Sleeping Lions by Tom Derrington has won Titchfield Festival Theatre’s first ever playwriting competition, beating more than 275 other entries to the prize.
Tom receives a cash prize of £1,000 and will see his play performed in the TFT’s Acorn Theatre later this month. The package includes support from a TFT director and a cast of actors.
The competition was a new addition to TFT’s annual new play season.
TFT’s chairman and artistic director, Kevin Fraser said: ‘We were amazed and delighted with the response to Titchfield Festival Theatre’s inaugural playwriting competition. We received more than 275 entries – all full length and brand new plays – of great quality and covering different themes.
‘Sleeping Lions stood out above them all. It’s an incredible play that everyone will relate to on some level. I have been working in theatre for over 30 years – and it is one of the best plays that I have ever read.
‘I am delighted for Tom Derrington our first ever winner. For us at TFT, we see this competition as an excellent example of how theatres can help writers and all those in the performing arts community to bounce back after the Covid pandemic.
‘It is particularly difficult for playwrights to get their work performed. We have built up a unique position in that we will have at least six new plays per year performed in our venues. Right now we can’t wait for the opening night of Sleeping Lions.’
Tom, a father-of-three, said: ‘The idea for Sleeping Lions was drawn from my own experience of having children.
‘The constant struggle that parents face, always trying to do the very best for our kids, wanting them to be healthy, happy and popular.
‘There’s a lot of expectation and in some ways, preparing and hosting a child’s birthday party is when these pressures are illuminated. So, I wanted to explore this setting.
A psychologist from Bournemouth, Tom added: ‘In terms of form, I was really inspired by the brilliant play Beginning by David Eldridge which, like Sleeping Lions, is naturalistic and set in real time.
‘I love the idea that a room full of people can be experiencing every second of a live situation as it plays out in real time. This really helps to create a unique togetherness between the characters and the audience.
‘I believe that the audience will like this play because it’s a contemporary relatable story which is both funny and sad. I have always been fascinated with that fine line between humour and despair and how they often overlap. I hope that Sleeping Lions will give the audience the chance to go on a bit of a rollercoaster of emotions.’
Sleeping Lions opens at the Titchfield Festival Theatre, St Margaret’s Lane on Monday, February 21 until Saturday, February 26. Shows start at 7.30pm.
Go to titchfieldfestivaltheatre.com, or contact the box office on 0333 666 3366.
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