Soho Theatre – Amanda Wilkin’s Shedding A Skin Announced As Verity Bargate Award 2020 Winner

  • Following a record number of entries, Amanda Wilkin’s SHEDDING A SKIN announced as Verity Bargate Award 2020 winner
  • Judging panel chaired by Stephen Garrett included Laura Wade, Lolita Chakrabarti, Russell T Davies and Phoebe Waller-Bridge
  • SHEDDING A SKIN to be performed at Soho Theatre, Spring/Summer 2021
  • The play will also be filmed for live broadcast and for Soho Theatre On Demand

From a record number of 1493 entries, a longlist of 20 inspiring and fabulously imagined emerging voices, and a shortlist of seven incredibly eclectic new plays, Soho Theatre has announced the winner of the Verity Bargate Award 2020 as Amanda Wilkin with her captivating play Shedding A Skin. The production will have its world premiere at Soho Theatre in the Spring/Summer of 2021.

For 50 years Soho Theatre has championed new writing, from lunch time plays in the 70s to today’s commissions, attachments, writers labs and awards. Since 1982, Soho Theatre’s prestigious biennial playwriting competition, the Verity Bargate Award, has uncovered the best new play by an emerging UK and Irish writer and launched the careers of some of Britain’s most established writers.

In January this year, almost 1500 new plays by emerging writers were submitted to the Verity Bargate Award 2020. What followed was months of reading from a diverse team of arts industry professionals, that continued throughout COVID restrictions, to reach a longlist of 20 plays before a shortlist of seven plays was determined. Chaired by film and television producer, and Award Sponsor, Character 7’s Stephen Garrett (The Night ManagerThe Undoing) – who described the shortlisted plays as ‘spine-tingly zeitgeisty’ – hours of Zoom deliberations ensued between a panel of industry experts including former Soho Theatre writers Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Laura Wade, screenwriter Russell T Davies, actress and playwright Lolita Chakrabarti, before determining Amanda Wilkin’s play Shedding A Skin as the Award winner.

Selected quotes from the judging panel:

Lolita Chakrabarti said: ‘Amanda Wilkin’s play is beautifully written, contemporary, poetic and delicate. The world she creates in the play is familiar and surprising all at once.  She’s definitely a talent to watch.’

 Phoebe Waller-Bridge said: ‘I was not prepared to be kidnapped by a play and a voice so completely as I was by Amanda Wilkin’s Shedding A Skin. I’m excited to see this profound, funny, modern, stark and hopeful play performed at Soho Theatre. Then of course, after that, just everything Amanda puts her pen to!’

Russell T Davies said: ‘It was an absolute honour to read all seven plays, seven brilliant plays, seven marvellous writers, a real joy. And I noticed that as we talked, we kept coming back to one voice, one vision, one person, and that was Amanda Wilkin. It’s a beautiful play, it’s heartfelt, it’s mysterious, it says a lot about the world, it’s really really brilliant.’

Stephen Garrett said: ‘As sponsor of the Verity Bargate Award, I could not be more thrilled that Shedding A Skin has won this year’s prize. Amanda Wilkin has crafted a play that is funny as it is warm, as profound as it is of the moment. She’s captured a generation. It’s a work of incredible beauty and great wit, she will go far.’

Amanda Wilkin will be the recipient of the £7,500 prize, and will see the play produced at Soho Theatre in  Spring / Summer 2021. The production will also be recorded and livestreamed, as well as released on Soho Theatre On Demand at a date to be announced.

Soho Theatre’s Creative Director David Luff said: “Following a year of immense change and adaptation, we are delighted to discover a quite brilliant new writer, with a voice and style so effortlessly evocative, extraordinary and electrifying. Amanda Wilkin has written a spellbinding play, unmistakeably for our times, tapping into the pressures of modern life, the desire for connection and the need for social and political change. I greatly look forward to producing our 2020 Verity Bargate Award winning play as both a live and filmed production next year.”

Soho Theatre’s Literary Manager Gillian Greer said: “Now more than ever, initiatives like the Verity Bargate Award are vital in order to identify and support our next generation of playwrights. Sifting through almost 1,500 plays with twenty freelance readers, Soho Theatre’s creative team and our brilliant judging panel have lead us to discover Amanda Wilkin’s bright, distinct and indefatigable voice. Shedding A Skin is such an exciting, vital discovery and I am so excited to see this play realised.”

Amanda Wilkin is a playwright, actress and jazz and blues singer-songwriter from London. Her first play And I Dreamt I Was Drowning was developed as part of the Talawa Firsts Festival 2018. More on Shedding A Skin:

She’s broke, just been dumped and lost her job after flipping out at a diversity photoshoot at her work. She needs somewhere new to live, and goes for the cheapest option available, renting a room from an elderly woman, Mildred. A young woman has to navigate how to heal, and face up to how she’s neglected to nurture her roots.

 Amanda Wilkin said: I’m really excited and grateful to find out that I’ve won the Verity Bargate Award. It was just amazing to be longlisted and shortlisted with extraordinary writers that I’m really proud to be amongst. I just wanted to say a big thank you to all the readers and the judges. I’m looking forward to getting started!”

A headshot can be downloaded here.

Verity Bargate Award 2020 winner

Shedding A Skin                     Amanda Wilkin

Verity Bargate Award 2020 shortlist

scum                                      Ava Wong Davies

RAD                                       FXXX BXXXXX

Honey                                                Lucy Foster

Super High Resolution            Nathan Ellis

Retrograde                             Ryan Calais Cameron

Krill                                        Sorcha McCaffrey

Verity Bargate Award 2020 longlist

This Game Right Here            Aaron Gordon

Everything Must Go                Caitlin McEwan

Black Beth                              Cheryl Ndione

44 Sex Acts in One Week        David Finnigan

A Gig for Ghosts                     Fran Bushe

When We Begin                      Leo J Skilbeck

Vile Acts of Love                     Naomi Sheldon

The Levellers                          Nathan Lucky Wood

Human Suit                            Sarah Kosar

This Might Not Be It                Sophia Chetin-Leuner

Even In Arcadia                                  Sophie Swithinbank

Fly Home Butterfly                  Tife Kusoro

Marry or Burn                         Tolula Dada