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News: Emilie Robson and Connor Dorrian win the inaugural north east playwriting award at Live Theatre


Emilie Robson and Connor Dorrian win the inaugural north east playwriting award at Live Theatre


Winners of Live Theatre’s inaugural North East Playwriting Award were announced at a ceremony last Thursday night at Live Theatre. Newcastle writer Emilie Robson won the main prize for her play Dogs On The Metro with Sunderland writer Connor Dorrian winning the Under 26 Award for his play A Moving Still. Both will receive a commission fee for their plays with the intention of a full staging at Live Theatre.  


L-R Emilie Robson, Connor Dorrian & Pauline Trotry
at North East Playwriting Award

Laurie Ward also received a Research Award supported by Northumbria University for her play Real Mad World about the joys, heartbreaks and absurdities of trans life.  


Pauline Trotry’s Shards was named runner up for the main award with Wambui Hardcastle’s Up And Down The Tap Line named as runner up for the Under 26 award.  


The main award winning play, Dogs On The Metro, follows plucky teenagers Jen and Dean, over months, years and even alternate realities, as they travel back and forth on the Tyne and Wear Metro line, as what seems to begin as a coming of age tale slowly twists into a painful meditation on consent, toxic masculinity and conflicting ‘truths’ as they unpack their differing versions of the same, pivotal event that changes their lives forever.  
One of the play’s judges was playwright Shelagh Stephenson who said of it: “Half down page one I knew we’d found a new voice. Sharp, funny, true and precise. I’m thrilled it has won”. 


The winning writer Emilie Robson said: “I’m absolutely delighted to have won the Live Theatre North East Playwriting Award. I feel very privileged to be from the North East and to reflect the region in my work. I’m a huge admirer of Live Theatre and its commitment to great storytelling (I genuinely wrote Dogs On The Metro with them in mind!) and so any nod of approval from them is truly humbling.”  

  The Under 26 winning play A Moving Still is a North East coming of age story. With troubled young lad ‘Lucas’, trapped in a life of drug dealing at its centre. After his brother’s arrest he starts to explore his youth as newly presented options open up. One of the award judges Robson Green, himself a former Live Youth Theatre member, presented the Under 26 Award. He said that the play offered “a message of resilience, the potential for change, a story about the importance of supporting one another in the face of adversity.” 


The 22-year old winner Connor Dorrian said: “I can’t believe I won! I’m so thankful to Live Theatre for this opportunity and those who read my play and chose it to win. This will help me so much and project my career to a height I didn’t know was possible at this stage. It’s amazing we have the playwright awards to champion new writing in the region. Especially for early career artists such as myself. My play ‘A Moving Still’ means so much to me as a working class creative and I can’t wait to share it!” 


The ceremony was attended by many special guests including David Byrne, the new Artistic Director of the Royal Court, who gave the ceremony’s opening address about the importance of having a thriving new writing scene. This first Award is supported by the Catherine Cookson Charitable Trust and aims to be a biannual event for the region. 


Photos: Mark Savage



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