The Lancaster Playwriting Prize

The Lancaster Playwriting Prize is a new initiative arising out of the cultural partnership between Lancaster University and The Dukes Theatre, Lancaster; it is supported by Lucy Briers, Tamasha Theatre Company and Arts Council England.

In this inaugural year, the Prize is focused on BAMER (Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic and Refugee) playwrights. The aim is not just to discover new voices, but to empower playwrights from culturally diverse backgrounds in general by building skills, confidence and networks. 

All longlisted scripts will be read in full. Up to five shortlisted finalists will have their script workshopped with professional actors and directors, and see extracts performed at a public showcase event held at The Dukes Lancaster. 

The winner will receive £1500 and will be invited to become part of the Tamasha Playwrights group for 2018/19, receiving tailored training and mentoring as they develop their careers ( The winner will also receive travel support to attend weekly Tamasha Playwrights workshops in London from October 2018 to July 2019. Two of the other shortlisted writers will receive writer on attachment bursaries at The Dukes of £500 each (with further support to cover travel costs); these postings will entail mentorship opportunities and the chance to observe the development of two shows at the theatre.

What we’re looking for 

  • We are looking for theatre scripts from BAMER writers of any level of experience.
  • Writers must either live, have lived or work currently in the North West.
  • We’re eager to read new work which throws light on how we live now, expands our horizons, explores current issues, or reveals a previously untold story.
  • We’re happy to consider scripts for family and young audiences, as well as scripts for adult audiences; however, it must be an original story, not an adaptation of an existing text, film or novel.


As a way of encouraging participation in the Prize, we will be running a series of ten workshops in the North West from 23rd April. These are open to anyone interested in applying for the prize; we’re keen to have BAMER writers of any level of experience. If you’re interested in attending these workshops, please email Alex Summers at to book a place.  


The window for scripts opens on 23rd April 2018. 

To allow local playwrights to access additional development opportunities, we have moved the deadline back for submissions to the Prize. The new date for last entries is noon on 5th August 2018.

Entry rules 

  • The competition is open to any BAMER (Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic and Refugee) writers who are originally from, resident or work in the North West of England. For the purposes of this prize, the North West consists of Cheshire, Cumbria, Greater Manchester, Lancashire and Merseyside.
  • Writers must be over 16.
  • The play must be an original, unpublished and unproduced piece of work. It cannot have had a professional production anywhere in the world. For the purposes of this prize, development performances (such as rehearsed readings and workshops) do not constitute full productions; amateur productions also do not count as full productions under these criteria.
  • Adaptations of existing works of musical theatre, radio, television or other media are not eligible; translations of said works are also excluded.
  • Musical theatre scripts are not eligible.
  • Scripts must be a minimum of 40 minutes long and all pages must be numbered.

Entry process

Reading process 

  • All eligible scripts will be read in full by at least two readers from a panel including Fin Kennedy (Artistic Director of Tamasha Theatre), Sarah Punshon (Artistic Director of The Dukes Lancaster), and Tajinder Singh Hayer (Lecturer in Creative Writing at Lancaster University).
  • A shortlist of up to five entries will be read by a panel of readers over the summer including the above and Lucy Briers (actress and patron of the Lancaster Playwriting Prize).

The showcase and prize ceremony

  • Shortlisted playwrights will be invited to attend a workshop and public showcase of script-in-hand extracts from their plays in October 2018.
  • The winning entry will be announced at the end of the showcase.
  • The winner will receive a £1,500 cash prize plus the invitation to join the 2018/19 cohort of Tamasha Playwrights. Two shortlisted writers will be offered a Writer on Attachment bursary in order to shadow and receive mentoring from a BAME writer creating a Dukes production.