Tony Craze was winner of one of the first Verity Bargate Awards who went on to work with Soho Theatre Company as resident writer and then Artistic Director.


Our new writing award is open to all Writers’ Lab course participants.

Through awards, schemes and programmes, Soho Theatre have been championing new writing and launching the careers of some of Britain’s most established writers for nigh on 50 years.

Winner of the Tony Craze Award 2018 is Sophie Swithinbank with her play Bacon. Exploring the relationship between sexuality, opportunity and class through the eyes of two men over 15 years, Sophie wrote Bacon because ‘it is based on real events that led me to question where and how teenage boys learn about masculinity and sexuality and what it means.’

Also shortlisted this year are: Special Commendation goes to Every Little by Margaret Perry, a dark love story ‘inspired by my experience of OCD’; Scrap by Kit Withington, a play set in and around a brook in Manchester following four teenagers scrambling to find their place in employment, love and friendships; Essex Girl by Maria Ferguson, a one-woman monologue play inspired by ‘the dictionary definition of the term ‘Essex Girl’’; and Father’s Son by James Morton, a play set in Stoke-on-Trent written ‘to show the dangers of toxic masculinity and how actions inside a family have lasting effects on future generations.’ A special industry presentation and performance of extracts from the five plays took place in January 2019, directed by Associate Director Charlotte Bennett. As the Award winner, Bacon will also receive workshop development and a reading.

You can see our shortlists’ writing spaces below.

Previous Tony Craze Award winners include: Patrick Russell • Adam Narat • Phoebe Éclair-Powell • Iskandar Sharazuddin • Charlotte Josephine

Main Image: Fury by Phoebe Eclair-Powell, winner of 2015’s Tony Craze Award.  Photo: The Other Richard

‘Tony’s thinking and vision are strongly present in the DNA of our company.’
Mark Godfrey, Executive Director

Tony Craze Award Winner 2018 – Bacon by Sophie Swithinbank
A play about masculinity, power and loneliness. Seen through the eyes of two men, starting from their days at school and moving through to adulthood, Sophie ‘wrote Bacon because it is based on real events that led me to question where and how teenage boys learn about masculinity’. Sophie first engaged with Soho Theatre through a playwriting taster workshop for LGBTQ+ writers in July 2017. With dramaturgy by Lakesha Arie-Angelo, Sophie describes Bacon as ‘hot, cold, salty’ and her time on Soho Theatre’s Writers’ Lab as ‘best time ever’.


Tony Craze Special Commendation 2018 – Every Little by Margaret Perry
When a tragic event brings two strangers together, they fall in love and try to build a tiny world of their own. Inspired by Margaret’s experience of OCD, Every Little is a dark love story. Margaret is a playwright from Cork living in London whose debut play Porcelin was produced by the Abbey Theatre in February 2018, is published by Samuel French, and has been adapted for BBC Radio 4. Margaret is under commission to The Yard and The Bush. With dramaturgy by Hannah Haeur-King, Margaret describes Every Little as ‘Love, Rage, Tesco’ and her time on Soho Theatre’s Writers’ Lab as ‘inspiring, galvanising, wonderful’.


Tony Craze Shortlist 2018

Scrap by Kit Withington
Set in and around a brook in Manchester, Scrap follows four teenagers entering adulthood and scrambling to find their place in employment, love and friendships. Originally from Manchester, Kit was inspired by a desire to share a bit of the world that she knows. She started writing at 17 and ended up on the Royal Exchange’s young writers’ programme where she wrote her first short play. She has written several short plays as well as being commissioned to write for several community theatre productions. With dramaturgy by Holly De Angelis, Kit describes Scrap as ‘intimate, heartfelt, funny’ and her time on Soho Theatre’s Writers’ Lab as ‘unexpected, emboldening, invaluable’.


Essex Girl by Maria Ferguson
Originally inspired by the dictionary definition of the term ‘Essex Girl’, the one-woman monologue play explores the stereotype and asks if you can ever transcend the identity associated with the place you are born and raised. Maria is a writer-performer from Essex who has been a resident artist for both Roundhouse and Battersea Arts Centre. Her debut show Fat Girls Don’t Dance sold out across the country before winning the Saboteur Award for Best Spoken World Show in 2017. With dramaturgy by Holly De Angelis, Maria describes Essex Girl as ‘Working class theatre’ and her time on Soho Theatre’s Writers’ Lab as ‘a push forward’.


Father’s Son by James Morton
Set in Stoke-On-Trent and written in local dialect, Father’s Son follows three generations of fathers and sons within the same family, questioning how toxic masculinity, trauma and mental illness can be passed through family relationships and how we inherit patterns of living. At 19, James is the youngest writer to ever make one of Soho Theatre’s playwriting shortlists. James is currently a Young Agitator at Royal Court, having taken part in the inaugural Sour Lemons programme in 2017. With dramaturgy by Holly De Angelis, James describes Father’s Son as ‘heartbreaking, cautionary, relevant’ and his time on Soho Theatre’s Writers’ Lab as ‘inspiring, supportive, inclusive’.

Tony Craze Shortlist 2017
Antlers by Patrick Russell – winner 2017
Wind Bit Bitter, Bit Bit Bit Her by Sami Ibrahim
The Hoes by Ifeyinwa Frederick – produced by Hampstead Theatre in 2018
The Funeral Director by Iman Qureshi – produced by Papatango at Southwark Playhouse in 2018
soft animals by Holly Robinson – produced by Soho Theatre in 2019

Previous winners include: 
Birthright by Adam Narat (2016)
Fury by Phoebe Eclair-Powell (2015) – produced by Soho Theatre in 2016
A Life of Cardboard by Iskandar Sharazuddin (2014)
In Your Image by Gemma Copping (2013)
Bitch Boxer by Charlotte Josephine (2012) – produced by Soho Theatre in 2012

Formerly Soho Young Writers’ Award, the Award was renamed in 2016 in honour of Tony Craze. As much as he was a talented playwright, Tony Craze was generous in enabling and nurturing the careers of others. Tony’s work during his time with us laid the foundations for much of the extensive talent development programmes that we run with writers and artists still today. He was also a strong and early advocate for presenting diverse voices in new writing.

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