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Alumna becomes Laureate of Words in a double first

14 December 2020

Literature graduate takes public vote as Plymouth’s first playwright Laureate

A Plymouth-based playwright - and Cardiff alumna - has become the city’s first ever Laureate of Words.

Laura Horton (BA English Literature, 2006) becomes the first playwright and woman to hold the laureate role, picking up the baton from outgoing Poet Laureate, Thom Boulton.

The call for the new Laureate of Words was made far and wide to find a wordsmith to take up this new creative role, representing the maritime city in words.

A panel of partners across the city selected the shortlist of three, including playwright and director Jon Nash and poet Caitlin Brawn, to go through to the first ever public vote for the role.

The Plymouth Laureate of Words was announced in a live event on 4 December.

Playwright and publicist, Laura’s work includes the plays Giddy Tuppy (The Space, ONCOMM winner), A Summer of Birds (Plymouth Fringe, Toast of the Fringe), Labyrinth Diet (Arcola Theatre) and This I Believe (Theatre Royal Plymouth, Exeter Phoenix). She regularly leads playwriting groups and has pursued commissions for the National Theatre, Theatre Royal Plymouth and Somerset House as a publicist.

Over the two years of her Laureateship, Laura will respond to a series of commissions from partners and organisations across the maritime city, running a series of events for the public, including one for young people, as well as representing the city at occasions in the civic calendar.

Chief Executive of Plymouth Culture Hannah Harris explained the aims behind the new role:

“We wanted this opportunity to celebrate the diversity of literary work in the city from poetry to playwriting to the spoken work and this was certainly true of the submissions we received. It is important that the Laureate of Words is connected to and passionate about the city of Plymouth, which Laura certainly is.”

Speaking about her appointment, Laura said:

"To be the first woman in the role feels significant and I know I won't be the last. I'm excited to explore this role as the first playwright, illuminating the life, culture and stories of this historically rich city. I’m so grateful to Cardiff University for the support during the vote. I had such a wonderful time at university and it's played an important part in my writing journey "

Her first Laureate of Words commission is Caring and supporting one another: exploring how the community of Plymouth comes together.

The new role of Plymouth Laureate of Words has been made possible by Literature Works, Plymouth Culture and The Box.

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