Posted on December 4th, 2023
Artistic Director Clare Slater among winners of the 19th Olwen Wymark Awards
Founded by playwrights Mark Ravenhill and David James (former Chair of the WGGB Theatre Committee), the Olwen Wymark Awards were set up to give WGGB members the opportunity to publicly thank those who have given them a positive experience in new writing over the previous year.
They are named in honour of playwright Olwen Wymark, passionate supporter of WGGB and former Chair of the WGGB Theatre Committee, who died in 2013.
David James, who has organised the award since 2005, said: “Writing thrives when it is encouraged and, as our theatres continue to face challenging times, encouraging writers has never been more important. In the 19th year of the awards, we are pleased to celebrate 10 nominees who have all provided steadfast support through difficult times.”
Clare Slater was nominated by Nicola Werenowska for her exceptional support during Nicola’s time as HighTide playwright-in-residence.
Nicola Werenowska said: “As an experienced neurodivergent playwright from a working-class background I feel privileged to have been supported by so many arts professionals in the theatre sector as my career has developed over the last two decades. However, the support and encouragement I have received from Clare Slater during my role as playwright-in-residence with HighTide (recipient of a Peggy Ramsay/Film4 Bursary) has been simply exceptional and has extended way beyond any expectations I had for the residency.
“Not only has Clare given me brilliant dramaturgical support on the piece I am writing for HighTide but she has encouraged me in many other ways – commissioning me for a separate piece of work embracing a new genre; inviting me to take part in associate and staff meetings; involving me with the development of HighTide’s literary department and writers groups; and supporting me to find new pathways and commissioning opportunities. Clare understands the challenges disabled writers face and she has helped me to build my confidence in overcoming ongoing barriers. She champions my work, believes in me, and is committed to supporting my ongoing writing journey.”
Clare Slater said today:
“I was so honoured that Nicky Werenowska, our Writer in Residence 2023, nominated me for a Writers’ Guild of Great Britain Olwen Wymark Theatre Encouragement Award. So to find out that I’d won was a delight.
“Nicky is an amazing playwright, kind collaborator and creative mind. The whole team at HighTide have loved having her as part of our company this year, contributing to all of our organisational planning as well as working on two commissions for us. Her Writer in Residence position has been generously funded by the Peggy Ramsay Foundation/Film Four Award.
“That Nicky felt moved to nominate me for my encouragement of her writing and her career is a great gift. It represents everything that I hope HighTide stands for – supporting playwrights from the East of England to flourish.
“Huge thanks to the Writers’ Guild for recognising HighTide’s work, alongside the other winners who are all clearly brilliant dramaturgs and inspirational people. But my biggest thanks to Nicky, for being a great Writer in Residence.”
Clare’s fellow recipients of the Olwen Wymark award this year are: Stehanie Dale, Charlotte Everest, Nadine Grey, Alice Hamilton, Lisa Holdsworth, Kerry Kyriacos Michael, Bhasker Patel and Breman Rajkumar (joint), and Simon Startin.
Read more about the awards here.