How do I enter?

Submissions for the 2022 Prize are open until 6th June 2022 via this site only. The 2022 Prize is split across four categories. They are: 

The Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting– £16,000

The Judges Award– £8000

The Bruntwood Prize International Award- £8,000. Introduced in 2019, this sister prize is open to international playwrights who can apply through our partners

    • Atlantic Theatre (New York, USA)

    • Berkeley Rep (Berkley, California, USA)

    • Australian Plays Transform (Carlton, New South Wales, Australia)

    • Melbourne Theatre Company (Melbourne, Australia)

    • Canada Banff Playwrights Laboratory (Banff, Canada) 

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 and to enable us to work closely with the winning playwright, this year the winner must be based in the North West of England and have not had a full-length play professionally produced for 12 performances or more in a professional venue. 

In addition to winning £8,000, they will also access an additional £10,000 fund dedicated to their professional development at the Royal Exchange Theatre during a bespoke one year residency. 

Each winner will enter into a development process with the Royal Exchange Theatre in an endeavour to bring their work to production. 

 

All plays are submitted anonymously to the competition and will be read by an expert panel of readers appointed by the Royal Exchange Theatre. There is an extensive five stage process to the reading before creating the shortlist. The final panel of readers, including key artistic staff from the Royal Exchange Theatre, compile a shortlist for the Judges to consider. The Judges will received the shortlist of scripts mid October 2022. A shortlist of 15 plays, ten from the UK and five international, will be announced on 24th October 2022, and the winner of the 2022 Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting will be announced at an awards ceremony at the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester, on 14th November 2022

 

BSL Rules and Criteria- PDF

DOWNLOAD Bruntwood Prize rules-PDF

DOWNLOAD Bruntwood Prize rules- Easy Read-PDF

 

If you still have questions about the process, you may find the answer to your query in the Prize Guidelines and FAQ below or contact the Bruntwood Prize Co-ordinator, Chloe Smith, on bruntwood.prize@royalexchange.co.uk

To enter- all you need is a script containing no identifying details saved as a pdf, word or doc.x format. The entry form will ask for some contact details, and a confirmation of your eligibility for the North West Original New Voice Award- you need to answer these questions to be considered for the Prize and proceed with the form.  At no point do we ask for your real name.

We also include an anonymous Equal Opportunities form to understand who is applying for the Prize. Answers to these questions are optional.

The form will not allow you to proceed without an attached script- but if you are concerned please email bruntwood.prize@royalexchange.co.uk with the Title of your script to confirm.

This entry form should take you no more than 5 minutes.

Only 17 days left to enter!

Enter here
Reading process

Different plays reach different stages in our reading and consideration of the entries, but all of them are subjected to the same criteria and process. We have a large dedicated team of readers to process the entries. These readers are a diverse team experienced in reading scripts for the stage. They are made up of directors, dramaturgs, playwrights who are previous winners of The Bruntwood Prize, producers, literary agents, and other theatre practitioners and artistic staff both nationally and internationally. All readers are paid per script.

As each script proceeds through the phases of reading it is addressed by a diverse team of readers. The Royal Exchange manages the reading process to ensure that each script is seen by readers with different ages, genders, work history, ethnicities and interests. The aim of the Prize is to find great plays in whatever shape or form they appear so the entry criteria are deliberately broad to allow first time writers and more experienced playwrights to be assessed on a level footing. We hope that in carefully administrating the reader demographics we ensure no script is overlooked due to a bias towards a particular way to tell a story.

There are various stages to the reading process. Throughout the process, the script remains anonymous. Therefore the intention is that the readers are assessing the submitted script only- not the writers identity, career or previous works.

Unfortunately due to the volume of entries we can not enter into a dialogue with any writer about their entry, their readers or the reports and discussions about their work.

The information below is designed to let you know what happens after your play is submitted. It is in no way an indication of what kind of play you should write or how you should write it.

  • Stage 1: First Read

    All the scripts entered for The Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting are read by one of our readers, who each work through a proportion of the entries. We guarantee to read at least the first 30 pages of every script entered into the The Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting. 

    All readers are provided with a handbook, and key resources to brief them on the Bruntwood Prize criteria and reading aims and intentions. 

    At this stage we are reading for the quality of the dramatic writing according to the broadest possible criteria: 

    Subject Matter – where narrative-driven or not, is there a clear sense of story which is for the stage, is there a sense that the writer is pursuing something that excites them? 

    Dialogue and Language – at whatever level, does the script show a feel for speech and dialogue? Does the writer create a sense of drama through the language and think about language as a live means of expression on stage? Does the writer engage with language (physical and verbal) in an interesting way? 

    Development – does the script put things at stake, is there a sense of drama and conflict, do the characters develop and change through the play, does the world or situation develop and change, does the audience go on a journey? 

    Audience – does the play engage with a live audience as a piece of theatre or does it have the potential to do that. 

    Scripts are then categorized by readers, who also write a small descriptive sentence as a reminder of the nature of the script  

    Grade A – immediate further read, go straight to Stage Two
    Grade B – second read by another reader, perhaps more suited to the content or intent of the script
    Grade C – no further progress

  • Stage 2: Second Read

    New readers are brought in at this stage of the process to provide fresh eyes to the scripts and create a new level playing field for all the entries that have reached this stage.

    Readers are encouraged to recommend plays for a second read if there is any doubt in their mind or feel a second pair of eyes should take a look at the play. When a play goes through Stage Two, the reader looks at the whole play and writes a short report of a few sentences, recommending one of three things:

    A. The Play should go to Stage Three and be a contender for the Longlist
    B. The Play might be a candidate for the Longlist and feedback
    C. The Play should not progress past Stage Two

    This stage of the process tests the strength of the qualities described above in the First Stage read, whether the potential is clear to two readers and helps define where the script’s strengths and weaknesses lie.

  • Stage 3: Third Read

    New readers are again brought in at this stage of the process to provide fresh eyes to the scripts and create a new level playing field for all the entries that have reached this stage. 

    Each reader reads the entire script, really considering its strengths, and writes a more extensive report on the play. The aim of this stage is to identify the plays which will progress onto the Longlist. Each reader will recommend one of three things:

    A. This play should be a contender for the Longlist

    B. This play should be on the Feedback List
    C. This play should not progress past Stage Three

     

  • Stage 4: Longlisting

    This part of the process involves new readers and staff at the Royal Exchange Theatre lead by Dramaturg Suzanne Bell. The aim of this stage is to identify 30-40 plays as potential entries for the Shortlist.

    Two lists are created through Stage Four –

    1. Feedback List – a list of plays we feel represent the best 100 entries which will receive a detailed report and feedback.

    2. Longlist – 30-40 of those scripts which are the strongest candidates for the Prizes.

    This list of top 100 entries will receive full written feedback on their work and our response to it. By this point in the process, the play will have been read by at least four different people and will therefore receive a range of feedback. 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 the next draft or 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.

  • Stage 5: Shortlisting

    All the plays on the Longlist are discussed at a Script Meeting with the Royal Exchange Theatre core artistic staff and other members of the theatre involved in new work. There will also be at least two new readers at this stage who will have extensive experience of new writing and new work for the theatre. The aim of this meeting is to produce a Shortlist of plays that we feel are serious candidates for development and production.

    A Shortlist of 10-15 plays then goes forward to the Judges for the awards to be made.

Key dates
  • 24 Jan 2022
    Open for submissions from 6pm
  • 6 Jun 2022
    6pm - submission close
  • 28 Jun 2022
    Phase One Reading Complete
  • 19 Jul 2022
    Phase Two Reading Complete
  • 16 Aug 2022
    Phase 3 Reading Complete
  • 13 Sep 2022
    Longlist of Top 100 Plays Announced
  • 24 Oct 2022
    Shortlist Announced
  • 14 Nov 2022
    2022 Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting Ceremony
  • 31 Dec 2022
    Deadline for Feedback sent to Longlist Plays
Prize guidelines

Please do look over the rules and FAQ’s even if you have applied before. We have made updates to the Prize categories for 2022.

Criteria

The Bruntwood Prize Award and Judges Award are open to anyone residing in the UK or Republic of Ireland or British Overseas Territory or with a British Forces Post Office address.

The Bruntwood Prize International Award is open to international playwrights invited to anonymously apply via our named international partners. We are afraid that no other international submissions can be considered at this time.

The North West Original New Voice Award and Residency is open to playwrights resident in the North-West of England* (where the Royal Exchange Theatre is based) We define the North West via the Arts Council England districts https://www.artscouncil.org.uk/sites/default/files/download-file/Map_area_boundaries.pdf

Those playwrights based in the North West who self declare on submission they have not had full-length play professionally produced for 12 performances or more in a professional venue are eligible. All scripts entered by these playwrights are also eligible for the Bruntwood Prize, and Judges Award.

Entrants must be sixteen or over. There is no upper age limit.

Scripts must be submitted anonymously with no information included on the script other than its title. Please do not include pseudonyms on your script, or agents’ details.

We can only accept one entry per person. 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.

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

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.

*The ACE define the North West as the following regions. You are eligible for the North West Award and Residency if you are based in one of the following places, and have not had full-length play professionally produced for 12 performances or more in a professional venue:

Blackburn with Darwen, Blackpool, Bolton, Bury, Cheshire, Cumbria, Hatton, Knowsley, Lancashire, Liverpool, Manchester, Oldham, Rochdale, Salford, Sefton, St Helens, Stockport, Tameside, Trafford, Warrington, Wigan, Wirral

 

Scripts

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

The play must be an hour long or more in playing time. The best way to judge this is to read your script out loud. There is no upper limit to the length of your script.

We do not accept translations, adaptations for the stage of other pieces of work written by others, pantomime or musicals. We also do not accept plays written exclusively for younger audiences.

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

Please ensure your submitted script has a cover page with the title of the play and no other personal or contact information.

Other than making sure the submitted script contains the title of the play and no other personal or contact information, there are no rules about how your play should be formatted or how any of it should be laid out.

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.

If you have won a prize in any previous Bruntwood competition, (excluding Commendations) you may not enter a script. However, you may enter if you have been shortlisted or longlisted in the past.

 

* We define resident through your ability to produce, if asked, proof of main address on a driving license, appropriate Inland Revenue document, or if not in possession of these, a phone bill with proof of address. A full list of British Overseas Territories can be found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Overseas_Territories

∞ Amateur performances do not apply. Unproduced means the play cannot have received a professional production in any form, anywhere in the world, apart from up to two rehearsed readings

 

Judging/Prizes

The deadline for entries for the Bruntwood Prize 2022 is Monday 6th June, 2022 at 6pm.

The Top 100 Feedback List of scripts will be announced on this website in September 2022. This list of top 100 entries will receive full written feedback on their work and our response to it. These writers will receive their feedback no later than the end of 2022.

We are unable to commit to notifying writers of their progress through the competition before these dates due to the changeable volume of entries affecting the reading timeline.

The Longlist is announced publicly on this website due to the anonymous nature of reading requiring all scripts and writers to remain under a pseudonym at this point. To ensure swift and clear communication with all entrants we will make Prize announcements directly here on the Bruntwood Prize site as we find many entrants choose to use a lesser used (or anonymous email) which can hamper or slow getting in touch with individuals.

Shortlisted writers will then be contacted via the telephone- please ensure you include an up to date and direct number with your submission.

Unfortunately, we are unable to give feedback on unsuccessful scripts which did not make it into the Top 100, due to the high number of entries we receive and our commitment to providing feedback as a constructive and full script report.

After the Award ceremony, all scripts awarded prizes are automatically under option to the Royal Exchange Theatre for a period of twenty four months after the announcement of the awards.

If a winning script is produced by the Royal Exchange Theatre, the prize money will replace all first production or development fees. However, the standard percentage of box office receipts and rehearsal attendance fees will still be paid to the writer.

 

Troubleshooting

If you’ve uploaded the wrong document or made a mistake in the entry process, please contact us at bruntwood.prize@royalexchange.co.uk. It’s best not to try and enter the Prize again, but to let us make any amendments at this end.

After you have successfully completed the entry process, you should receive a confirmation email from us to let you know your entry has been successful. This email may take an hour or so to arrive. If you haven’t received it do check your junk mail. You can also email us to get confirmation of your entry at bruntwood.prize@royalexchange.co.uk (please include your pseudonym and play title).

Only the Bruntwood Prize Co-ordinator can see the back end of the website and the email addresses used to submit, and they don’t read so as not to compromise the anonymity of the process. The readers and judges receive your TITLE ONLY anonymity script and no other submission details.

Please apply with an email address you regularly check.

Below is a list of common questions that we have been asked previously about the Prize and entering your play. We will update these as the competition continues, but if your question isn’t answered here, please contact us at bruntwood.prize@royalexchange.co.uk. This email address is checked within working hours, and a swift response will be made.

FAQs

Here is a list of common questions that we have been asked previously about the Prize and entering your play. We will update these as the competition continues, but if your question isn’t answered here, please contact us at bruntwood.prize@royalexchange.co.uk.

  • Who is the Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting for?

    Anyone with a story to tell! The Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting wants to hear from a range of voices, whether or not you have ever written before. You might be an established playwright or someone with no experience of writing for theatre.  

  • What sort of script should I submit?

    While we do not accept musicals, translations or works for children and accept full length plays, there’s no criteria for your scripts content, format or structure.

    We also do not judge script on whether they are very polished or ready for the stage. While we aspire to produce all Bruntwood Prize winning scripts, we do not based the Prize decision making on a script’s suitability for the Royal Exchange Theatre. It our intention that winning the Prize is the start of a long term professional development, not the end of a process.

  • Is the Bruntwood Prize really anonymous? How?

    All scripts are submitted under a pseudonym- at no point will this website ask for your real name. Scripts remain entirely anonymous throughout the judging process. We also ask that scripts themselves be left blank- with no pseudonym included on the title page

    The Bruntwood Prize Co-ordinator endeavours to protect the anonymity of the Prize at every stage. This includes arranging for scripts to be redistributed if readers suspect they know the writer of an assigned script, and arranging shortlisted scripts to be judged under a temporary title- if it is possible to find out information on a script from its title through searching online.

    The judging panel has no knowledge about the writers of each script and the writers are only revealed when the Judging process is complete and winners chosen.

    The Bruntwood Prize Coordinator is responsible for moderating all submitted scripts, and ensure they have all been submitted fully anonymously. They do not read or have any impact on the winners of the prize.

  • Do I have to live in the UK or Ireland to enter? Can I enter the International Award instead?

    The rules state that to enter the prize you should be able to provide proof of a main or primary address within the UK or Ireland. If you are primarily based outside this area unfortunately, we aren’t able to accept your entry unless who have been invited to apply via one of our named international partners. We are afraid that no other international submissions can be considered at this time.

    As well as the large number of scripts we receive, the reasons for this include the fact that from the announcement of the winners, those writers engage in a process of development with the Royal Exchange (or in the case of the International Award, with one of our international partners)

  • Is the International Award anonymous?

    Yes- while playwrights are invited to submit by our international partners playwrights submit via the same process on this website and enter into the same anonymous reading process as all the submitted scripts.  

    At no point will readers or Judges be aware of who has submitted to the international prize before winners are chosen. This includes reassigning scripts if readers suspect they know the writer of an assigned script.  

  • Does the Original New Voice Award mean a first time playwright can no longer win in the other categories?

    No- a first time playwright is still eligible to win both the Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting and the Judges Award.

    The Original New Voice award simply allows the Royal Exchange Theatre to further support a playwright who is at a relatively early stage in their journey, to focus on the development of their craft and explore their relationship to their work.

  • Why is the Original New Voice Award limited to people in the North West this year?

    The Bruntwood Prize is managed by the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester. It is our intention that the winner of the Original New Voice Award and Residency goes on to join us here at the theatre- and that we will support their professional development with a dedicated £10,000 fund.  Now more than ever we want to ensure the Prize supports writers international, nationally and locally.

  • Who reads my script?

    The Bruntwood Prize employs a large cohort of paid readers. They are have a broad range of experiences and specialisms to try and give each submitted script the best chance.

    As each script proceeds through the phases of reading it is addressed by a diverse team of readers. The Royal Exchange manages the reading process to ensure that each script is seen by readers with different ages, genders, work history, ethnicities and interests. The aim of the Prize is to find great plays in whatever shape or form they appear so the entry criteria are deliberately broad to allow first time writers and more experienced playwrights to be assessed on a level footing. We hope that in carefully administrating the reader demographics we ensure no script is overlooked due to a bias towards a particular way to tell a story.

    The cohort of readers is made up of theatre professionals, skilled in reading scripts. They include directors, designers, dramaturges and literary managers at leading producing theatres, actors, national critics and theatre commentators and previous Bruntwood Prize winners (the only playwrights to read- as they are no longer eligible to enter the Prize)

  • Can I enter any other playwriting prizes alongside the Bruntwood?

    We actively encourage you to enter your script into any prizes and competitions for which it is eligible! However, if your script wins or is commissioned/optioned for production by another company during the process of judging for the Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting 2022, you will need to contact us as soon as possible to withdraw from the competition.

  • If I win, will my play be performed at the Royal Exchange Theatre?

    All winners of the competition will have the chance to enter into a relationship with the Royal Exchange with the aim of developing their play towards production.  

    Many of these relationships have now resulted in full productions for winning plays, but none of the prizes come with a guaranteed production. The Theatre is serious about developing and producing Bruntwood-winning work, but is not able to offer productions as part of any of the Prizes.  

    We do NOT use suitability for the Royal Exchange Theatre stages as a criteria for judging. 

  • How do I judge the length of my play?

    The competition rules state that plays must be of an hour or more in playing time. No exact measure can be made of the length of a piece of writing for theatre, but it can be useful to consider an evenly covered A4 page as just over a minute’s worth of stage time. However if your script has passages of very dense dialogue, movement, or video or music then a play of an hour or more might run to less than 60 pages.

    The best way to judge this is to read your script out loud

    There is no upper limit to the length of your script.

  • What counts as an adaptation of another piece of work?

    The aim of The Bruntwood Prize is to find an original piece of work for the stage. This means that the piece cannot be based wholly or largely on an existing piece of fiction or non-fiction writing. Any play that provides a close re-telling of an existing story or another writer’s work is not eligible. The only exception to this rule is if you are adapting your own work for the stage (as you maintain ownership)

    Biographical work and plays with a strong factual or historical content are eligible for the competition. Scripts that take inspiration from or share links to existing stories are also not excluded from entry- we do not exclude plays that take inspiration from or make reference to existing stories, myth or fiction.

  • Can my play have had a production before?

    The rules of the Prize state that no play can have received a ‘professional’ production but that if your play has received an ‘amateur’ production it is still eligible for the competition. We ask that you consider defining a professional production via the following criteria;

    • Was a professional producer attached to the production?
    • Have tickets been sold to a paying audience?
    • Have you been paid for the play or actors and other collaborators have been paid for their work?
    • Has the production received promotion and marketing to sell tickets?

    If you answer no to these questions the production will be defined as amateur. Generally- we would consider a self produced play as amateur

    We also do not exclude scripts that have had up to two professionally produced readings.

    If you have any further questions about whether a play that’s received a production is eligible, please contact us on bruntwood.prize@royalexhange.co.uk

  • I'm unsure of the production of my script is 'amateur' or 'professional'

    If you are uncertain as to whether your production was amateur or professional- generally the deciding factor is whether the script was self produced or was attached to a professional producer. For example- a production you sold ticket for, but self produced is amateur for the purposes of the Prize. 

    For further discussion- please email bruntwood.prize@royalexchange.co.uk 

  • Does my play have to be in English?

    We welcome submissions that use languages other than English, however please make an English translation available within the first 30 pages of the script to enable our readers to assess your work fairly. We do endeavour to find suitable readers for all scripts, but untranslated non-English passages restrict our pool of readers significantly.   

    We welcome scripts that use British Sign Language.   

  • Are cast sizes taken into consideration?

    No, the number of performers required is not taken into consideration during the judging process. Some of the past Bruntwood Prize winners have had large casts sizes. It is the story that is important to the readers, not the size of the cast.  

  • Can my play have songs or music in it?

    Yes! The Bruntwood Prize cannot accept full musicals, however if your script demands passages of music then please do indicate this in the script.  

    Of course, we aspire to produce all winning script, so should this work win it would be necessary to secure the music rights for performance. However this is no barrier to entry, and Bruntwood Prize winning plays such as ROLLING STONE by Chris Urch and WISH LIST by Katherine Soper have both included passages of very well known music.  

  • When will I hear about the success of my entry?

    The deadline for entries for the Bruntwood Prize 2022 is Monday 6th June, 2022 at 6pm. 

    The Top 100 Feedback List of scripts will be announced on this website in September 2022. This list of top 100 entries will receive full written feedback on their work and our response to it. These writers will receive their feedback by the end of 2022. 

    We are unable to commit to notifying writers of their progress through the competition before these dates due to the changeable volume of entries affecting the reading timeline.  

    The Longlist is announced publicly on this website due to the anonymous nature of reading requiring all scripts and writers to remain under a pseudonym at this point. 

    Shortlisted writers will be contacted via the telephone- please ensure you include an up to date and direct number with your submission. 

  • What should I do if I've made a mistake with entry?

    If you’ve uploaded the wrong document or made a mistake in the entry process, please contact us at bruntwood.prize@royalexchange.co.uk. It’s best not to try and enter the Prize again, but to let us make any amendments at this end. 

  • I haven't received a confirmation email about my entry?

    After you have successfully completed the entry process, you should receive a confirmation email from us to let you know your entry has been successful. This email may take an hour or so to arrive. If you haven’t received it do check your junk mail. You can also email us to get confirmation of your entry at bruntwood.prize@royalexchange.co.uk (please include your pseudonym and play title). 

  • Should I create a new email address to apply if my real name is in it?

    Only the Bruntwood Prize Co-ordinator can see the back end of the website and the email addresses used to submit, and they don’t read so as not to compromise the anonymity of the process. The readers and judges receive your TITLE ONLY anonymity script and no other submission details. 

    Please do use an email address you check regularly! We do make announcements directly here on the Bruntwood Prize site to ensure swift and clear communication with all entrants, as we find many entrants choose to use a lesser used (or anonymous email) which can hamper or slow getting in touch with individual entrants.