Now Open: The Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting 2019

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Judges call for entries from anyone – irrespective of previous playwriting experience – with a story to tell.

We’re pleased to announce that this year’s Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting 2019 is now open for entries, and we’ve also introduced a few new categories - making the prize more inclusive than ever before.

Between now and June 2019, established writers and those who may never have written a play are encouraged to submit scripts through an anonymous judging process, which means that each entry is judged on its own merit. Successful scripts will then be developed for the stage in association with the Royal Exchange Theatre’s creative team.

The Bruntwood Prize is the biggest playwriting prize in Europe and offers the opportunity to writers of any background and experience to enter unperformed plays. The plays are judged by a panel of leading theatre industry experts including this year’s chair Kwame Kwei-Armah, Artistic Director of the Young Vic.

The prize comes with a total prize fund of £40,000 across four categories. As well as an overall winner, who takes home £16,000, there is a Judges Prize commendation of £8,000 and two new awards for 2019: a prize for debut plays (Original New Voice: £8,000) and new voices from Australia, Canada and the USA (International Award: £8,000).

Run in collaboration with the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester, the biennial competition was launched in 2005 and has awarded more than £250,000 in prize money to 28 writers. The playwriting prize can be a springboard to a writing career and previous winners include some of the UK’s most respected playwrights, such as 2013 winner Anna Jordan’s Bruntwood Prize-winning play, YEN, which was recently produced off-Broadway with Oscar-nominated actor Lucas Hedges.

The 2019 judging panel features some of the most high-profile names in British theatre plus a new addition for 2019 in ‘‘The People’s Judge’. Faith Yianni was selected following a search by the Prize and leading theatre critic Lyn Gardner for a member of the public to bring a fresh, new perspective to the judging process.

The Royal Exchange’s Sarah Frankcom said: “The Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting is a genuine endeavour to discover new voices and help playwrights develop their craft, providing everybody and anybody with the opportunity to write a play. It offers a fantastic opportunity to hone your writing skills, whether or not you have written for the stage before (35% of the entrants to the 2017 Prize had never written a play before). In addition to a high proportion of winning and shortlisted plays being produced professionally, each of the top 100 plays receives individual feedback from the Royal Exchange Theatre’s creative team.”

Kate Vokes, director of culture, added: “As a company, we’re committed to encouraging and promoting a wide range of cultural activity, making sure it is accessible to everyone and stimulating creativity, conversation and social consciousness.

“We’re proud to continue to help nurture some of this country’s most exciting talent through The Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting. The standard of entries is always phenomenally high, and we can’t wait to see what 2019 brings.”

The closing date for the 2019 competition is 6pm on Wednesday 5th June and the Prize will be awarded at a ceremony at the Royal Exchange on Monday 4th November.

To enter the 2019 competition, visit the website

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