Theatre503 announces the winner of its 2018 International Playwriting Award + Spring 2019 Season



Danusia Samal is announced as the winner of the third biennial Theatre503 International Playwriting Award at an event at The Bridge Theatre hosted by 503 Chair Erica Whyman and Artistic Director Lisa Spirling on Thursday 22 November.

Danusia Samal is an actor, writer and singer from London who spent part of her childhood in the Middle East. She receives a £6,000 prize for her play Out of Sorts, which will be produced at Theatre503 in 2019.

 Out of Sorts is a rich, funny, layered and beautifully characterised comic drama examining the conflicts that arise for the children of refugee migrants raised in the UK within two very different cultures. The play follows Zara, who has spent her life being two people, neither of whom seem to be good enough. Living in two different worlds and being pulled in different directions she is losing her way. When her parents intervene to ‘fix things’, she is forced to confront her prejudice, and the charade begins to unravel. Over a family dinner and a boozy party in her flat, she finally tells the truth and works out what kind of person she might just be.

 Out of Sorts was chosen from a shortlist of five plays, selected from over 2,055 scripts submitted from 49 countries. The winning play was selected by an industry panel including journalist Lyn Gardner, Audible’s Commissioning Producer for Theatre Abigail Gonda, playwrights Stephen Beresford, Alice Birch, Chinonyerem Odimba and Roy Williams, and Theatre503 Artistic DirectorLisa Spirling.

The other shortlisted plays were: Milk and Gall by Mathilde Dratwa, Meat by Gillian GreerIn That Short Space by Joel MacCormack, and Before Evening Comes by Philana Imade Omorotionmwan

Erica Whyman, Deputy Artistic Director of the RSC, Theatre503 Chair, Award Judging Panel Chair: From a very fine shortlist of impressively urgent and inventive plays, Out of Sorts touched the judges deeply. It is a delicate, intelligent, funny and profoundly revealing play, which tackles one of the central questions of our time – how to be all the parts of ourselves without falling apart. It does this with great skill and sensitivity through the lens of cultural identity, love, family and friendship. I look forward very much to seeing it on our stage.’

 The announcement of the Award winner coincides with the launch of Theatre503’s Spring 2019 season. Highlights include Ross Willis’ fantastical fairytale about life in and after the care system,Yasmin Joseph‘s timely exploration on the Black British experience and sexual politics of Carnival, and Synergy Theatre Project’s first major four week production. This line-up includes two plays from the venue’s pioneering 503Five. To date the 18 month writers’ residency has launched the careers of, amongst others, Charlene James, Lou Ramdsen, Beth Steel, Jon Brittain, Brad Birch and Vinay Patel.


20 February – 16 March 2019 (press night: Monday 25 February)

There is a Field

By Martin Askew, Directed by Esther Baker

Produced by Synergy Theatre Project in association with Theatre503

 Why you all looking at me like that? Eh? You never seen a real Muslim before? Is it cos I’m white?

Mark’s mother wants him to bury his father and it’s up to Saleh to find him and bring him home for a proper East End send off. Only Mark is no longer Mark, he’s Abdullah. There is A Field is a London story of faith, death and family strife reshaped by local crises and global events.

Synergy Theatre Project creates groundbreaking work across theatre and the justice system. They began working with Martin after his release from prison, commissioning There is a Field as his debut full length play. Synergy is continuing their long running partnership with Theatre503 with their first major four week production.

20 March – 13 April 2019 (press night: Monday 25 March)


By Ross Willis, Directed by Lisa Spirling

Produced by Theatre503

 If the sky dropped the stars or the river drained the water there would be outrage, but we treat children like this and there is silence.

 Something’s not right.

Children are being raised by animals.

A Mother is slowly sinking in the bath.

The trees are left doing the paperwork.

The air is filled with screams of children howling for help.

And some twins want to tell you a story about how everything got so f*cked up.

A spiralling odyssey of dizzying theatricality, Wolfie is a bold, fantastical fairytale following two twins separated at birth and asks who is truly responsible for society’s most vulnerable children.

This wildly imaginative, irreverent look at life in and after the care system is the debut play from Ross Willis, one of the 503Five Writers In Residence and directed by Artistic Director Lisa Spirling.

22 April – 18 May 2019 (press night: Monday 27th April)

The Amber Trap

By Tabitha Mortiboy, Directed by Hannah Hauer-King

Produced by Damsel Productions in association with Theatre503

 Some bones are like ice. They’re weaker than you’d think

Katie and her girlfriend Hope work at their local corner shop, where the days pass in quiet, comfortable rhythms. But when new employee Michael arrives, the sands start to shift and the air begins to thicken.

Written by Tabitha Mortiboy (Beacons) and directed by Hannah Hauer-King (The Funeral Director, Fabric), all-female theatre company Damsel Productions (Fabric, Fury, Grotty, Dry Land) presents an unsettling portrait of devotion and control.

29 May – 22 June (press night Monday 3 June)


By Yasmin Joseph, Directed by Rebekah Murrell

Produced by Tobi Kyeremateng and BadBreed in association with Theatre503

What people you know can party through all of the earth’s elements?

Carnival is here. The streets of Notting Hill are alive with history, and amongst the pulsating soca, dazzling colour, and endless sequins and feathers, Jade and Nadine are fighting for space in a world they thought was theirs.

A timely reflection on the Black British experience and sexual politics of Carnival, J’Ouvert is a piercing, hilarious and fearless story of two best friends, battling to preserve tradition in a society where women’s bodies are frequently under threat.

A rhythmic, vibrant testimony to womanhood and freedom, J’Ouvert marks the debut play of Yasmin Joseph, one of Theatre503’s 503Five Writers In Residence. It is also the directorial debut of actor Rebekah Murrell (Nine Night, National Theatre, Trafalgar Studios), with the two combining forces with producer Tobi Kyeremateng to create an exciting new theatre company to bring this story to life.