Category Archives: Competitions

Red Planet Prize 2018

UK independent production company Red Planet Pictures have partnered with ITV Drama on The Red Planet Prize 2018, in the new search for emerging writing talent who can create fresh and inspiring popular TV drama content. The winner of The Red Planet Prize, initially launched in 2007, will get a script commission and development opportunities with ITV.

Red Planet Pictures is home to popular dramas including DickensianThe Ark to Death in Paradise (by a previous Prize finalist), whilst ITV has always played a vital part in the landscape of British drama with shows including Cracker and Band of Gold, to the more recent Liar, Cold Feet and Broadchurch.

The Red Planet Prize 2018 is looking for writers who can create characters that make audiences sit up and unmissable stories that demand to be watched. Writers will be asked to think big, think bold, think how they can make their idea stand out in a competitive marketplace.

Eligibility: Screenwriters must be based in the UK and the original TV idea should not be in development with another broadcaster or production company.

What to submit/How to apply:

  • an existing original spec script, full length and could be for any medium; TV, film, radio, theatre
  • a one/two-page pitch for an original TV serial/series idea for ITV
  • a short CV highlighting any previous writing credits (these are not essential to enter)

Up to ten shortlisted writers will then be invited to a pitching master-class with Red Planet Pictures CEO Tony Jordan (Life On Mars, Hustle, Dickensian) and ITV’s Head of Drama, Polly Hill and Victoria Fea, ITV’s Senior Drama Commissioner, who, along with actor Adrian Lester OBE (Riviera, Hustle, and next year’s new ITV three-part drama, Trauma, alongside John Simm), make up the judging panel.

Hopefuls will then be asked to write the first ten pages of their original idea, and hone their pitch and series outline. The strongest ideas will have development input and up to four writers will be invited to final interview, from which the ultimate winner will be chosen. The successful writer will get a script commission and development opportunities with ITV.

Submissions are open from Thursday 1st February 2018 with deadline Friday 9th February 2018 via the Red Planet Pictures website.

Deadline: Friday 9 February 2018* (*Note: submissions window does not open until Thursday 1 February 2018)

Source: BBC Writersroom

Waterloo Festival Publishing Competition

Waterloo Festival 2018 will launch its publishing initiative on June 14th, 2018 at St John’s Waterloo, London. This is a call for submissions to a writing competition.

They are aiming to present the bold and best writing to highlight new talent.

They are working with Bridge House, an independent UK publisher. They will e-publish selected submissions, available through Amazon or direct from the publisher.

Waterloo Festival will also be presenting three-minute snippets from submissions at the launch. All entries selected for publication will get a free invitation to the launch.

What to submit:

  • Prose or monologue.

  • 1000 maximum word limit

  • The topic is To Be … To Become. Please interpret this freely. It can be serious, sad, happy, hysterical … you choose!

How to apply:

  • Email submissions only to

  • In the subject line, please put Waterloo Festival, your name and title of the story or monologue

  • Send the submission as a .doc or .docx attachment. It should be double-spaced. Please do not put an extra double-space between paragraphs but do indent new paragraphs.

  • Use a regular font e.g. Times New Roman or Arial, 12 point

  • In the header of the submission include the name by which you would like to be known and the title of the text.

  • In the footer please include your legal name and full contact details, including your preferred email address and telephone number. Please use the header and footer function to create headers and footers.

  • Please add a third person bio at the end of your text – between 50 and 70 words and include a URL if you wish.

Deadline: 31 March 2018 at 5pm

Source: Direct contact

James Tait Black Prize for Drama 2018 open to submissions from theatres and agents (£10,000 prize)

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

The £10,000 award is bestowed to the best original new play produced from 1 January – 31 December 2017.

Agents and producing companies are invited to submit plays to the Department of English Literature by 22 January 2018.

Judges will award the accolade to a play which displays an original voice in theatre and one that they feel has made a significant and unique contribution to the art form.

The winner will be announced at an award ceremony held at The Traverse Theatre during the August 2018 Edinburgh Fringe, where extracts of the shortlisted plays will be performed.


Submissions must be made from agents or the original producing company, and the nominator must have permission from the playwright before making a submission.

If the play is shortlisted, the playwright must agree to co-operate with the organisers in the award ceremony and consent to give rights to Playwrights’ Studio, Scotland for a rehearsed reading of their work.

Eligible plays are those over sixty minutes in playing time, originally written in English (including all standard and non-standard varieties) Scots or Gaelic, first produced between 1 January and 31 December 2017, and performed by a professional company for more than six performances.

A typed copy of the script must be sent by post and email with details of the first production, which should include venue, company and date. Where possible, proof of production should be sent such as a flyer, review etc.

The playwright must have been commissioned formally by a professional organisation using a contract recognised by an industry regulator within the country of production (e.g. in the UK, the Theatrical Management Association (TMA), Equity, Independent Theatre Council (ITC) or Federation of Scottish Theatre).

The production must have had a full production by a professional company using professionally contracted personnel.

How to apply: Theatre companies and agents are invited to submit scripts by 22 January 2018.

Two copies must be submitted: one digital copy and one hard copy, along with a completed submission form, which can be dowloaded from the prize’s website.

Submissions should be sent to the Department of English Literature at the University of Edinburgh. (Addresses available in the application information on the website.)

Deadline: 22 January 2018

Source: @Playwriting_UK

Barnes Film Festival short film competition (under 25’s, entry £10)

Barnes Film Festival, a film festival now in its second year, exists to support and encourage children and young people into film.

They are running a short film competition for under 25s, in three categories: under 12 (up to three minutes), 13-18 (up to five minutes) and 19-25 (up to ten minutes), on the theme ‘Blue Dot’ (inspired by astronomer and philosopher Carl Sagan’s quote imagining the view of planet Earth from afar as a ‘pale blue dot’). Films can be fiction, documentary, or animation.

Shortlisted entries will be judged by a panel of well-known names from the world of TV and film, and will be screened during the festival which runs in Barnes south-west London from 29th September to 1st October.

The entry fee is £10.

How to apply: find more information at

Deadline: 1 September 2017

Source: direct contact

G64 Festival running ‘Truth or Dare Festival’ competitions for playwrights age 4-18

As part of G64 Theatre for Young People’s Truth or Dare Festival, they are running a playwriting competition.

There are two age categories:

  • Age 4-11
  • Age 12-18

The winning plays will be performed by G64 actors at Putney Arts Theatre in December as part of the festival.

What to submit: Plays should meet the following criteria:

  • 2-6 characters
  • No longer than ten minutes
  • Theme:  Your play must be based around the theme ‘Truth or Dare’.  You could just use the word/idea of ‘truth’ or just ‘dare’ or the words together. It might be a comedy or something more serious – all styles are welcome!
  • Your play must be suitable to be performed by young people

How to apply:  Please email your play to and include your name, age, contact number, and email address.

Alternatively you can send your play and applying information to Putney Arts Theatre, Ravenna Road, London SW15 6AW.

Deadline: 10 July 2017

Source:  @Playwriting _UK



Yale Drama Series Competition 2018

The Yale Drama Series is an annual, international competition for emerging playwrights. The winner is awarded the David Charles Horn Prize of $10,000, publication of the winning play by Yale University Press and a staged reading at Lincoln Center Theater in New York City.

Winners are chosen by the preeminent playwrights of our time. Edward Albee served as the Series’ inaugural judge (2007-2008), followed by Sir David Hare (2009-2010), John Guare (2011-2012), Marsha Norman (2013-2014), Nicholas Wright (2015-2016), and Ayad Akhtar (2017-2018).

What to submit:  A full-length play in English (worldwide submissions accepted).  Playwrights may submit only one manuscript per year.  No application form is required beyond the play itself.

The manuscript must begin with a title page that shows the play’s title and your name, address, telephone number, e-mail address (if you have one), page count and (if applicable) a list of acknowledgments; a second title page which lists the title of the play only, a 2-3 sentence keynote description of the play,  a list of characters, and a list of acts and scenes.

A brief biography may be included in the digital application form.

Full submission details can be found on their website.

How to apply:  They encourage electronic submissions, which can be made at the following address:

What you get:  The winner of this annual competition will be awarded the David Charles Horn Prize of $10,000, publication of his/her manuscript by Yale University Press, and a staged reading at Lincoln Center Theater.

Deadline: 15 August 2017

UK-wide workshops and talks to get you ready for Verity Bargate Award (Free-£30)

The Verity Bargate Award, one of the biggest UK playwriting competitions, is holding a series of workshops around the country with leading playwrights to share their top tips as you get your play ready to enter the contest.

Workshops in London: £30 workshops at the Soho Theatre run from 15 April 15-15 June 2017. To book for the workshops with James Graham, Charlotte Josephine, Inua Ellams, Phoebe Eclair-Powell & Theresa Ikoko or Vinay Patel Click here

Do you live outside London? The VBA is offering  free 30 minute talks with Q&A sessions at workshops around the country at the following venues:

West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds
Wed 12 Apr, 6pm

Liverpool Playhouse and Everyman
Tue 18 Apr, 5pm

The Royal Exchange, Manchester
Wed 19 Apr, 6pm

The Abbey, Dublin
Sat 29 Apr, 2pm

Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh
Sat 29 Apr, 3pm

Live Theatre, Newcastle Sat 6 May, 1pm

Theatre Royal, Plymouth
Sat 13 May,11am

Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff 2pm, Saturday 13 May

For details about these workshops click here.

About the Verity Bargate Award: The Verity Bargate Award winner receives £7000 in respect of an exclusive option for Soho Theatre to produce the play.

The award was established in 1982 to honour Soho Theatre’s co-founder and is presented biennially to an artist resident in the UK or Ireland with fewer than three professional productions.

The prestigious biennial Award seeks stand out inspiring new writing talent with past winners including Vicky Jones and Matt Charman.

Writers may submit one unproduced, unpublished full-length play (not shorter than 70 minutes). There is no restriction to subject matter. Musicals and other forms of theatre are welcome but will only be judged on the text submitted.

This year the award is sponsored by production company Character 7 and one writer will be offered the opportunity to develop their storytelling skills for TV drama. The Character 7 prize will be a separate agreement between Character 7 and the chosen writer.

The following are not eligible: playwrights with three or more professional productions to their credit (defined as those produced under ITC/TMA/WGGB contracts), plays commissioned by Soho Theatre, previous Verity Bargate Award winners and plays that have already been considered by Soho Theatre’s literary department. Submitted plays must be unencumbered and available.

What to submit: The play must have a title page with the author’s name, address, email address and telephone number. In addition, writers must include a CV including listing of all works written/produced, when and where. Plays will only be accepted by email, in a PDF format, other formats cannot be accepted. Soho is not able to consider any other supporting material including music, video, or images.

How To Apply: Please email your submission to

Deadline: 5 July 2017 at 12pm

Source: The Soho Theatre Website

London Short Film Festival open for 2018 submissions (entry fee $6.50- $38)

While not strictly for playwrights this may be of interest to all you creatives out there…

The London Short Film Festival is looking for submissions as it returns for it’s 15th anniversary from 5-14 January 2018.

LSFF says it accepts both UK and international submissions “presenting a diverse and confrontational programme that holds up a mirror to our rapidly changing world.

“We screen over 450 films each year bringing London audiences the freshest new talent from around the globe, as well as providing a platform for both emerging and established filmmakers.”

What to submit: 

  • LSFF is a BAFTA affiliated Festival (for UK submissions only) – accepted UK filmmakers can apply for the 2018 BAFTAs, as long as they are also accepted by a second BAFTA affiliated Festival (please check current BAFTA rules & regulations)
  • Submissions are open to short films from every genre – drama, comedy, horror & sci-fi, documentary, experimental, animation, music, viral and low-budget work.
  • Films must have been completed after August 2016.
  • Films must be no longer than 45 minutes.
  • LSFF does not require any premiere status.
  • LSFF accepts UK and international submissions.
  • Should your film be selected, you will be required to provide a Quicktime ProRes file and a DCP of your film.

How to apply: Via this link


 UK submissions: 

  • UK Early bird deadline — Friday 21 April: $20
  • UK Regular deadline — Friday 30 June: $25
  • UK Late deadline — Monday 21 August: $38
  • Lo-budget films under 5 minutes — $6.50 (all deadlines)

International submissions:

  • International Early bird deadline — Friday 21 April: $28
  • International Regular deadline — Friday 30 June: $38
  • International Lo-budget films under 5 minutes — $15 (all deadlines)
  • Please note that as Film Freeway is used as the submissions platform, all transactions are listed in $ but reflect LSFF’s usual GBP pricing. 

Deadline: various as listed above, but final UK deadline is 21 August 2017

Source: Kevin Spacey Foundation


Bruntwood Prize 2017 announces free online workshop programme

The Bruntwood Prize – the biggest playwriting competition in the UK – has announced its 2017 live online workshop programme, which should help you get your scripts ready before the June deadline.

Bruntwood says: “We’re pleased to announce our 2017 live online workshop programme, and for the first time we will offer three international workshops in Australia, India and New York.

“These free workshops, led by prominent figures working internationally in theatre, are open to anyone and offer a chance for budding playwrights to develop their craft.”

Who’s involved? Workshop leaders will include; the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, Suzan-Lori Parks; associate artist of Third Angel and the Royal Exchange, Chris Thorpe; agent and dramaturg, Mel Kenyon; and previous Bruntwood Prize winner and 2017 judge, Phil Porter.

Where are the workshops coming from? The five UK-based workshops will be hosted at the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester, who co-founded the Prize with the Bruntwood property group in 2005. The international partners will be Playwriting Australia at The Arts Exchange in Sydney, James Madison University in Delhi and the Public Theater in New York City.

How do I get to see them? The workshops will be live streamed at where there will also be a chance to interact via social media. All workshops will later be available as a free resource tool for anyone to access afterwards.


APRIL de ANGELIS | Ambition, Scale, Honesty & Imagination
1 March, 6pm-8pm

OMAR EL-KHAIRY | Research and Political Writing: from Responsibility to Representation
16 March, 6pm-8pm

RACHEL DE-LAHAY | Character, Journey & Dialogue
23 March, 6pm-8pm

ABHISHEK MAJUMDAR | Playwriting on the Indian Subcontinent
8 April, 12.30-2.20pm GMT

PHIL PORTER | Make them Laugh
11 April, 6pm-8pm

CHRIS THORPE | Writing Collaboratively, Writing for Performance, Performing your Work
26 April, 6pm-8pm

JOANNA MURRAY-SMITH | Life Experience & the Dramatic Journey
4 May, 6pm-8pm GMT

20 May, 7pm-9pm GMT 

MEL KENYON | Re-Drafting & Taking Notes
24 May, 6pm-8pm

Source: @Playwriting_UK