An open invitation to all migrant writers in the UK and Ireland to share outstanding new work for the stage. The competition is open to those who primarily live and work in the UK or Ireland, who identify as a migrant
The aim of the prize is to celebrate and platform migrant writers, an underrepresented demographic on UK theatre stages. Around 14% of the UK population and 37% of London’s population were born outside the UK. The Woven Voices Prize celebrates this rich source of creativity. It is a proclamation of a global, multicultural Britain and Ireland, and it opposes the ‘Little England’ mentality of isolationism.
Your play might be personal, political, funny, or serious. It might be set in the UK and Ireland or abroad. It might be set today or a thousand years in the past. It does not have to be about migrants or migration.
The winning writer will receive £2500. Their script will be produced by Jermyn Street Theatre for a run of at least one week in July as part of their Footprints Festival. It will be directed by Carne Deputy Director Ebenezer Bamgboye. The writer will receive a royalty of 8% of the net box office. Up to three runner-up playwrights will receive dramaturgical support, will be named and featured publicly as runners-up, and be offered public readings of their plays at Jermyn Street Theatre.
The script must be written primarily in English, and accessible to an English-speaking audience. Where the script incorporates other languages, translations should be provided for the reader. They recognise that English is a language that takes many forms, variants and dialects. They also recognise that English proficiency can be a barrier to those writing in English for whom this may not be their first language, and the judging process will take account of this and seek not to discriminate on this basis.
- The competition is open to those who primarily live and work in the UK or Ireland, who identify as a ‘migrant’. This is a sometimes fluid category. For the purposes of the competition, they draw on the Migrants in Theatre definition of ‘migrant’, available here. This includes those who:
• do not hold a British or Irish passport but reside primarily in the UK or Ireland
• have moved to the UK or Ireland after spending formative years abroad
• have moved to the UK or Ireland as a child, is culturally British but is sometimes seen as a migrant or sees themselves as a migrant
• weren’t born in the UK or Ireland and have English as a second language
• are an asylum seeker, a refugee or undocumented in the UK or Ireland
Ultimately, you are the best judge of whether you identify as a migrant.
- There is no age limit, and no minimum or maximum level of experience to enter.
- The script must be an original, unpublished and unproduced piece of work. ‘Unproduced’ is defined as having both (a) had no more than 6 performances for which people could buy tickets and (b) not having received a professional review. Any scripts that have been published or produced will be automatically disqualified.
- Translations, children’s plays, adaptations of other plays or other works in other media (e.g. novels, musicals, films) are not eligible. (The only exception might be a re-telling of an ancient story or myth where no direct use is made of another writer’s work.)
- Scripts may be written by more than one writer, but in this situation both writers must meet the definitions above.
- You may submit only one script.
- Given that this prize offers a production at Jermyn Street Theatre, we are looking for complete, full-length scripts.
- The script should be performable with a maximum of six actors.
- The script may call for music or singing but it should not be a musical or a pantomime.
- There are no requirements for the focus or topic of the script.
Scripts will be read blind by a panel of readers. Each script will be read at least twice, including at least once by someone who is a migrant.
Shortlisted scripts will be read blind by a panel of expert judges, most of whom identify as coming from migrant backgrounds. Judges include: Maria Aberg (director and Artistic Director, Projekt Europa); Ebenezer Bamgboye (Carne Deputy Director, Jermyn Street Theatre); Jatinder Verma (director and writer, formerly of Tara Arts); Ameera Conrad (Associate Director, Actors’ Touring Company) and Arifa Akbar (lead theatre critic, The Guardian). The judging panel will select one winning play and up to three runners-up.
Midnight 28 Jan