The 2018 Hodgkiss Award

The Royal Exchange Theatre and Susan Hodgkiss are excited to announce the launch of the Hodgkiss Award 2018.

This game-changing prize, which was last awarded in 2016, will support the realisation of a brand new piece of ambitious theatre made by an artist or company from the North of England. Building on the legacy of the 2016 Prize and in direct response from artists feedback, we are delighted to be working with The Yard, London, and ARC, Stockton on the 2018 Prize.

The Yard and Arc will be key partners during the selection process and the winning production will transfer to both venues following its premiere at the Exchange, allowing the work further development, audience and critical reach.

The Award is for an exceptional artist or company based in the North of England who has a bold, original idea for a piece of live performance-based work. The winning idea will be inventive, urgent and unconstrained by pre-existing notions of what theatre can be. It will premiere at the Royal Exchange Studio in 2019, and therefore should be original, unperformed and unattached.

The recipient of the 2018 Hodgkiss Award will receive:

- A £4,000 prize

- A year of supported development of the work with R&D opportunities at the Royal Exchange and ARC, Stockton

- Budget and support to fully realise the production at the Royal Exchange’s Studio Theatre in Spring/Summer 2019

- A funded transfer of the work to The Yard and ARC in Spring/Summer 2019

- An artistic mentor

- Producing support throughout from the Royal Exchange and the support and guidance of the Exchange’s marketing, development, dramaturgical making and technical departments

“We learned a lot from having The Hodgkiss Award. It enabled us to make a large visual piece of theatre in a prestigious venue. We were able to take big risks without financial repercussions and reach a larger audience base than we would have been able to do on our own. It enabled us to think bigger and with more confidence about the work we make. We learned discipline and how to mediate between ourselves as a company. We learned what our limits are in theatre making. We learned how to fit into a big theatre without losing ourselves, and to be more sure of ourselves and the work we're making. We learned a lot of things about trust, in ourselves as individuals and as a company.” 
Powder Keg, Hodgkiss Award winners 2016

Key dates

Applications open: 23 April 2018

Deadline for applications: 20 May 2018

Selection day: 16 June 2018

How to Apply



  • Have you run the Hodgkiss Award before? How is this different?
  • A version of the prize was awarded in 2013, won by director Ng Choon Ping and resulted in the production of CROCODILES by Lee Mattinson in the Royal Exchange Studio in autumn 2014.

    The award in 2013 was specifically aimed at writer/director partnerships. In 2016 the award was refocused towards theatre-makers who make ambitious and inventive new work. The winner of the 2016 prize was Powder Keg, who created BEARS in the Royal Exchange Studio in 2017.

  • Who is eligible to apply?
  • Theatre-makers over the age of 18 based in the North – “North” is defined by the Arts Council England’s regions of the North and includes North West, North East and Yorkshire. Applicants must be based in this region and making work in this region. Applications can be received from individual artists or from groups of artists.

  • What is a theatre-maker?
  • A theatre-maker is someone who has the imagination and desire to bring work into a performance space. They may make work through a devised or text-based process. They may perform their own work or create work for other people to perform. They may fit within the traditional role of a writer/director/actor or may not. Their background and practice may not be in traditional theatre, but the outcome of their work is usually performance-based.

  • What level of experience are you looking for?
  • Theatre-makers of any experience are welcome to apply for the award. It is not specific to emerging artists or those who have a certain number of professional credits. Applicants will need to provide a referee or advocate who knows their work as part of the application process. This could be for example, an artistic collaborator, producer, programmer, venue or critic.

  • Where will the winning piece be performed?
  • The winning piece will take place in the Royal Exchange Studio and must be suitable to transfer to The Yard [LINK] and ARC.

  • How will the winning piece be supported?
  • The winning artist or group will receive bespoke mentoring and support from the Royal Exchange team throughout the attachment.

    They will have the opportunity to R&D the idea in Manchester and Stockton, with feedback from the artistic teams at the venues.

    They will have a rehearsal/making period in Manchester in spring/summer 2019 followed by a run in the Exchange’s Studio and then a transfer to the Yard and ARC, which will be technically supported by the venues.

    There is a dedicated production budget which will be explained in more detail to the shortlisted artists.

    The successful artist/group may choose to use the production budget and support in kind as match funding for a further funding application, depending on the ambition and scale of the work.

  • What is the selection process?
  • Applications will be considered by the core artistic team at the Royal Exchange Theatre, ARC and The Yard, and a freelance theatre practitioner. They will select a shortlist of 5-8 applicants who will be invited to the Selection Day at the Royal Exchange Theatre. The Royal Exchange Theatre cannot enter into a dialogue with anyone in response to their application and is unable to offer feedback on unsuccessful applications.

  • What will the selection day consist of?
  • Each shortlisted applicant or group of applicants will be invited to meet at the Royal Exchange Theatre on Saturday 16th June to pitch their idea to the panel of judges in a Pecha Kucha style presentation (more information at ) followed by an interview with the judges. The winner will be announced at the end of Saturday 16th June. The Judges decision is final.

  • Can I apply in a different way?
  • The Royal Exchange has a commitment to equal opportunities and recognises that some people may struggle with a written application. If you would prefer to video record your application then please send a link to the unedited video to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Please keep your video application to 15 minutes maximum and answer all of the questions from the application form.