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Protect The Human playwriting competition finalists announced

Three finalists have been chosen from more than 125 plays submitted for the second annual Protect The Human Playwriting Award produced by iceandfire and Amnesty International.

The competition seeks to provide a high quality platform for dynamic and imaginative plays that communicate important human rights stories to us all. All three plays will receive rehearsed readings at Soho Theatre from 1 to 3 December before the winner is announced on 9 December.

The winning play will receive a prize of £3,000 and readings at venues across the UK, on 10 December – International Human Rights Day, which this year also marks 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Partner venues are Birmingham Rep, Theatre Royal Plymouth and West Yorkshire Playhouse.

Open to aspiring playwrights of any age, the Protect the Human Playwriting competition received scripts from across Europe, the USA and Africa with writers tasked to make real and relevant the impact of human rights issues on our everyday lives - topics ranged from the impact of domestic violence, sexual abuse in orphanages and the human cost of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster.

Amnesty International UK Director, Kate Allen said:

“As we mark the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights this year, what better opportunity than to explore human rights topics through creativity and drama?

“We’re delighted that so many playwrights entered this year. Their personal insight into how human rights translates in every day life has been imaginative, emotive, and extremely thought-provoking. We look forward to discovering which of the three winning plays will be this year’s competition winner.”

Chiwetel Ejiofor, Hollywood actor and Protect the Human Competition judge, said:

"Theatre is a natural forum for complex issues to be explored and debated. Human rights are often dismissed as things that other people need, usually people living halfway across the globe. What I find so exciting about this competition is that it harnesses the power of theatre to explore and make sense of human rights issues by providing a high quality platform for dynamic and imaginative plays which communicate stories of import to us all."

The 2008 Protect The Human Playwriting Award finalists:

Dominic Leggett: Lullaby
Directed by Ken Christiansen
Beth’s got the house ready for Ray’s return from Iraq. But his arrival brings more than just dirty washing and there are some stains that no amount of scrubbing can remove.
Rehearsed Reading: Soho Theatre, 3rd Dec, 7pm

Julian Armitstead: After the Accident
Directed by Tessa Walker
The house was where they - Petra, Jimmy and Charley - were going to be happy, then Leon broke through the security gates taking their happiness with him. Four years later they have the chance to meet face to face, confronting what’s been hidden for so long behind locked doors.
Rehearsed Reading: Soho Theatre, 2nd Dec, 7pm

Anna Clarkson: There’s Loads of Them in Burnley, Thais
Directed by Charlotte Gwinner
Mae has never eaten a ready meal, been to TK Maxx or tasted mushy peas and Graham Fairclough’s only got six weeks to teach her. But with ex-wife and landlady of The Clog and Rocket, Marie, offering up some home truths he might not even have that long.
Rehearsed Reading: Soho Theatre, 1 Dec, 7pm

The Award was judged by Chiwetel Ejiofor, Dan Jones (Amnesty International), Sonja Linden and Sara Masters (iceandfire) and Esther Richardson (Soho Theatre).

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