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The Kevin Elyot Award: a writer's residency in the Theatre Collection

Kevin Elyot Award photo

Kevin Elyot as Macheath in The Beggar’s Opera by John Gay. Performed 11-15 July 1972. Directed by Bill Royston (by arrangement with the Welsh National Opera) Production photograph by Roger Gilmour

19 April 2016

The memory and influence of the playwright Kevin Elyot is to be celebrated by the University of Bristol Theatre Collection, through an award in his name.

The Kevin Elyot Award will support a promising writer by enabling them to be resident in the Theatre Collection and begin the process of creating a new work inspired by Kevin’s archive, which may be a dramatic, creative or academic piece of writing.

Pauline Lee, Kevin Elyot’s sister said “My mother and I wanted to celebrate Kevin’s life and work so we thank the University of Bristol for helping us set up this award in his name. Our hope is that it will help and inspire other theatre creatives”

It comprises £3,000 to fund the residency for up to four weeks each summer, and will also offer support with research and public dissemination of the work. The award has been generously funded by an endowment given to the University by members of Kevin’s family.

Jo Elsworth, Director of the Theatre Collection said: “We hope the Kevin Elyot Award will enable a new generation of writers to find creative inspiration in the archive, so that the spirit of Kevin’s life and work will live on. Whilst, on a more personal level, we also hope that this award will make a tangible difference to the award winner and help them develop their own career in writing”.

Kevin Elyot (1951 to 2014) was a Bristol alumnus (Drama Department) who started his career as an actor, but went on to achieve great success through his ground-breaking plays and adaptations. The Kevin Elyot Archive is held at the University of Bristol Theatre Collection, and comprises scripts, correspondence, manuscript and publicity material detailing Kevin’s working process from initial idea to finished product.

His process for adapting novels for television, such as his work with Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple and Poirot is also well documented in the archive. The content relating to his plays, including the seminal My Night with Reg, demonstrates his creative process and the particular emphasis he placed on the importance of style and form within a play.

Further information

The Kevin Elyot Award Background Information and Application Details (PDF, 132kB) 

The Kevin Elyot Award Background Information and Application Details (Office document, 16kB)

The award panel includes Lindsay Duncan (actor) and Catherine Johnson (playwright) plus members of the Theatre Collection and Theatre Department.

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