A play written by 17 year-old Molly O’Gorman from Brighton College has won the National Theatre’s annual playwriting competition for 15–19 year olds, New Views. Molly’s play Broad Shadow was chosen out of over 300 entries for a performance by professional actors at the National Theatre in July. Entries came from 66 schools across the UK, as well as partner theatre programmes at Bristol Old Vic and West Yorkshire Playhouse.
The winning play was selected from a shortlist of nine by a panel of judges including NT Deputy Artistic Director Ben Power; NT Senior Dramaturg Nina Steiger; playwright Suhayla El-Bushra and actor, director and campaigner Kobna Holdbrook-Smith. The play will be performed in the NT’s Dorman Theatre on 6, 7 and 8 July, at 5.30pm.
In Broad Shadow, Molly O’Gorman tells the story of the strain placed on the relationship between a mother and a daughter when, after a job opportunity, the latter is given a chance to move away from home. Having grown up in Ireland, Molly has chosen to set her story there.
Upon hearing the news of her success, Molly said: “I am ecstatic and humbled to have won this competition, as well as incredibly grateful to the National Theatre for providing me with this opportunity to get my work out there. I have always wanted to be a writer, so this has been a dream come true and I hope that this won’t be the last time I’m here.”
NT Deputy Artistic Director and chair of the judging panel, Ben Power, said: “The judging panel were once more deeply impressed by the quality and imagination of the submitted plays. There was a common thread of compassion, maturity and political acuity along with a vivid understanding of the potential of dramatic expression. The winning play – tender, truthful and quietly thrilling – stood out for all of us from a very strong field.”