Competition to be held in Yorkshire theatre manager’s memory

Walter Swan
Walter Swan
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Aspiring writers will be encouraged to enter a competition founded in the memory of a playhouse manager who died earlier this year.

The Walter Swan Playwriting Competition, which will be officially opened On Friday October 10, is a joint venture between the Ilkley Playhouse and the Ilkley Literature Festival and is supported by the West Yorkshire Playhouse.

It is open to young people and adults and will culminate in the winning plays being performed at both the West Yorkshire Playhouse and Ilkley Playhouse next autumn.

Mr Swan, 59, the Creative Development Manager of Ilkley Playhouse, died of a heart attack in April at his home in Burley in Wharfedale.

An Oxford graduate, Mr Swan had been a contributor to publications including The Yorkshire Post and produced several books with colleague and writing partner Yvette Huddleston. Mr Swan had also worked as a teacher before starting his tenure at Ilkley Playhouse, where he worked as the Artistic Director for several years before going on to manage the organisation.

Following his sudden death on Easter Monday, family and friends have been working to create a lasting legacy in his name.

His wife, Niccola Swan, 56, said: “Walter loved writing and we feel this will be a fitting tribute to him. We hope lots of people of all ages will feel inspired to take part in the competition.”

A memorial evening will be held at the Wharfeside Theatre at Ilkley Playhouse from 6.30pm next Friday, where friends and family of Mr Swan will talk about his life and work, the new charity set up in his name and the new playwriting competition.

Graham Smith, the chairman of the board of trustees at the Playhouse said: “Walter’s loss is immeasurable. He was a great actor and a very creative man. The Playhouse was his main interest in life outside of his family.”

More details will be available at www.walterswantrust.org.uk from October 10 when a memorial evening will also be held at Ilkley Playhouse.