Getting to know our shortlist: Ian Nightingale

As we move closer to announcing the winner of the 2017 Liverpool Hope Playwriting Prize on March 27th, find out more about our top 6…

Writer: Ian Nightingale, Ormskirk, Lancashire

Play: Paulo & Me

Long suffering mum Mandy is at her wits end with her marriage to slob husband Colin, whose only passion in life is for his local football club. Newly single, she meets a dashing Italian stranger, Paulo, who turns out to be the club’s new manager and this causes Colin to have an epiphany about his own life.

Ian teaches geography in a secondary school, and has been writing for radio and screen for the past five years. He is a member of the BBC Northern Writers group, and one of 27 screenwriters in the UK to be mentored by Harry Swindell at the BBC.

His writing to date has received a BAFTA Rocliffe commendation for an unproduced screenplay, been shortlisted for both The Red Planet Prize and the Alfred Bradley Bursary, and shortlisted by Philip Shelley at Channel 4 for development. Ian was also selected by the Head of Development at LIME pictures to complete trial scripts at Hollyoaks. His first short film script ‘The Librarian’ won the 2016 Special Merit Award at the Northern Film School at Beckett University and is currently being filmed.

Ian said: “I’ve always been fascinated with the immediacy of theatre since being taken as a schoolchild to watch Willy Russell’s Our Day Out. As I got older, I found my writing was deeply affected by those initial theatre experiences, and this shaped the way I wrote about real people in communities and the struggles they faced.

Paulo & Me is inspired by a real mix of things – as I got into my late 30’s it felt like I was  watching a world which seemed to be spinning faster and becoming more and more fragmented; where people are obsessed with instant gratification, fame and the hope that the grass will always be greener. It’s also inspired by the community you grew up in; the one that you absolutely hated but later realise defines you and ultimately you miss and reminisce about with utter love 20 years later. And of course, it’s inspired by the hapless football team you support fanatically, constantly letting you down until the day you die.

“Just knowing that all the hours spent hammering away on the keyboard in a darkened box room trying to conjure up this little world filled with characters people will actually care about and laugh at can actually connect with the judges and be considered for a prize of this magnitude is genuinely mind blowing.”



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