MOTORTOWN), Leo Butler (REDUNDANT, LUCKY DOG), Enda Walsh (BEDBOUND), David Greig (OUTLYING ISLANDS), Zinnie Harris (NIGHTINGALE AND CHASE), Grae Cleugh (FUCKING GAMES), Rona Munro (IRON), Ché Walker (FLESHWOUND), Laura Wade (BREATHING CORPSES, CATCH), debbie tucker green (STONING MARY), Gregory Burke (ON TOUR), Stella Feehily (O GO MY MAN, CATCH), Simon Faquhar (RAINBOW KISS), April De Angelis (CATCH), Tanika Gupta (CATCH), Chloe Moss (CATCH), Polly Stenham (THAT FACE, TUSK TUSK), Mike Bartlett (MY CHILD), Fiona Evans (SCARBOROUGH), Levi David Addai (OXFORD STREET), Bola Agbaje (GONE TOO FAR!, OFF THE ENDZ), Alexi Kaye Campbell (THE PRIDE), Alia Bano (SHADES), Tim Crouch (THE AUTHOR), DC Moore (THE EMPIRE), Anya Reiss (SPUR OF THE MOMENT, THE ACID TEST), Penelope Skinner (THE VILLAGE BIKE), Rachel De-lahay (THE WESTBRIDGE, ROUTES), Nick Payne (CONSTELLATIONS), Vivienne Franzmann (THE WITNESS, PESTS), E.V. Crowe (HERO), Anders Lustgarten (IF YOU DON’T LET US DREAM, WE WON’T LET YOU SLEEP), Suhayla El-Bushra (PIGEONS), Clare Lizzimore (MINT), Alistair McDowall (TALK SHOW), Rory Mullarkey (THE WOLF FROM THE DOOR) and Molly Davies (GOD BLESS THE CHILD).

In 2014 Jerwood New Playwrights, the longstanding partnership between Jerwood Charitable Foundation and the Royal Court Theatre is 20 years old. Each year, Jerwood New Playwrights supports the production of three new works by emerging writers, all of whom are in the first 10 years of their career. The Royal Court carefully identifies playwrights whose careers would benefit from the challenge and profile of being fully produced either in the Jerwood Downstairs or Jerwood Upstairs Theatres at the Royal Court.

Jerwood Charitable Foundation is dedicated to imaginative and responsible revenue funding of the arts, supporting emerging artists to develop and grow at important stages in their careers. The aim of its funding is to allow artists and arts organisations to thrive; to continue to develop their skills, imagination and creativity with integrity. It works with artists across art forms, from dance and theatre to literature, music and the visual arts. For more information visit

Jerwood New Playwrights was founded in 1994 by the Jerwood Foundation who supported the partnership until Jerwood Charitable Foundation became the principle benefactor in 1999.

The Jerwood Foundation was established in 1977 by its Chairman, Alan Grieve, for John Jerwood, an international businessman and philanthropist. Since John Jerwood’s death in 1991, Alan Grieve has created and continues to shape the Jerwood vision; building the Jerwood name as a
major contributor to the vibrancy and creativity of the arts in the UK.

The Jerwood Foundation has made strategic capital grants within the performing and visual arts. These include the major grant of £3m to complete the rebuilding of the theatre and establishment of the Jerwood Theatre Downstairs and the Jerwood Theatre Upstairs. These grants have reflected its purposeful, imaginative and wide-ranging support for the arts and education. The Jerwood Collection of 20th and 21st century British art continues to grow and is being widely enjoyed within its permanent home at the Jerwood Gallery in Hastings.