Playwrights' Competition Calendar

February 2014

7th February

Submissions are now open for the James Tait Black Prize for Drama 2014.

“The James Tait Black Prizes are Britain’s oldest literary awards and were extended to include drama for the first time last year.

The £10,000 award is organised by the University of Edinburgh in partnership with National Theatre of Scotland and in association with the Traverse Theatre. It will be awarded to the best new play written in English, Scots or Gaelic.

Extracts of the winning production will be performed by National Theatre Scotland at Edinburgh’s Traverse Theatre during the Festivals in August. Submissions are free.


10th February


Royal & Derngate and HighTide Festival Theatre have launched the Royal & Derngate / High Tide Award, designed to commission a play which examines life outside of our major cities; an original piece which explores and has its roots in those towns and rural communities that make up the majority of the population.

Writers who already have a demonstrable commitment to writing for the stage are welcome to apply and the application form is now available to download here.

Please note that the closing date is 6pm on Mon 10 February 2014.

For any application queries, please contact or call 0207 566 9765.


14th February

Opening Lines

The BBC Radio Drama Readings Unit welcomes submissions from writers new to radio* for their annual series, Opening Lines which is broadcast on BBC Radio 4. The next window for sending in material is January 6th – February 14th 2014.We are unable to respond to unsolicited stories submitted outside this time-frame. As well as broadcasting the three strongest stories we publish transcripts of the best stories submitted within this period on the Opening Lines programme pages. The three successful writers will be invited to London for an afternoon in Broadcasting House and the chance to see their stories recorded.

We are looking for original short stories which work being read out loud i.e. with a strong emphasis on narrative and avoiding too much dialogue, character description and digression. Pay particular attention to how the story opens and closes. We’ll be looking to see whether the beginning of a story successfully links to how it ends.

The time allotted for each story is up to 14 minutes, which means submissions must be between 1,900 and 2,000 words in length. We are unable to consider stories which fall outside these parameters.


1st to 28th February

Theatre 503 Playwriting Competition

The Theatre503 Playwriting Award, which will be open to all writers over the age of 16 for an original unproduced full-length play, will also provide the winner with £6,000.

A panel comprising writers Dennis Kelly and Roy Williams, directors Marianne Elliott and Erica Whyman, critic Henry Hitchings and Royal Court Theatre literary manager Chris Campbell, will judge the competition.

All UK submissions to the competition will also be put forward for the fringe venue’s 18-month mentorship programme for five emerging playwrights, called 503 Five.


15th February


Over Here Theatre Company is seeking submissions of fifteen minute plays for ObamAmerica, a festival of new writing to be produced at Theatre503 in London in the spring of 2014. The festival, which will run 27 May to 7 June, is about life under the Obama administration, looking at all aspects from political to personal.

Although this is not a paid opportunity, selected plays will receive a full production.

How to submit:

Submissions should be sent in PDF or Word Documents to


21st February

First Break

Show off your writing skills in our First Break new writing competition. After the high quality of writing exposed from last year’s competition, we have teamed up again with Oldham Council Libraries in a search to find new talented writers.

We are asking writing enthusiasts to send us a dramatic monologue, up to 2000 words, exploring the theme of identity. A selection of these will be read by members of the Coliseum’s acting Company at a special event at the Coliseum Theatre on Wednesday 7 May.

Entries for the First Break Writing Monologue Competition should be posted, (2 hard copies please) to: First Break Writing Competition, L.E.D., Oldham Coliseum Theatre, Fairbottom Street, Oldham. OL1 3SW


24th February

Oxford Canal radio Playwriting Award

We are looking for four, brand new and exciting 10 minute radio plays about or inspired by
the Oxford Canal.
This is a wonderful opportunity for new writers: not only does it give you the opportunity to
have your play professionally recorded and broadcast on the Oxford Canal Heritage Project
website but also to attend script mentoring sessions with the internationally acclaimed
novelist and playwright Mark Haddon (The Curious Incident of the Dog in The Night-
Time), Golden Globe nominated Scriptwriter Paul Rutman (The Virgin Queen, Vera, Lewis)
and TV scriptwriter Katie Baxendale (Sugar Rush). From the four finalists, an overall
winning play will be selected by Phillip Pullman.
So take an inspiring stroll down the towpath and get writing.
The competition is open to all Oxfordshire residents aged 15 and over.
Plays should be no more than 10 pages long ( one page of radio script translates to about 90
seconds of air-time) and be about or inspired by the Oxford canal.
Entries in first draft form must be submitted to by the 24th of
February 2014

28th February

Sandalle’s Five n Ten Competition

5 minute monologue, 10 minute duologue competition

Entry fee: £6 single entry, £5 each for more than one.

Performance 8th June

More Details


28th February


This is open to anyone aged 16-30. Writers will need to submit a 30 minute original play that has not been performed before and is for no more than four actors.

The winning four plays will be performed in April 2014 by a cast of professional actors and each writer will gain the opportunity to work with an experienced writer and director to develop and bring their play to life. Finally writers will also receive a profit share. This is a unique opportunity and is completely free to be a part of.


28th February


Finally it is that time of year again that we are looking into all things LGBT. Queertet in now coming into its 3rd year and is getting bigger, bolder and brasher every time.

If you have a play that you think could be part of this glittery extravaganza, is around 30 minutes long and has a strong LGBT theme to it then please send it our way.

If you would like any further information about any of these three writers projects then please do not hesitate to contact one of the team on

If you have a piece you think would be perfect then please email it for consideration to with the name of the project in the title.


28th February

The Paul Darby Prize  

The winner will receive a prize of £1,000, together with a staging of their play at the renowned Questors Theatre in west London.
 The four short-listed finalists will have the opportunity to be involved in rehearsed readings of their plays at the Questors Theatre.
Paul Darby was committed to supporting new theatre, and his experience as a sound designer ranged across Oxford, London and Chichester. This prize in his memory will give favourable consideration to plays that make creative use of lighting and sound!
How to enter

  • Submit two copies of your script (which should be typed, double-spaced, and printed on one side of A4 paper only).
  • Do not write your name anywhere on your script – each page should include the title of the play and the page number.
  • Enclose your entry fee of £5 by cheque payable to Mrs S Darby.
  • Enclose one completed Entry Cover Sheet per play submitted.
  • The closing date for entries is 28 February 2014.
  • Entries received after this date will not be considered, but the entry fee will not be taken.
  • See the full terms and conditions.


28th February

BBC – The Show What you Wrote

The themes for each episode are:

1) Science and Nature

2) Geography

3) Art and Literature

4) Sport and Leisure

The show will be performed by four marvellous and versatile comic actors, two male, two female. Keep that in mind when writing sketches – something which needs a cast of thousands might not work – but you can write for a variety of ages and accents and you can vary the number of characters involved.

In contrast to Newsjack, we are not looking for any one-liners for this show, we’d like sketches only.

Please limit your submissions to a maximum of three sketches per episode. However, do remember that we’re looking for originality, so submitting very similar sketches for one episode is unlikely to increase your hit rate. If we want to see more from you then we’ll ask you, so please don’t over-submit initially.

•    Please include the episode that you’re submitting for in the email subject line, along with your name, as well as marking this clearly on the title page of your sketch. i.e. – ‘Science and Nature – Sketch Title – Carl Cooper’.

•    Please mark each of your sketches on every page with a header that includes:

• Your name, Your email address, The title of your sketch, The episode it relates to




  1. The George Devine Award is an annual prize, established in 1966 in honour of the first director of the Royal Court Theatre. The award is now administered by his daughter, Harriet Devine. While your play need not have been produced to be submitted, it’s worth noting that any list of past winners is made almost of award-winners and high-profile debut productions.

    What to submit: 2 copies of your script plus return SAE, and a summary of writing activities to date.

    Post to:
    Harriet Devine
    9 Lower Mall
    London W6 9DJ

    Comment by Alan — 01/04/2014 @ 12:24 | Reply

  2. Should have mentioned the deadline is 01 March annually

    Comment by Alan — 01/04/2014 @ 12:24 | Reply

    • Thanks Alan. Remind me next year. X

      Comment by Gina — 01/04/2014 @ 12:36 | Reply

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