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Football inspired play up for national award

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Screenwriting lecturer Gerry Linford who is on the Liverpool Hope Playwriting Prize shortlist.

UCLan screenwriting lecturer shortlisted for playwriting prize

A University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) screenwriting academic’s first stage play has been shortlisted for a prestigious national literary award.

Lecturer Gerry Linford in one of six writers who are vying for the £10,000 Liverpool Hope Playwriting Prize this year.

Gerry, from Ellesmere Port, has been chosen for A Prayer to Saint Cajetan. His storyline features an eccentric priest who teams up with an unemployed man to place a series of outlandish bets on the 1978 football World Cup in Argentina. It is his first stage play and is inspired by events from his childhood.

The writer said: “I'm delighted to be in the final six of this prestigious writing award and hopefully the play will go on to be a success regardless of whether it wins or not- although obviously I'd love it to!”

Gerry’s previous writing history has seen him pen a number of films including Buddha Boy, for BBC Wales, and What’s The Story, which he also acted in alongside Darren Day.

The playwrights were selected from more than 140 entries from across the country. The competition searches for the next big comedy play. 

The standard was very high this year and the final judging session was both difficult and enjoyable because of that. We’re looking forward to meeting the winner of this year’s prize so we can work together to bring the play to the stage.

As well as being presented with £10,000, the winner will have their play considered for production by Liverpool’s Royal Court, while up to two highly commended writers will win £1,500 each.

Judges for this year’s contest include actor and comedian Les Dennis, writer Frank Cottrell Boyce, playwrights Amanda Whittington and Paul Allen, and comedian and writer Kate Mulgrew, who won the inaugural prize in 2015.

Kevin Fearon, Royal Court executive producer, said: “The standard was very high this year and the final judging session was both difficult and enjoyable because of that. We’re looking forward to meeting the winner of this year’s prize so we can work together to bring the play to the stage.”

The other shortlisted plays are: Mummy’s Boy by Stewart McDonald; The Last Act of Love of J B Moliere by Simon Bradbury; The Elementary Occult by Christopher Jordan; Paulo & Me by Ian Nightingale; and Absoluted by Neil Walden.

The winner of the 2017 competition will be announced on 27 March at the Royal Court.

Rachel Atkinson | 10 February 2017