Mark Cantan wins the Stewart Parker Trust Award
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Main image: President Michael D. Higgins and playwright Mark Cantan

Mark Cantan wins the Stewart Parker Trust Award

Mark Cantan has been awarded the Stewart Parker Trust New Playwright Bursary of €7,500 for his debut full-length play, Jezebel. The award, which recognises and supports new Irish playwrights, goes to Cantan’s contemporary farce staged last year by Rough Magic, in which a statistician and his partner attempt to enliven their sex life by having a threesome, which results in statistically unlikely complications. To anyone who missed the show, that might sound flagrantly risqué, but Cantan’s comedy was more concerned with the tangles of miscommunication and miscalculation. Last year, Nancy Harris’s No Romance won the bursary for a play themed around erotic fantasies and genuine betrayal (and which was similarly far removed from a sex revue). That doesn’t so much represent a concern of the Stewart Parker jury as a sign of new voices approaching age-old concerns and exposing the realities of human desire.

The award was presented last week by President Michael D. Higgins at a ceremony held in the Abbey Theatre, where Lynne Parker, both a Stewart Parker Trustee and Artistic Director of Rough Magic, seemed to speak for both the award’s bestowers and its recipient: “Mark’s writing is characterised not just by imaginative virtuosity but by true craftsmanship, qualities that are splendidly endorsed by an award in the name of Stewart Parker. We are thrilled that his sparkling debut has been chosen and excited by the possibilities this will open for him.” The BBC Northern Ireland Radio Drama Award went to Karen Ardiff and the BBC Northern Ireland Irish Language Drama Award was won by Mairéad Ní Chróinín of Moonfish Theatre for Tromlui Phinocchio.


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