The Women's Prize for Playwriting

*An update on the Women's Prize for Playwriting

- due to the impact of COVID-19, we have had to push dates back a bit. The longlist will now be annunced in July. We're still reading! Thank you to everyone who submitted a script.




The Women’s Prize for Pl*ywriting is an open invitation to all writers who identify as female in the UK and Ireland to create vivid, exciting, and brave new work for the stage.


The aim of the Prize is to celebrate and support women playwrights and to discover the best new work from writers at all levels of experience. We are interested in plays that rejoice in the depth and range of your imagination, that feast on dramatic possibility and are ambitious on all scales and subjects. We’ve designed the criteria of the Prize to allow you to write exactly the play you want, unhampered by restrictions or limitations.


Whoever you are and however much or little you have written in the past, the team at The Women’s Prize for Playwriting wants to read your work. Good luck!


  • Ellie Keel, Charlotte Bennett, and Katie Posner



How to enter


Scripts should be submitted to:


Submissions are open from 5pm on Monday 11 November 2019 until 5pm on Monday 2 March 2020. Any scripts received after 5pm on Monday 2 March 2020 will not be considered.


Scripts should be submitted as an attachment to an email a single PDF or Microsoft Word document, with numbered pages.


There is no fee to enter the Prize.


You will receive an automated email reply which will act as acknowledgement that we have received your script.


Prize guidelines


Who is eligible to enter The Women’s Prize for Playwriting?

  1. The Women’s Prize for Playwriting is open to all writers who identify as female.
  2. You must be resident in the UK or the Republic of Ireland to enter the Prize.
  3. You must be sixteen years of age or older to enter the Prize. There is no upper age limit.


  1. Scripts should be an hour or more in playing time. This usually equates to about 60 pages, but if your play takes a different form then this might be much shorter. There is no upper limit on length.
  2. Scripts may be written for any cast size.
  3. Scripts written by more than one author are eligible.
  4. Musicals and pantomimes are not eligible, but there is otherwise no restriction on genre. Plays which contain some music or songs as part of the script are eligible.  
  5. Your play must be unproduced and unperformed. ‘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. 
  6. You must own all copyright relating to your script.
  7. Scripts which have been submitted for other competitions are eligible. However, scripts which have won other competitions are not eligible. Scripts which have reached the shortlist in other competitions are eligible.
  8. Please identify your name in the submission email along with a contact email and phone number and attach your script and supporting letter as two separate documents.

Supporting letter


Alongside your script we ask for a short letter of context, which should be no longer than one side of A4.


We are aware that writers work in many different ways and that some forms of writing can come across differently on the page to others. This letter is therefore an opportunity for you to share with the reader some context to your work including:


  • what you want to achieve with the script you are submitting
  • where you are in that process
  • where and how you would like to develop your script further with dramaturgical support.


Your letter can take whatever form you wish but please write it in your own voice and avoid it feeling too formal.


We are not asking for a letter about why you should win the prize. The letter is simply an opportunity to get to know you and how you work so we can apply this context when reading your script and understand it better. If you are a first-time writer and/or do not yet know what process you see for your submitted script then please just express this in the letter.


The letter should be attached to your email as a separate document to your script.



  1. The writer of the script which is awarded the First Prize by the judging panel will receive £12,000 on or around the day of the awards ceremony in July 2020.
  2. The prize money comprises £12,000 as a fee in respect of an exclusive option for Paines Plough and EKP to co-produce the winning script. Pursuant to the option, a decision will be taken whether to produce the script within 12 months of the awards ceremony. In the absence of a decision being taken to produce the play within the 12 months, all professional rights will revert to the writer.
  3. If the winning play is produced by Paines Plough and EKP then royalties and other arrangements will be negotiated separately.
  4. Two further prizes will be awarded at the discretion of the judges.


If you have any questions about the submissions process, please email


The reading process


Your play will be read by an expert team of readers working across the theatre industry. There will be 8-9 rounds of reading, with each script being read by different readers within and across each round. The supporting letter you submit will be read each time ahead of the readers reaching your script to understand you and your process as best we can.


We aim to announce a longlist of around 25 scripts in April 2020, followed by a shortlist of around 6 scripts in May 2020. These scripts will be read and discussed by the judging panel. You can see who is on the judging panel here.


If you have further questions about the reading process, please email