Young Playwright Competition keeps Sharnbrook Mill Theatre alive

Overall winner, 18-year-old Jake Stephens

A local theatre company has found a creative way to keep connected with its members during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Sharnbrook Mill Theatre has been unable to open throughout lockdown, but has been kept ‘alive’ by announcing the winners of its hugely successful Young Playwright Competition.

The competition was the brainchild of the Sharnbrook Mill Theatre Trust’s 16-year-old youth ambassador, Connie, who was also on the judging panel.

“I came up with the idea of the young playwright competition when I was thinking of ways to keep the youth of the theatre occupied during the lockdown period as well as keeping them connected to theatre,” Connie said.

“I wanted to create something for all ages to keep their creative minds working, furthermore, the competition was there to allow them to put any existing ideas or developing ideas out there.

“I believe it’s crucial to involve the youth at Sharnbrook Mill Theatre because the youth is the future of the Mill, not only that but it is also an opportunity for young actors and actresses to learn from the experience and to become better in what they do.”

Anyone aged between 13 and 18 was invited to submit a play or scene. All entries were then performed – via Zoom – by a total of 16 actors past and present from the Trust.

Sharnbrook Mill Theatre Writing Competition
(L-R from top row) Richard Fitt, Kathryn Rose (organiser), Douglas Pope
(second row) David Saint, Connie, Michael Horne
(third row) Sian, Penny, Comfort
(bottom row) Callum and Jake Stevens

The Overall Drama winner went to Jake Stevens from Wellingborough, for writing “A Moment In Rust”.

The 18-year-old student said, “I’m eternally grateful to The Mill Theatre for all the opportunities they offer young people.

“This young writers scheme has been an inspiring lockdown project.”

The other winners were:

Best Comedy – The Robbery of Errors – Sian, aged 14
Most Creative – The Last Tecmancer – Callum, aged 15
Most Promising – Name In Lights – Penny, aged 14
Best Plot Twist – The Cornershop Thief – Comfort, aged 14

Judge and vice-president, David Saint, said, “Theatre is alive and well at Sharnbrook Mill Theatre with these youngsters.”

Douglas Pope, judge and chairman, said, “I am so proud of the commitment they made.

“We have always encouraged the youth to get involved at the Mill and to give them a time to shine when we are unable to open, this has given us all a glimmer of hope and encouragement about the future of the arts we all so desperately need.”

The theatre is aiming for the winning scripts to be performed at the theatre at a later date, when it is safe to reopen.

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