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Award-winning playwright returns for masterclass

Posted on 4 February 2013

‘I do know the real thing when I see it. And Nick Payne, a playwright previously unknown to me, is at the beginning of a great career.’ John Lahr, The New Yorker

One of the UK’s leading young playwrights, Nick Payne, will return next week to conduct a masterclass at the University of York where he was a student just seven years ago.

Since graduating from York with a degree in English/Writing and Performance in 2006, he has carved out a successful theatre career with his awarding-winning plays being performed in both London and New York.

Nick Payne’s masterclass takes place in the University’s Department of Theatre, Film and Television on Heslington East on 13 February at 5.30pm. The event, which is free and open to all, will include an interview with the playwright, performances of sequences from his highly-praised play Constellations, and a dialogue with the audience.

Nick Payne was awarded the 2009 George Devine Award, the Harold Pinter Playwright’s Award, and the 2012 Evening Standard Award for Constellations which premiered at the Royal Court Theatre in London in January last year. The play, directed by Michael Longhurst, and featuring Rafe Spall and Sally Hawkins, later transferred to the West End in November.   

Last year also saw one of his earlier plays If There Is I Haven’t Found It Yet enjoy a New York run with a cast headed by Jake Gyllenhaal.  His other stage works include Wanderlust (Royal Court, 2010), One Day When We Were Young (Paines Plough/Sheffield Theatres, 2011), and Lay Down Your Cross (Hampstead Theatre, 2012).

Nick graduated just seven years ago and he returns to us garlanded with awards

Professor Mike Cordner

After graduating, Nick Payne studied at the Central School of Speech and Drama and on the Royal Court Young Writer’s Programme.  He is currently commissioned by Paines Plough, the Royal Court Theatre, and Manhattan Theatre Club/Alfred P Sloan Foundation.

The National Theatre has just announced that it will premiere his latest play in its autumn season this year.

Professor Mike Cordner, Ken Dixon Professor of Drama in the Department of Theatre, Film and Television, said: “Nick graduated just seven years ago and he returns to us garlanded with awards.   The speed with which he has achieved this degree of success and recognition is remarkable and richly merited.”

Notes to editors:

  • The Department of Theatre, Film and Television is one of four major academic buildings in the first phase of the University's £750 million campus extension at Heslington East, one of the biggest capital developments in UK higher education in recent years. Its development was supported by investment from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) in Yorkshire and the Humber, part of a major infrastructure project led by Science City York to extend the assets and strategic potential of York as a leading centre for science and innovation. More information at

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