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About New Playwrights Awards

Deadline for applications: 5pm, Wednesday 30 September 2020

The whole experience of the New Playwrights Award programme has been invaluable to me as playwright. I have enjoyed every part of it and every part has helped me develop in some aspect."

Previous participant

£2,000 bursary

New Playwrights Awards are a professional development opportunity for playwrights based in Scotland who have some professional experience. The Programme offers three playwrights each year the time, space, and financial support to develop their craft, while focusing on a particular script.

The Programme gives playwrights the freedom to choose to write the play they want to write, without the constraints of writing in a particular style or to a specific brief.

A message about COVID-19

Delivery of the Programmes
There will inevitably be some changes to how we deliver our Programmes now and in the future. We anticipate that much of the activity in 2020 will not take place face-to-face but will happen online or in alternative ways. We will be flexible to the needs of playwrights and other artists involved, within Government guidelines and our own resources.

In applying for our Programmes, we invite you to think about stories, characters, settings, language or forms that challenge you creatively. We are launching these Programmes in the half-space between lockdown and the 'new normal,' but things are changing all the time. So, that monologue about isolation written and performed for Zoom which feels vital right now may not have the enduring appeal you intended.

Our message to you is not to limit your imagination or feel restricted in the stories you want to tell or how you want to tell them.

The bursary payment will be paid as quickly as possible after receipt of the signed Letter of Agreement from the playwright.

What is included as part of the New Playwrights Award?

  • A £2,000 cash bursary.  
  • Three script sessions with either an Associate Playwright or an external theatre professional. The support you receive will be tailored to focus on whatever you feel will help you develop your script.
  • A week-long writing retreat at Cove Park or equivalent venue to give you the space to work on your script. We will cover your travel expenses and provide a daily allowance for food and refreshments.
  • A day of script development with a professional director and actors.
  • Access to a desk in the Tom McGrath Writers Room.
  • Four skills workshops. In previous years, these have included Writing for Radio with former BBC Radio Drama Producer David Ian Neville and Introduction to the Business of Playwriting with playwright and screenwriter Stephen Greenhorn.
  • Community building, including the skills workshops, panel discussions, and opportunities to meet socially.
  • A Cultural Trip, which includes a visit to the theatre to see a play with other playwrights from the Playwriting Programme, and the opportunity to meet key practitioners in Scottish theatre. At present, it isn't possible to schedule this precisely but it is hoped that this will take place no later than spring 2022.

Dates for your diary:

  • Friday 4 December 2020: Playwriting Programme Induction Day
  • 26 February 2021: Workshop 1 (TBC)
  • Friday 2 April 2021: Panel Discussion with key practitioners in Scotland
  • 30 April 2021: Workshop 2 (TBC)
  • August/September: Workshop Day - Day of Playwriting Workshops delivered by external partners
  • All 2020/21 New Playwrights Awards should be completed no later than 31 March 2022

Before starting your application, please read the Frequently Asked Questions and use the practice application form & guide.

How to apply.

Previous recipients include Hammaad Chaudry (An Ordinary Muslim); Lesley Hart (World Domination, Three Seconds); Hannah Lavery (The Drift, Lament for Sheku Bayoh); Linda Duncan McLaughlin (Descent - shortlisted for Best New Play at the CATS Awards 2016); Michael John O'Neill (Adekah - won best new voice at Bruntwood Prize 2019); Frances Poet (Adam, Gut, Fibres); Stef Smith (Girl in the Machine, Swallow, and the Olivier-Award-winning Roadkill); AJ Taudevin (Blow Off, Some Other Mother), Andrew Thompson (In the Event of Moone Disaster) Meghan Tyler (Crocodile Fever), and Morna Young (Lost at SeaAye, Elvis).

Current recipients:

About New Playwrights Awards

Meghan Tyler is an award-winning writer from Newry, Northern Ireland, and one of the New Playwrights at the Lyric Theatre in 2018.
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About New Playwrights Awards

Elspeth is an actor, writer, musician, and founder of Edinburgh-based theatre company, Stoirm Òg.
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About New Playwrights Awards

Glasgow-based producer Michael John O’Neill. He is the inaugural recipient of the Bruntwood Prize Original New Voice Award for his first full length play, AKEDAH.
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About New Playwrights Awards

Laurie Motherwell is a playwright born and raised in Glasgow.
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About New Playwrights Awards

Hannah Lavery is a Scottish poet, playwright and performer.
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About New Playwrights Awards

Nelly Kelly is a queer, trans non-binary playwright, dramaturg, performer and drag artist. They have a masters with distinction in Playwriting and Dramaturgy from the University of Glasgow.
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About New Playwrights Awards

Catriona is from the Isle of Lewis but spent much of her life in Plockton, Lochalsh. She has worked as a theatre artist, actor and writer for many years, primarily in her native Gaelic.
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