Nancy Medina awarded the £25,000 Genesis Foundation Prize 2024

27 March 2024

Nancy Medina, Artistic Director at Bristol Old Vic, has been awarded the 2024 Genesis Foundation Prize. The Genesis Foundation Prize recognises an outstanding mentor of artistic talent whose work has effected real change in the practice and careers of arts professionals or graduates. Now in its twelfth year, it is the only prize to acknowledge mentors in the arts and, through its £25,000 prize funding, to give winners the means to invest further in their work.

Nancy will be using her Genesis Foundation Prize money to launch her ambitious plans for the development of new British writing at Bristol Old Vic.  This includes BOV’s flagship The Five-Year Commitment, which supports writers at different stages of their careers: one legacy, one mid-career, and an early-career writer, and the return of a dedicated Literary Department which will focus on supporting writers, stories and script development.

Nancy said: “I hope this new approach to artist development makes clear our ambition to become a leading venue for new British writing and a home for writers in Bristol and the South West region. I’m incredibly honoured to receive the 2024 Genesis Foundation Prize which enables us to begin this work in earnest.”

Nancy has been a part of the Genesis community since she directed Dael Orlandersmith’s Yellowman at the Young Vic as the 2017 Genesis Future Directors Award winner, which nurtures and develops emerging directors as they create their first fully resourced production, without the scrutiny of the media.

John Studzinski, Founder & Chairman of the Genesis Foundation, said: “We are delighted to reward Nancy with the Genesis Foundation Prize 2024. We first recognised Nancy’s talent as a director in 2017 when she received the Young Vic’s Genesis Future Directors Award: this continued support shows our belief in Nancy’s work and in her value as a mentor to other artists. We were impressed with her ambitious plans for The Five Year Commitment at Bristol Old Vic and hope this programme will show how vital it is, perhaps now more than ever, for the creative industries to hold space for writers, to nurture them and invest in their long-term literary development.”

This shift marks an evolution of BOV’s artist support activity, moving away from the long-running Ferment programme into a new model that aims to make clear how artist development work is indivisible from any other aspect of BOV’s programme. This transformation marks the conclusion of Nancy Medina’s first full year as Artistic Director and sets the 258-year-old theatre’s creative agenda for the next five years.

The new Literary Department will focus its support on writers through a range of opportunities; from new commission strands and writers’ residencies to partnerships with other organisations that aim to deliver specific support within the wider creative ecology in Bristol, the Southwest and nationally.

Ben Atterbury, Literary Manager, said: “The South West and the rest of the UK continues to produce amazing writers whose work can be seen on stages and screens all over the country. However, there are challenges when it comes to consistent and long-term commitment in a landscape where often writers are working in the short-term; we want to give writers the opportunity to build their craft and their voice over time and within the holding of a singular place.”

Inspired by the long-term commitments made by residencies in theatres such as the Signature in New York, BOV’s The Five-Year Commitment will give three writers the time and space to build their craft by putting their work into a dialogue with audiences. In addition, the theatre will use its programme resources over those five years to support the space between those commissions, connecting them with each other and ensuring they feel embedded and at home at BOV. (Writers to be selected in Summer 2024, full details to be published soon). 

Find out more about the Genesis Foundation Prize

A photo of Nancy Medina stood inside the Bristol Old Vic foyer. She is leaning on a wooden rail, wearing a black long-sleeved dress and smiling at the camera.

(c) Barbara Evripidou