Good news from Manchester, where the Contact Theatre has just won Pounds 15,000 from the National Lottery Charities Board. The money will fund the Piccadilly Project, the year-long pilot that has been developing work with homeless people and those affected by homelessness in the city centre.
As well as weekly drama workshops, the project has already led to two performances. The Lottery money will ensure the continuation of the project from next January to spring 1997. Lisa Renowden, head of community education at Contact says "This enables the department to develop our aim of reaching those people in the community who do not have easy access to arts."
This year's Linbury Prize for Stage Design, the only such award in this country committed to theatre design, has gone to Es Devlin for her work on Edward II for the Bolton Octagon Theatre. The two runner- ups are Fred Gerssen for Widows at the Traverse Theatre and Agnes Treplin for Look! No Hands! and Jump into my Sack for the Mecklenburgh Opera. All the winners receive cash prizes and design commissions worth Pounds 2,500 each. An exhibition of work by this year's young stage designers can be seen in the Lyttelton Circle Foyer at the National Theatre.
More awards. This time, it's the 1995 Guardian International Student Award, which has been won by Amen Theatre Company's The North Pole. The students, all in the final year at Rose Bruford College, also picked up the Independent's "Pick of the Day" at Edinburgh after premiering at this year's National Student Drama Festival, where it won yet another award. Formed a year ago by Benedick Cooper and Amanda Hill, the company plans to tour another new play in February. For more information ring Benedick Cooper at Rose Bruford College on 0181 300 3024.
Diane Samuels' award-winning play Kindertransport is now available in print. Nick Hern Books has published the play, first staged at the Cockpit in London and then at the Manhattan Theater Club in New York, complete with several personal testimonies of former Kindertransport children from Germany, now British citizens in their 50s and 60s. Kindertransport is priced Pounds 6.99.
Do you know any school leavers who don't know what to do in their gap year? You might want to tell them about the new Young Globe Theatre Company. Not to be confused with Shakespeare's Globe on London's south bank, this is a Cheltenham-based company which, from next September, has 30 places for 18 to 20-year-olds who enjoy theatre work. Set up by Rory O'Sullivan, drama master at Bedford School, the company tours Shakesepare and other classics to schools, colleges, arts centres and theatres. Participants learn all aspects of stage management, lighting and sound. Only in its first year, funding for the company is reliant on student fees, but O'Sullivan hopes to obtain outside support once the project proves itself. For more information, contact Rory O'Sullivan on 01242 580663.
If you move quickly, you can just make the gala performance tomorrow night of a rather different Romeo and Juliet. If, that is, you're in the neighbourhood of Cumbria. The production is being put on by Sedbergh and Casterton Schools and what makes the production different apart from the fact that it is being performed in the round, is the fact that the schools are taking the whole show, lock, stock and barrel, on a 10-day tour of high schools in and around Boston, Massachussetts in December. If you want to see them before they take off, contact the box office manager at Sedbergh School on 015396 20247.