Today the Royal Exchange Theatre and Leigh’s Local Exchange Ambassador Group launched a new playwriting competition LocalTALE which is open to anyone who lives in or has a connection to Leigh, Atherton or Tyldesley.

The judges are looking for an original 10-30 minute play, which as a starting point should respond to the image of a tree in blossom (see bove).

The winning play will be produced and performed in THE DEN, the Royal Exchange’s mobile theatre which will take up residency in Spinners Mill, Leigh this May as part of the ongoing LOCAL EXCHANGE programme. Deadline for submissions is Monday 23 March 2020.

The competition is open to anyone who wants to share their story with an audience, entrants do not need to have any playwrighting experience just a passion for storytelling and a great tale to tell.

For budding writers who need a little inspiration or support the Royal Exchange have developed a free resource pack which is available online here.

There will also be two free workshops at Spinners Mill on Tuesday 28 January 6pm - 8pm and Saturday 1 February 3pm - 5pm. 

Book Tuesday 28 January Workshop

Book Saturday 1 February Workshop

The workshops will be run by the Royal Exchange Theatre’s award-winning Dramaturg Suzanne Bell who has worked with writers such as Simon Stephens and Maxine Peake and through the Bruntwood Prize has developed work with Anna Jordan whose winning play YEN has toured internationally and whose writing work includes the HBO series SUCCESSION.

Suzanne Bell commented…
‘We are delighted to launch this brilliant competition today and I cannot wait to see what stories the people of Leigh, Astley and Tyldesley want to tell. Theatre is a brilliant celebration of the imagination and a playwright can transport their audience to anywhere and any time through beautiful stories and vivid characters. The key to telling a good story or to writing a great play is to keep asking questions, be curious and listen. All you need is a passion for people and storytelling. For anyone who thinks it might not be for them I’d encourage them to come along to one of the sessions at Spinners Mill and find out a bit more about writing for the stage.’

Louisa Brown, Leigh Ambassador said…
‘We came up with the idea for a playwrighting competition because we wanted to give the people of Leigh, Atherton and Tyldesley the opportunity to showcase their talent and to work with the Royal Exchange within their own community.’

LOCAL EXCHANGE is a pioneering, long-term and ambitious series of residencies designed to reframe the way the Royal Exchange makes work with, by and for the people of Greater Manchester. It has been developed to create long-lasting and sustainable relationships between communities and artists.

Each individual residency will last for at least three years and is designed to respond to the cultural ambitions of each specific community. The project always begins with the development of relationships with local partners such as Councils, Housing Associations and Arts Organisations and the formation of a local ambassador group that will work closely with the Exchange throughout the residency. The Den, the Royal Exchange’s new pop-up theatre, is an essential part of Local Exchange. During the project the Den will take up residency in an existing building within the borough, this pop-up theatre will provide a professional space for residents to make, participate in and see work. It takes the Exchange out of its city centre venue and places it in the heart of its communities.

Competition Rules

1. LocalTALE is open to anyone who lives or has a connection to Leigh, Atherton or Tyldesley. We are afraid that no other submissions can be considered at this time

2. There is no lower or upper age limit for entrants

3. We can only accept one entry per person (if you send more than one we will read the first one you submit)

4. The play must be an original, unperformed and unproduced piece of work

5. The play should take inspiration from the image. It does not have to be directly about the area or about stories or people from the area.

6. We cannot accept musicals, work specifically for younger audiences, prose writing, radio pieces or screenplays

7. The play must be a minimum of 10 minutes in length and a maximum of 30 minutes in length

8. While the play can have any number of characters, the script must be written for a maximum of two performers

9. The entrant must exclusively own and control all copyright and all other related rights to the submitted script

10. The submitted play must be available for production and unattached to any other theatre or company. Any scripts that have been professionally optioned, produced or published will be disqualified.

11. We do accept plays co-authored by more than one writer. Please ensure that only one entry is submitted with one set of contact details.

How To submit

Please submit by completing this short form and attach the script as a pdf, doc or docx file


We will judge each script anonymously, without knowing the writers name. To help us do this please ensure all contact details or identifying details are removed from the script attachment.

The judges, made up of Leigh Ambassadors and Royal Exchange Theatre staff, will read all the entries, and judge the winners by the following criteria:
• Does it meet the competition rules & eligibility?
• Does it respond to the image?
• Does it have dialogue that is speakable and that carries an individual voice for each character?
• Is it a story that takes its characters and the audience on a journey?
• Would I want to watch this in THE DEN in May 2020 in Leigh?

We regret that no correspondence can be entered into regarding any part of the judging process.

OCT logo