Imison Award 2003

The Richard Imison Memorial Award 2003

--sponsored by the Peggy Ramsay Foundation
For the best dramatic work broadcast by a writer new to radio

Andrea Earl for BECAUSE YOU'RE NOT
Shelley Silas for THE SOUND OF SILENCE
Neil Leyshon & Stephen McAnena for MILK

This year the award of 1,500 will go to two winners:

MILK by Nell Leyshon and Stephen McAnena


2003 Judges: Joe Dunlop, Philippa Gregory, Naomi Gryn, Nigel Rees, Tony Staveacre, Steve May, Colin Shaw.

The judges decided to split the 1,500 prize between two plays:

Nell Leyshon and Stephen McAnena win 375 each for Milk (BBC Radio 4, produced by Jeremy Mortimer).

Celia Bryce wins 750 for The Skategrinder (Radio 4, directed by Jane Dauncey).

David and Mary were farm workers but now live on a housing estate as a result of the farming crisis. Mary is pregnant and Milk is set on the morning that she is due have a termination. The couple are awkward with each other, neither of them willing to bring up the one thing they are both thinking about. Cut into this framework are their separate thought monologues, in which they express their ambivalence about the termination. They also tell the story of their relationship and the loss of their way of life.

Nell Leyshon is a lecturer at Bournemouth University and a Reader in Residence at Forest Arts, Hampshire. Milk has been followed by radio productions of The Farm (BBCR4, 60''), The Home Field, (BBCR3, 75'') and Glass Eels (BBCR4, 45''), all directed by Sue Roberts. The Farm (Oberon Books) was also performed at Southwark Playhouse and toured with the Strode Theatre Company. Nell's short stories have been broadcast by the BBC and published in anthologies including Swallowing Film and QWF. Her first novel Black Dirt, is published by Picador.

Stephen McAnena was introduced to radio drama six years ago when he was commissioned by BBC Northern Ireland to write some treatments. In 2002 he attended a workshop, Double Acts, set up to develop writers new to radio by working in pairs, which resulted in Milk. Other work has included the short drama Some Things I Don't Know, nominated for a children's BAFTA in 2001, a short film, Hunger, to be premiered at the Cork Film Festival, 2003, and The Last Game for BBC Radio Drama. He is currently concentrating on another radio play, and film and television work.

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THE SKATEGRINDER (shortlisted 2003) takes place in the frozen wastes of North America in the 1920s among Irish immigrants. When the father of one such family is caught in a snow storm he loses both legs to frostbite, and so his livelihood. His wife Kathleen and son Matty suffer from the man's bitterness at his double loss. When a travelling skategrinder arrives in the area Matty and, eventually, the deeply religious Kathleen become attached to him. The result is an escalation of violence and jealousy, through which healing and change finally take place.

Celia Bryce originally trained as a nurse. She writes short fiction, drama and poetry, and is also a singer songwriter. She is involved in 'Operating Theatre' which brings writing and drama to trainee doctors and nurses. She is a core fiction contributor to Women's Weekly, and her stories have also been published in Stand magazine, Cork Literary Review, and QWF. Three stories, Theresa's World, Sheets and Hughie's Picnic have been broadcast on Radio 4. She has written a number of short scripts for educational videos on diabetes, and is currently writing a children's novel. .


This play is about 5 women who meet at a silent retreat for the weekend. They vary in age - from early twenties to late 60s. They are all there for different reasons and strangely get to know each other through the silence. By the end of the week they have all learned something about themselves and each other - and have to return to their lives with decisions made or planned. The play was directed by Claire Grove and the cast was as follows:

Character (Actor)

Fay (Marlene Sidaway)
Annie (Tracey Wilkinson)
Grace (Carolyn Pickles)
Jo (Helen Longworth)
Lucy (Caroline Hayes)

More information about Shelley's work is shown on her own page. Click on RADIO PLAYS followed by LISTS.

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