Published: Thu 17 Nov 22

Virtual reality grief-gaming play wins our emerging playwriting prize

From a shortlist of plays featuring tales of grief, loss, the Parsi diaspora, metaphorical ghosts, hooliganism, the Black British dating experience, gentrification in London, and queerness, it was a story about virtual reality grief-gaming, All My Friends Are Dead by Somebody Jones, that won Soho Theatre’s emerging playwriting prize Tony Craze Award 2022.

Named in honour of Soho Theatre’s former Artistic Director and first ever Verity Bargate Award winner, the Tony Craze Award is open each year to the playwrights on Soho Theatre’s Writers’ Lab, an entry-level course designed to support new writers to create a play over nine months. Previous winners include Fran Bushe with A Gig for Ghosts, which finished its run at Soho Theatre last week, Louis Emmitt-Stern with Slippery, Farah Najib with Dirty Dogs, Adam Narat for New Pacific, Phoebe Eclair-Powell with Fury, Charlie Josephine with Bitch Boxer, and Patrick Russell with Antlers.

Speaking about this year’s vibrant mix of stories, Soho Theatre Creative Learning Producer Jules Haworth said: ‘It’s an honour to celebrate these gifted early-career writers, whose voices leapt off the page and sparked our panel’s excitement and curiosity. The Tony Craze Award champions courageous new writers emerging from the Writers’ Lab programme. We are excited to see how these writers and theatre-makers continue to flourish through the industry, in the years ahead.’

Award winner Somebody Jones’ All My Friends Are Dead will receive a workshop at Soho Theatre.

Iona McTaggart’s When It All Turns To Dust, a modern ghost story of loss, life and community inspired by the real stories of Elephant & Castle’s Heygate Estate residents, came highly commended.

Our Writers' Lab course

Our Writers’ Lab programme is an entry-level course designed to support new writers to create a play over 9 months, through a three-draft process with one-to-one feedback support, with an opportunity at the end of the process for writers to submit to our annual Tony Craze Award.

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