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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Theatre503’s Playwriting Award

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Theatre503’s Playwriting Award is an unprecedented opportunity for playwrights at all levels to be recognised for writing an outstanding, original piece of work for the stage. It will build upon the foundation of the venue’s reputation for engaging with the next generation of playwrights, whilst broadening its opportunities to include more experienced, produced writers.

This biennial award has been made possible by the generous support of The Richard Carne Trust, Curtis Brown Creative and Arts Council England.

The winner of the award will receive a financial prize of £6000 and a guaranteed production of their winning play at Theatre503.


The 503Five is an eighteen month Resident Writer Training Programme for developing playwrights. It provides the five chosen writers with a full-length play commission, a personal industry mentor, workshops and masterclasses led by industry professionals, practical opportunities to develop their work, varying public presentations, and the vital experience of working in a writer-centric new writing theatre.

Writers applying for the 503Five should have no full-length professional production credits, defined by a run of 3 weeks or more and which has received coverage from the national press.

Submission Process

There will be one submission process only for The 503 Playwriting Award and the 503Five. If you wish to be considered for the 503Five you must submit an application for this process.

The 2014 Theatre503 Playwriting Award/503Five will open for entries between 1st and 31st March 2014.

Applications will be made using an online form directly accessible via a one-click Award Button located on the Theatre503 homepage. This button will go live on 1st March 2014.

Writers will need to complete the application form in full, which will include submitting a 200 word biography, a 50 word synopsis of your play, and the full length play in PDF form only.

Writers may submit one full-length play (min. 60 minutes stage time) only. This must be an original, unproduced work, unperformed anywhere in the world, apart from rehearsed/staged readings and workshops.

Co-written plays are accepted for the award. If the writers in question are then considered for the 503Five they will be asked to submit individual work.

Writers are free to submit for the process with a work that has previously been considered by this or another theatre.

Post Submission Process

503 Playwriting Award

All writers will be notified as to the outcome of their submission at specific stages in the process. The first will be the long-list, followed later by the short-list. This contact will be a standard email and Theatre503 will be unable to provide feedback or enter into discussion about those decisions on an individual basis.

The winner of the New Playwriting Award will be announced in November 2014.


Irrespective of the outcome of an individual’s award submission, all candidates submitting for the 503Five will be considered separately. The winner of the Award will not be eligible for the 503Five. Those writers long-listed for the 503Five will be asked to submit a further application and at this point those who have not been successful will also be contacted. This will happen in Autumn 2014.

Terms and Conditions

Any play or writer that does not meet the criteria set out below will be disqualified.

  • Whilst submissions should be made in your own name, the reading process will, in part, be anonymous. Therefore please do not include your name or contact details anywhere in the body of the script.
  • The online portal will be open for submissions from Saturday 1st March to Monday 31st March (inclusive). Any entries received before or after this time will not enter the reading process.
  • All questions on the submission form marked with an asterisk must be completed.
  • Only entries submitted online as requested will be accepted. Please do not submit any material by any other means. E.g. on paper, email, CDs, digital media.
  • Plays must be written in the English language.
  • Plays must have never been professionally optioned, produced or published.
  • Only one script per writer may be submitted.
  • Plays may have been submitted to other playwriting competitions, however points 15, 16 and 17 below must be observed at all times.
  • Theatre503 must be informed immediately should you wish to withdraw your play at any point.

By submitting a script for consideration you agree that:

  • The text itself does not contain any detail of your identity.
  • You are the writer of the play and exclusively own and control all copyright and all other related rights to the play.
  • The play is at least 60 minutes in stage time.
  • The play is an original, unperformed, unpublished work for the stage and has not been produced anywhere in the world.
  • The play is available for production and unattached to any other theatre or company.
  • If you are the winner, or are selected to join the 503Five, your play will be automatically under option to Theatre503 for a period of eighteen months after the announcement of the award winner or the 503Five members, whichever is applicable.
  • You will not be entitled to any production related fees other than Theatre503’s standard percentage of gross box office receipts.
  • Upon the occurrence of any event of force majeure or incapacity, Theatre503 shall not be obliged to produce any work.

Final judging panel includes: Dennis Kelly (Matilda The Musical, Utopia), Chris Campbell (Literary Manager, Royal Court Theatre), Erica Whyman (Associate Artistic Director, RSC and Chair, Theatre503), Roy Williams (Sing Yer Heart Out For The Lads, Suckerpunch), Henry Hitchings (Evening Standard) and Marianne Elliot (Associate Director National Theatre, War Horse, Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night Time).

For all enquiries email literary@theatre503.com

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