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Send Us Work

The Royal Exchange has hit a seam of remarkable young writing talent. The Guardian

Send Us Work

At the Royal Exchange Theatre we are passionate about new writing and forge relationships with playwrights throughout their careers. We believe that new writing should reflect and respond to the contemporary world. At its best it articulates the questions and provocations at the heart of today’s society.

Each year, the Royal Exchange Theatre produces, on average, seven or eight productions in our Theatre and three or four productions in our Studio. Our productions include a range of classics, new plays, new translations and new adaptations and we engage with writers across a variety of forms. Like most large-scale and regional theatres, we will plan far in advance.

The different ways we engage with writers and support their work

THE LITEARY OFFICE receives work directly from writers with whom we have already forged a relationship. We also work closely with our industry partners such as literary agents, other theatres, producers or directors to read and respond to new work. The Literary Office manages relationships with writers including commissions of new work and adaptations and facilitating script development workshops and rehearsed reading events.

New writing has a special kind of energy… The Royal Exchange Theatre [has] a strong commitment to new works. The Observer

SPECIAL PROJECTS have included partnerships with a range of theatre companies to support writers nationally and internationally and to commission new work from playwrights. Recent highlights have included: HUNGER FOR TRADE, an international collaboration across Europe, Africa and Asia in response to the global food crisis; LIGHT AND SHADOW, a collaboration with Wilma Theater in Philadelphia involving UK and US playwrights creating work in response to our production of ORPHEUS DESCENDING by Tennessee Williams and; SKYLINES, a collaboration with Theatre Centre to support writers in the North West writing for children and young people.

OUR PARTICIPATION AND LEARNING PROGRAMME allows us to meet and support writers who have taken part in the theatre’s adult programme of work, been a member of our young company, attended one of our workshops or studied on the degree programmes we support at the University of Manchester and the University of Salford.

THE BRUNTWOOD PRIZE FOR PLAYWRITING is our biennial competition and is open to anyone who has written a play and lives in the UK. The competition allows us to read work from a range of playwrights from all over the UK at varying stages of their careers. Winning plays often go on to have full productions in one of our spaces.

The competition is a fantastic opportunity that can change your life and the deadline is brilliant, because it forces you to get on with it. Vivienne Franzmann, Winner of the 2008 Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting

THE BRUNTWOOD HUB supports seven specially invited writers to take part in a programme offering one-to-one dramaturgical support and workshops with industry leading playwrights and theatre makers to help them develop a play for a big space such as the Royal Exchange Theatre. It is delivered in partnership with our regional partners Bolton Octagon, Live Theatre, Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse, Northern Stage and West Yorkshire Playhouse.

A writer’s life can often be quite solitary and the main benefit of the process has been exploring the premise of a ‘big play’ with a group of other writers. It allows you to swap ideas, compare ward wounds and be reminded that writing is far from a romantic existence… it’s one of blood, sweat and paper cuts. Lee Mattinson, Bruntwood Hub Writer, nominated by Live Theatre

THE WRITEAPLAY WEBSITE is an online resource for writers that includes online tutorials and suggestions from experienced playwrights and past Bruntwood winners as well as regularly updated posts about other playwriting competitions and script writing opportunities across the UK.

THE SCRIPT WINDOW is usually open twice a year (but not during years when the Bruntwood Competition takes place, for example, 2015). From 2014 the Script Window is only open to writers living within the North West (see below for more specific areas covered). The Script Window allows us to receive unsolicited scripts and engage with local writers whose work might not reach us in other ways. During each window we have a team of dedicated script readers who have experience in theatre and new writing who help us to read and respond to scripts.

The Script Window (for writers based in the North West)

The 2014 Script Window is now closed. 

Please note there will be no Script Window during 2015 due to THE BRUNTWOOD PRIZE FOR PLAYWRITING 2015. Please submit your play to the competition instead. More details available at www.writeaplay.co.uk 

The Script Window is an opportunity for us to discover new voices and meet playwrights within the North West (see below for more specific areas covered) who we may not already have a relationship with. It is a great way for us to learn more about you as a writer including your voice and your interests.

We are interested in reading work by playwrights who demonstrate a skill and ambition to rise to the challenge of writing for our unique spaces and with whom we can create a long-term supportive relationship and investment. It is very unlikely that a script sent in through our script window will receive a full production at our theatre. However, it may be the start of a longer conversation and journey between us both.
As an introduction to the theatre, please consider whether this is the best example of your work at this stage of your development as a playwright. Only send your script to us when it is ready and the formatting is clear.

Before you submit work to us, please read the following guidelines:

• Playwrights submitting work must live in the North West. We define the North West to include: Cheshire, Cumbria, Derbyshire, Greater Manchester, Lancashire, Merseyside, Staffordshire and West Yorkshire. Please include your postal address in the body of the email.

• We are only able to accept one script per playwright

• Please include a cast list and any potential doubling.

• Make sure the pages are numbered.

• Following the success of the anonymous script submission for the Bruntwood Prize, please remove your name and contact details from the script attachment. The reader will then read your script as an anonymous submission. 

• Please email your script to literary@royalexchange.co.uk and mark the subject line “SCRIPT WINDOW AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2014”

• As the script will be anonymous (remember to remove your name from the document), please include the following in the body of the e-mail to be read solely by the New Writing Associate: your name, postal address, contact number and e-mail address.

• Please write a short paragraph about yourself and your experience to date.

• Please include a short paragraph about what the play is about for you, what has driven you to write this play or what is the question you wish to pose and explore at the heart of the play (not a synopsis).

• Please note that the Royal Exchange Theatre is not able to consider the following scripts: radio, television and film scripts, novels and poetry, adaptations, musicals or synopsis only submissions.

• We will acknowledge receipt of your script and offer feedback on it. The aim of this feedback is to suggest where the play impressed or intrigued us and where we feel there may be potential to explore further. This isn’t intended as a set of notes for a next draft or instructions on how to write the play more successfully but more a series of provocations and questions to hopefully enable you to write the play you want to write. If you do not wish to receive this feedback, please state this in your e-mail.

• Upon receipt of your script we will send you a link to complete a short survey to help us monitor the effectiveness of our Equal Opportunities Policy. It should only take a few minutes to complete and all information will be treated confidentially and will be separate from your play submission and your personal details.

• For more information on some of the things that our readers may consider, click here

• We would also recommend that you check out our Bruntwood Prize website which has a wealth of resources and insights from experienced playwrights that may be useful for you to consider before submitting your play to the Royal Exchange Theatre. These can be found at www.writeaplay.co.uk

Completing this draft of your play and sending it to a theatre is a major achievement and something of which to be proud. However, it is only the beginning of the journey.