The Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting is open to anyone aged 16+ in the UK, Ireland and the British Territories with a story to tell. The biennial prize is a partnership between property company Bruntwood, a major supporter of the arts, and world-class producing theatre, the Royal Exchange Theatre, in Manchester.
The Bruntwood Prize is now recognised as a launch-pad for some of the country’s most respected and produced playwrights and screenwriters. The judging process is completely anonymous, meaning each entry will be judged entirely on its own merit. Winning plays are selected across four categories, with each winner entering into a development process with the Royal Exchange Theatre in an endeavour to bring their work to production. This year also sees the introduction of a new category: the North West Original New Voice Award and Residency, in recognition of the Prize’s Manchester home.
The Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting is a genuine endeavour to discover new stories 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.
This year’s Judging panel consists of Nihal Arthanayake, television and BBC Radio 5 Live presenter; Miranda Cromwell, Olivier Award-winning Theatre Director; Julie Hesmondhalgh, award-winning actor and supporter of the Royal Exchange Theatre; kimber lee, winner of the inaugural Bruntwood Prize International Award in 2019; Farai Matekenya Nhakaniso, Local Exchange Ambassador for the Leigh area for the Royal Exchange Theatre; Kate Vokes, Non-Executive Director at Bruntwood, and Roy Alexander Weise, Joint Artistic Director at the Royal Exchange Theatre.
The anonymity of the submissions is vital to the ethos of the Prize as it ensures that scripts are judged on individual merit with no preconceptions about the identity of the playwright. Over 100 readers are employed to take the scripts through a rigorous process. These readers are directors, producers, designers, actors, dramaturgs, literary managers, critics, agents and previous winners. Once a script has been selected for the shortlist, it will have been read and championed by 16 different and distinct practitioners which we hope makes for a robust selection process.
The Writeaplay.co.uk website is our official website for The Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting. It also exists to support playwrights to develop their writing and benefit from other opportunities. It contains workshops with some of the country’s leading theatre practitioners, news on other opportunities and prizes as well as information on how to enter the Prize, history of the Prize and a range of other resources.