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Thursday 27 Nov 2014

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Stewart Parker Awards

L-R: Séan Ó Morónaigh, Elaine Murphy, President Mary McAleese and  Abbie Spallen at the Stewart Parker Awards in Dublin's Abbey Theatre

The 2008 Stewart Parker Awards for new playwrights were announced yesterday (Monday 20 April 2009) at an event in the Abbey Theatre, Dublin, attended by President Mary McAleese.

Set up in honour of the late Belfast playwright, Stewart Parker, the Stewart Parker Trust seeks to encourage new writing for the theatre in Ireland. Two BBC Northern Ireland awards have also been established in Stewart Parker's memory and form part of this annual initiative.

This year marks the 21st anniversary of Stewart's death and the 20th year of the Awards.

The Stewart Parker Trust New Playwright Bursary has been awarded to Newry playwright Abbie Spallen and was presented by President McAleese.

The BBC Northern Ireland Radio Drama Award was presented to Elaine Murphy and the BBC Northern Ireland Irish Language Drama Award was presented to Seán Ó Morónaigh.

Abbie Spallen, winner of the Stewart Parker Trust New Playwright Bursary, had her first full-length play, Abeyance, produced by Druid Theatre Company as a 'Druid Debut' and directed by Kirsten Sheridan.

Her second, Pumpgirl, premiered at the Traverse Theatre as part of the 2006 Edinburgh Festival. A Bush Theatre production, directed by Mike Bradwell, it transferred to London and won the 2007 Susan Smith Blackburn Award. It had its American premiere at the Manhattan Theatre Club in 2007 and its Irish premiere produced by the Lyric Theatre at the Old Museum Arts Centre in 2008 where it earned an Irish Times Theatre Award nomination for best new play.

Abbie's short play, Shaving The Pickle, had its premiere in 59E59 Theatre in New York for Origin Theatre Company's First Irish Theatre Festival.

In 2009 her play, Strandline, will have its world premiere in Dublin with Fishamble Theatre Company.

In 2007 Abbie won the Tony Doyle Award for screenwriting from the BBC for her screenplay, Seven Drunken Knights.

Pumpgirl, the feature film adapted by Abbie Spallen for NI Screen/BBC Northern Ireland, had its first screening at the Belfast Film Festival earlier this month.

Abbie has recently completed an attachment to the National Theatre in London and is under commission to Ulysses Productions/Magma Films, Pentabus Theatre Company and 'The Wire' at R3.

Elaine Murphy, winner of the BBC Northern Ireland Radio Drama Award, is an actress and writer from Dublin.

As an actress she has appeared in numerous television shows and films including Lenny Abrahamson's Prosperity, Becoming Jane, and the award-winning Pure Mule. She has recently finished filming on the romantic comedy Happy Ever Afters and will appear in RTE's The Clinic later this year.

Her next play, In Dublin, set in a lap-dancing club, will be produced by Bedrock Theatre Company in 2009.

Little Gem was her debut play and won the Fishamble Best New Play Award at the 2008 Dublin Fringe and was nominated for an Irish Times award.

Seán Ó Morónaigh, this year's winner of the BBC Northern Ireland Irish Language Drama Award, is Director of An Comhlachas Náisiúnta Drámaíochta (the National Drama Association) who receives this award for his lifetime contribution to drama in the Irish language.

Seán was one of the founder members of An Comhlachas Náisiúnta Drámaíochta in 1976 and has been working since then with emerging Irish language talent from all over Ireland, nurturing and facilitating the development and production of work in the Irish language.

Seán also receives the award in recognition of his work in promoting and developing traditional dramatic forms such as Agallaimh, Lúibíní, Ceapóga, Amhráin Saothar and Scéaldrámaíocht.

Seán has published a number of works on traditional dramatic forms including Agallamh na hÉigse (2001) and Drámaíocht Ó Dhúchas (2005). He is currently working on a new edition of Eachtra an Ghobáin Saoir by Risteard de Hindeberg, based on his recent production of the play with Aisteoirí an tSean Phobail, Na Deise .

Notes to Editors

The Stewart Parker Trust has received funding from both Arts Councils in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland in support of this year's awards.

Guidance on the selection process for the awards was received from the Irish Theatre Institute.


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