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Royal Exchange Theatre and the Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting Announce Winner of First Kenyon Institute Fellowship

October 24, 2014

The Royal Exchange Theatre and the organizers of the Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting today announced Chris Urch as the winner of the inaugural Kenyon Institute Fellowship.

The fellowship is awarded by the Royal Exchange Theatre to winners of the Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting.

Urch, whose play The Rolling Stone won a Judges Award in the 2013 Bruntwood Prize, will attend the Kenyon Playwrights Conference at Kenyon College, Ohio in June 2015 as a representative of the Royal Exchange Theatre. Urch’s most recent play Land of Our Fathers recently enjoyed a sell-out run at the Trafalgar Studios, London.

He said: “I'm delighted to be representing The Royal Exchange as part of the Kenyon Institute Fellowship in summer 2015 and work with some incredible creatives who will be coming together for this remarkable program. It's a rare opportunity and one I will relish!”

The Kenyon Playwrights Conference brings together three recognized American and British theatre companies every summer at the Kenyon Institute in Gambier, Ohio, with the aim of supporting the development of new plays. The program includes a commission and a residency, enabling each company to develop a play with a writer of its choice, in conjunction with a week-long workshop for emerging and mid-career adult playwrights.

This year’s participating theatre companies are Paines Plough, Playwrights Horizons and La Jolla Playhouse. Previous participating theatre companies have included the Atlantic Theatre Company, Hampstead Theatre, Manhattan Theatre Club and Steppenwolf Theatre. Commissioned playwrights have included Craig Lucas, Rona Munro, Michaela Coel and Tracey Scott Wilson.

Chris Urch trained at the Drama Centre as an actor. In February 2012, he was selected from over 800 applicants as one of the 503Five, an 18-month residency with Theatre503. His commissioned play, Land Of Our Fathers, debuted there to critical acclaim and a sold-out run. Methuen published the text in September 2013, and it also landed on Time Out's Best Theatre of 2013. In November 2013, Chris received a Judges Award from the Bruntwood Prize panel for his play, The Rolling Stone. In September 2014, Land Of Our Fathers transferred to the Trafalgar Studios for a West End run. Chris is currently on attachment at the National Theatre Studio and was recently tapped to participate in Headlong's first writing group. He is also a graduate of the Royal Court's Young Writers Programme.

With prize money totalling £40,000, The Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting, a joint venture between property company Bruntwood and the Royal Exchange Theatre, is the UK’s biggest playwriting competition. Since its inception in 2005, over 7000 scripts have been entered, £160,000 has been awarded to 15 prize-winning writers and nine winning productions have been staged. The 2015 Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting will launch on January 29, 2015 at the National Theatre.

The third annual Kenyon Playwrights Conference will be presented June 7-13, 2015, at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio. It opens for registration on November 1, 2014. For more information about participating in this year’s conference please visit www.kenyoninstitute.org.

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