Drama teacher wins Decameronesque Short Play Writing Competition
'Professor Pennington's Wife' judged best play
'Professor Pennington's Wife' written by drama teacher Sarah McCormack has been judged best play in our Decameronesque Short Play Writing Competition.
Six finalists from more than 60 entries received were chosen and were recorded on zoom and shown in an event last week.
Judges writer Rebekah King, theatre director Lucy Bailey, and actor Mary Chater then announced the winner. Click on the link to the recording here.
Look out for more opportunities to stay connected and keep creative on our Sharing Shakespeare online digital platform.
Winner Sarah McCormack
I have been inspired by, and am grateful for, the opportunity presented by the Shakespeare in Italy Decameronesque playwrights competition. This has been a fantastic experience for so many reasons. The open nature of the competition meant that the only requirement for entry was that you wanted to write so it felt hugely democratic and genuinely challenging: first time playwrights jostling with those with significant experience, youthful vigour and energy alongside the weight and slower pace of age. And indeed this was reflected in the work produced by the finalists which included dips into traditional folk tale, up-to-the-minute political satire, high farce and deep, touching tragedy. It was really exciting to have one’s work considered in this broad and inclusive context.
Having the competition rooted in the Decameron was a fantastic idea as it meant that the competition enriched and consolidated your own cultural and literary awareness and allowed entrants to consider and explore links between our own immediate social and cultural circumstances and their historical precedents. So one was learning alongside creating, and opening up one’s horizons even in a situation of huge personal and social restriction.
As someone who is passionate about theatre and whose work brings them into daily contact with professional theatre but whose own practical experience of making theatre has only ever been at a quite basic level (I teach drama at secondary school) this was a chance to open myself up to those who are working at the peak of the profession - and that is a rare and valuable opportunity. I am delighted to have encountered Shakespeare in Italy and to have been given this opportunity as a result. I wrote several plays for the competition (submitting only one) and have continued to write throughout the summer - genuinely inspired and encouraged by this event.
Finalist Phil Sparkes
I was very happy to take part in this competition. I hadn’t really thought much about the Decameron since my English degree, so it was great to be reacquainted with it.
The challenge was a good one - stimulating but not unachievable even whilst working full time! And, of course, I was delighted that my play was chosen as one of the finalists. I’ve read other people’s words in public many times but never heard my words being read by others. So that felt good.
Actually, the single greatest achievement of the competition was to have received so many entries. To think that almost 60 plays were produced for this is a testament to its power to inspire. But, more than that, the task was set at just the right height. Inspiring people to feel like writing a play is (relatively) easy. Getting them to carry that intention through so that they actually end up sending you something is another matter entirely.