Playwriting duo win Perfect Pitch award

Chris Bush and Matthew Winkworth

Playwriting team Chris Bush and Matthew Winkworth have won a £12,000 commission to write a new musical after winning the Royal & Derngate’s Perfect Pitch Award.

The writers will now be mentored over a year while they prepare a full draft tof their new musical Odd.

At the end of the year, once the show has been developed through workshops and readings, it will be presented in a professional staged reading.

The winning team’s musical, Odd, is a contemporary adaptation of Homer’s Odyssey seen through the eyes of a teenage girl.

After a decade in care, 16 year old Odessa decides to make her journey home using the Odyssey as her guidebook.

The winning team has been chosen from an initial 318 applicants who were narrowed down to 44 shortlisted writers and five finalist teams.

The award was open to all UK based writers – from playwrights and screenwriters to novelists and songwriters – with no previous experience of writing a musical necessary.

Chris Bush and Matthew Winkworth said: “Winning against candidates of this calibre is incredibly humbling. It’s a great demonstration of faith from Perfect Pitch and Royal & Derngate and we can’t wait to start to working them.”

Royal & Derngate Artistic Director James Dacre said: “The origination of new work is central to Royal & Derngate’s future which is why we’re working with twelve writers and composers to première new work in our Made in Northampton 2014 season.

“We are thrilled to be working in partnership with Perfect Pitch to host and develop Odd into a full musical and to showcase the enormous potential of this new writing partnership between composer Matthew Winkworth and writer Chris Bush.”

Founded in 2006, Perfect Pitch supports and develops new and emerging British writers of original productions.

The winners were selected during a finalist event where five finalist teams were each asked to ‘pitch’ ten minutes of a brand new musical to a panel of experienced judges and an industry audience.

The panel, who selected the winning team, included playwright Samuel Adamson (The Light Princess, All About My Mother), director Rachel Kavanaugh (Love Story, The Sound of Music), choreographer Stephen Mear (Kiss Me Kate, The Pajama Game), Kerry Michael (Artistic Director, Theatre Royal Stratford East), actress Rosie Ashe (Witches of Eastwick, Phantom of the Opera) and Olivier Award winning actor Michael Ball.

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