Kevin Elyot Award 2018
Press release issued: 20 September 2018
Spoken word poet, writer and performer Deanna Rodger has been selected as the third recipient of the annual Kevin Elyot award by the University of Bristol’s Theatre Collection.
The award, created in the memory of the renowned playwright, screenwriter and Bristol drama alumnus, will support Deanna to create a new dramatic work inspired by Kevin's archive which was donated to the collection by his sister following his death in 2014.
This comprises hundreds of scripts, correspondence, manuscripts and publicity material detailing Kevin's work from initial idea to finished product from across his entire career.
Deanna said: "I am delighted to of been selected to receive the Kevin Elyot award.
"I was moved by the amount of materials in his archive, I feel that it shows the attention to detail and the respect given to each moment of his career and serves as a valuable reference for reflecting on process, which is how I aim to work with the collection.
"Through an examination of Elyot’s practice: his drafts, redrafts, submissions, and rejections, I hope to develop an enhanced understanding of the processes by which a writer can engage both in creative work and in rigorous analysis and reflection.
"This residency in the Theatre Collection is one which I hope will take my writing career to the next level, not only as an artist but also as a facilitator of writing and performance."
Jo Elsworth, Director of the Theatre Collection, said: "We are really excited to see how Deanna's work is informed and inspired by the archive. It's the first time a spoken word poet has responded to the collection so we’re all looking forward to what is produced."
Previous winners of the award, Ian McHugh and Jon Berry have produced thought-provoking plays in response to their work with the collection.
Jon said: "There are snippets in the notebooks which appear over and over, names which I became obsessed with finding more about. Biography and fiction became two slow dancers in the dark, rotating around one another catching glimpses of each-others’ faces in the lowlight.
"This was what drew me into writing the piece I eventually wrote, called ‘Morning’ - a play about the death of a young man that goes unrecognised by his own mother. In many ways it plays with my own past, my background and my life as a queer man in the 21st century."
Ian McHugh’s play ‘Good Morning Captain’ had its first rehearsed reading with a cast of student actors and was exceptionally well received. It is hoped that it will be developed for a full production.
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, 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.
The Theatre Collection is one of the world's largest archives of British theatre history and Live Art and is an accredited museum and international research facility open to all.
Founded in 1951 to serve the first UK university drama department, our collections cover the period from 1572 to the 21st century and our visitors include everyone from international scholars to family historians.