As we move closer to announcing the 2017 winner of the Liverpool Hope Playwriting Prize on March 27th, find out more about our top 6…
Writer: Simon Bradbury, London
Play: The Last Act of Love of J B Moliere
In 1673, playwriting and acting was a risky business. Moliere, knowing his death is near, prepares to put on a performance of ‘The Imaginary Invalid’. Moliere’s servant and wife try to dissuade him from performing, and ask him to sign a document renouncing the acting profession, in the hope of saving his soul and affording him a Christian burial. Both his friends and enemies alike conspire to keep Moliere from the stage in this madcap romp.
Simon Bradbury, who was born in Little Hulton, Salford, and was a member of the Manchester Youth Theatre, is a professional actor.
Simon studied at the Drama Centre London and then spent 16 years with the Shaw Festival Theatre in Canada. His play about Chaplin was programmed for their Courthouse season in 2002. He performed at all the major theatres in Vancouver – Bard on the Beach, Vancouver Playhouse, The Arts Club and the Gateway Theatre, Richmond, garnering three Jessie nominations and winning one for best supporting actor. He also founded his own theatre company, Ziggurat Theatre. He now resides back in UK.
Simon has acted in a number of Shakespeare productions, and starred in the TV shows Arrow, Fringe and Stargate: Arc of Truth. He has also worked in The Beatles’ LOVE by Cirque du Soleil.
Simon said: “My inspiration for the play was, in fact, the world of the theatre. Austerity has been a blow to all aspects of our lives but the cultural world is the first to get it in the neck. My admiration for Moliere, the man and his farces, was another springboard. He dealt with tyrannical patronage, censorship and ceaseless attacks from the church, yet continued his commitment to enlighten and entertain. I have tried to reproduce his spirit of anarchy by constructing a comedy about the last hours of his life, during which all these travails come to the fore. It is my cheeky homage to a compulsive social critic who pushed the bounds of convention and good taste, while being completely incapable of denying himself and countless others a bloody good laugh.”
Simon added, “I sent my play in because it is rare to see comedy highlighted for a competition. It tends to be the poor cousin of tragedy and other genres. This specialization is exciting, because it harkens back to the days of the Aldwych farces, which led to a golden era of English theatre comedy. Comedy is damned serious business! The association of a highly regarded academic institution with a respected theatre company lends credence to this idea. That is why this competition is unique and very important. I am thrilled to bits to be shortlisted.”