Winner of Protect the Human Playwrighting Competition Announced

News   Winner of Protect the Human Playwrighting Competition Announced
Julian Armitstead, an Oxford-based playwright and teacher of English and drama working in schools, adult education and with people in prisons, has been announced as the winner of the second annual Protect the Human playwriting competition, which is part of the celebrations marking the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).

The announcement was made during an Amnesty Arts Fund event Dec. 9 at Amnesty International's Human Rights Centre. Armitstead receives a prize of £3,000 and readings at venues across the U.K. on Dec. 10 – the day in 1948 when world leaders adopted the UDHR, a vision which set out for the first time the fundamental rights and freedoms to which people everywhere are entitled. Armitstead's winning entry, After the Accident, was one of 125 plays submitted to the Amnesty International and iceandfire Protect the Human competition, which seeks to provide a high quality platform for dynamic and imaginative plays that communicate important human rights stories. Submissions were received from across Europe, the USA and Africa with topics including the impact of domestic violence, sexual abuse in orphanages and the human cost of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. The competition was judged by Chiwetel Ejiofor (actor), Dan Jones (Amnesty International UK), Sonja Linden and Sara Masters (iceandfire, a national touring company whose work spans production, education, outreach and participation) and Esther Richardson (Soho Theatre). The winning entry was selected from three finalists.

The play uses the restorative justice system to explore the concept of dignity and the duties that everyone has to his or her community. Leon steals a car which results in the death of six-year-old Charley. Four years later, as his parole is coming up, Leon meets with Petra and Jimmy, Charley's parents.

In a press statement, the playwright – whose previous play The Name of the Son was directed by Caroline Hunt for Theatre West in 2006 – commented, "Winning a competition like this feels like a tremendous confirmation that the writing I'm doing, I should carry on doing. And since I've always been a fan of Amnesty and its work, for my play to be associated with their celebration of the UDHR is a real honour."

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