The Arts Foundation Futures Awards 2024: Theatre Writing Shortlist Announced

The Theatre Writing award champions theatre writers focusing on new contemporary writing, including original works and theatrical or performative adaptations of fiction and non-fiction. Meet the shortlist:


Safaa Benson-Effiom

Safaa is a playwright and theatre-maker. Her debut play ‘Til Death Do Us Part’ premiered at Theatre503 won the ‘Best Production – Premiere’ at the London Pub Theatre Awards in 2022.

Laurie Motherwell

Laurie Motherwell is a Glaswegian playwright. His recent play Sean and Daro Flake it ’Til They Make It premiered at the Traverse Theatre in April 2023 and went on to tour at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. 

Tatenda Shamiso

Tatenda Shamiso is a London-based writer, director, theatre-maker and musician. Tatenda’s play ‘NO I.D.; was recently performed at the Royal Court Theatre.

Yomi Ṣode

Yomi Ṣode is a writer and playwright. His debut collection of story and poetry, Manorism, was for the stage and presented at the Southbank Centre in 2022 and shortlisted for the Rathbones Folio Prize 2023.


With thanks to our independent Jury members Alice Birch, Playwright and Screenwriter and past Arts Foundation Fellow for Playwriting, 2014; Vicky Featherstone, Artistic Director, Royal Court Theatre; and Dzifa Benson, Arts Journalist, Dramatist who said:

“It was such a pleasure to take part in this year’s jury for Theatre Writing. I was so impressed with the extraordinary talent, creativity, ambition and dedication to their craft of all the artists. Laurie Motherwell’s complex narratives bring fresh perspectives to Scottish stories while Safaa Benson-Effiom’s sheer determination to tell compelling theatrical stories jumped off the page, the scope of Tatenda Shamiso’s intimate storytelling is deeply affecting and Yomi Ṣode’s dramas channel the voices of characters seldom heard on our stages. It is such an honour to support these artists who continue striving to make stellar work despite these financial precarious times. I can’t wait to see how all four artists progress in their careers.”

Vicky Featherstone added:

“It was an absolute privilege and a treat to be immersed in the work, thoughts and passions of all the candidates. They all displayed such integrity and clarity of purpose for their work and its impact and left me feeling hopeful for all they will achieve

The Arts Foundation has a long history of supporting theatre practices, playwriting and literature and Mary Jane Edwards, Director of The Arts Foundation says:

“The four artists’ work demonstrates the great range and breadth of contemporary theatre writing practice. Each of the shortlists has pursued highly individual and unique ways of thinking and approaching the genre of playwriting, and we are delighted to be supporting their creative development.”

The Arts Foundation Futures Awards support the UK’s most promising artists and creatives at a pivotal moment in their careers to enable them to concentrate on their creative development, experiment, and realise their artistic potential. The recipient of the £10,000 Fellowship will be revealed on 28 February 2024, with all artists receiving £1,000 towards their practice.