James Tait Black Prize for Drama

The University of Edinburgh in association with Playwrights' Studio, Scotland and the Traverse Theatre are proud to present the James Tait Black Prize for Drama.


Submissions are now closed.

James Tait Black Prize for Drama

A £10,000 prize celebrating innovation in playwriting


The James Tait Black Prize for Drama is a £10,000 award is bestowed to the best original new play produced from 1 January - 31 December 2018.

The annual drama prize is open to any new work in English, Scots or Gaelic by playwrights from any country and at any stage in their career. It is organised by the University of Edinburgh in association with Playwrights' Studio, Scotland and the Traverse Theatre.

Judges will award the accolade to a play which displays an original voice in theatre and one that they feel has made a significant and unique contribution to the art form.

The winner will be announced at an award ceremony held at The Traverse Theatre during the August festivals in Edinburgh, where extracts of the shortlisted plays will be performed.

The James Tait Black Prize for Drama was launched in 2012, when the UK's oldest book awards were extended to include a new category for drama. Last year Tanika Gupta's powerful and personal drama, Lions and Tigers, was the sixth play to win the £10,000 prize.


Tanika Gupta's Lions and Tigers, based on the true story of her great uncle and freedom fighter Dinesh Gupta, won the prize in 2018.

Eligibility Criteria 

Submissions must be made from agents or the original producing company, and the nominator must have permission from the playwright before making a submission.

If the play is shortlisted, the playwright must agree to co-operate with the organisers in the award ceremony and consent to give rights to Playwrights' Studio, Scotland for a rehearsed reading of their work.

Eligible plays are 60 minutes or longer in playing time, originally written in English (including all standard and non-standard varieties) Scots or Gaelic, first produced between 1 January and 31 December 2018, and performed by a professional company for more than six performances.

The playwright must have been commissioned formally by a professional organisation using a contract recognised by an industry regulator within the country of production (e.g. in the UK, The Writers Guild of Great Britain, Scottish Society of Playwrights and Federation of Scottish Theatre, UK Theatre, Equity or ITC).

The production must have had a full production by a professional company using professionally contracted personnel.

Submitted plays are long-listed by post-graduate students from the University of Edinburgh. A panel of academics and industry experts then decide on the shortlist, and go on to select the winning play.

Deadline for submissions: Submissions are now closed.



     Edinburgh Uni     Playwrights' Studio logo     Traverse Theatre

Photographs by Neil Hanna

Follow Playwrights’ Studio, Scotland on: Facebook Twitter