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CHERIE Booth QC is backing a campaign to find the country’s finest undiscovered play writing talent.

Top television writers Jimmy McGovern and Colin McKeown have teamed up with children's charity Barnardo's for a competition to write a ten-minute play in less than six weeks.

Last year, the competition which is called Ten Play was piloted in Liverpool and raised more than £2,000 for the children’s charity.

It proved such a success that this year, to celebrate the 100th anniversary since the death of Thomas Barnardo, the founder of the charity, people from across the country are being invited to take part.

Cherie Booth QC, President of Barnado’s, has pledged her support for the competition.

She said: “Such projects that help to raise money for a charity as important as Barnardo’s are vital and always much appreciated.”

Last year's winner - dyslexic, unemployed builder John Forde - got to see a special performance of his play, A Man of Principle, starring actress Gillian Kearney, of Shameless and The Forsyte Saga, and Brookside actor Sean McKee .

Since then, Forde, 45, from Speke, has gone on to work with Cracker writer Jimmy McGovern on a number of different projects.

This year, McGovern and McKeown are lining up Liverpool-born actor David Morrissey, who is currently filming Basic Instinct 2 with Sharon Stone, and Game On actress Samantha Janus to perform in the best three plays when they are staged later in the year.

The duo is hoping to show the winning plays at Liverpool’s Royal Court Theatre.

"The North West has always been teeming with exciting new writers," explained McGovern.

"But even knowing that, we were staggered with the quality of last year's entries.

"Hopefully, this year's competition will provide another chance for some of the region's untapped talent to get the recognition they deserve."

Writers are being given until July 18 to put together a script for a ten-minute play. It can be on any subject and can feature one actor or several. Entry costs £15 and winners will be announced on August 15.

Sue Hayes, director, Barnardo’s North West, said: “Barnado’s North West is delighted to be involved with the Ten Play Competition. It’s an exciting initiative which not only helps identify and develop local talent, but also raises vital funds to help the most vulnerable children and young people across the North West.”

All funds will be used to support the 35 Barnardo's projects in the North West of England, helping children affected by today’s most urgent issues: poverty, homelessness, disability, bereavement and abuse.

All Ten Play copies should be sent to Rachel Jones, Barnardo’s Regional Office, 7 Lineside Close, Liverpool, L25 2UD

Note to Editors

For more information, call Louise Davies at Mason Media on 0151 707 4515 or Cathy Sheel, Barnardo’s media office on 0151 488 1115.

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