Twenty-three of the best: Organisations for new scriptwriters

Twenty-three of the best: Organisations for new scriptwriters

By Holly Whytock 02/04/14

You’ve written a play. Now how do you get it read, developed and performed? Holly Whytock rounds up the theatres, theatre companies and creative writing organisations offering opportunities for scriptwriters...

1. National Theatre 

The literary department connects the NT with writers and is at the core of artistic activity. The department is happy to receive and consider unsolicited full scripts from the UK and Ireland, synopses or treatments will not be considered.


2. The Royal Court

The Royal Court is a new writing theatre. The literary office accepts unsolicited play scripts throughout the year. The Studio at The Royal Court runs writers groups, a biennial Young Writer’s Festival and Rough Cuts – a season of works-in-progress.


3. Soho Theatre

The Writers’ Centre at Soho Theatre accepts unsolicited scripts throughout the year and runs a range of programmes for writers including year-long residencies and an initiative for deaf and disabled writers, as well as commissioning new work.


4. Bush Theatre 

The Bush accepts unsolicited script submissions twice a year and develops new work for its stage through workshops and readings. BushGreen is a community of writers providing online resources, events and workshops.


5. Theatre503 

Theatre503’s literary department accepts unsolicited scripts at designated times throughout the year. Development programmes for writers include residencies, an annual festival of new plays and readings, events and workshops. The biennial Theatre503 Playwriting Award gives the successful applicant £6,000 and a production of their winning play at Theatre503.


6. The Old Red Lion 

The literary department at the Old Red Lion accepts both solicited and unsolicited scripts. Successful submissions benefit from a bespoke development programme.


7. The Finborough Theatre

The Finborough Theatre welcomes unsolicited scripts at any time of the year.


8. BBC Writersroom 

The BBC Script Room accepts submissions online at designated times throughout the year. The Writer’s Room offers resources on how to begin writing a script, developing your ideas, form, character, writing dialogue and editing. 


9. Paines Plough 

Paines Plough accepts unsolicited scripts that follow the guidelines laid out on their website. The Big Room is Paines Plough’s playwright development space – invited writers are given bespoke support dependent on individual needs.


10. HighTide Festival Theatre 

HighTide’s literary department accepts scripts twice a year through IdeasTap. HighTide also runs Escalator Plays, an initiative for playwrights from the east of England who receive a bespoke package of development and have their plays produced.


11. New Writing North 

The writing development agency for the north of England, New Writing North works with writers to develop career opportunities, new commissions, projects, residencies, publications and live events. 


12. Newcastle Centre for the Literary Arts 

NCLA works across the North East region providing events, education, projects and publications in the field of creative writing.


13. Live Theatre 

A new writing theatre company based in Newcastle, Live Theatre developed and delivers Be A Playwright, an online playwriting course. 


14. West Yorkshire Playhouse

West Yorkshire Playhouse develops new writing through emerging writer’s groups, free writing workshops and residencies.


15. Everyman & Playhouse Theatres 

The Everyman accepts unsolicited scripts and has a particular focus on writers who are from Liverpool or scripts that reflect the city’s culture. The Everyman runs an annual new writing festival, Everyword, to promote new and established writers and theatremakers, plus a young writer’s programme and workshops, readings and masterclasses for playwrights.


16. The Royal Exchange 

The Royal Exchange hosts The Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting, the biggest national competition for playwriting.


17. Birmingham Repertory Theatre 

The REP is committed to commissioning and producing new work and typically produce between five and ten world premieres every year. To support this the REP runs a range of developmental writers’ programmes, designed to nurture new talent at the early stages of a writer’s career. 


18. The National Theatre of Scotland 

The National Theatre of Scotland operates a national Script Reading Programme, allowing anyone who is Scottish or living in Scotland, who has written a complete stage play, in any language, to submit it for consideration. 


19. Playwright’s Studio Scotland 

Scotland’s development organisation for playwrights, the Playwright’s Studio engages the people of Scotland with new playwriting and raises the standard of plays for presentation to the public. 


20. Traverse Theatre 

Scotland’s new writing theatre, The Traverse, accepts unsolicited scripts online at designated times each year. Traverse Young Writers is a course led by Scottish playwrights that culminates in a scratch night of the participants’ work. There are also residencies, writer’s workshops and development readings.


21. Writing South West 

Writing South West provides events, writing groups, support resources and information on festivals plus services such as proofreading to writers in the South West of England. 


22. Druid, Ireland 

Druid, Ireland’s writers’ theatre, accepts script submissions (by post only) in the English language from Irish, UK and other European or Europe-based writers.


23. Sherman Cymru, Wales

Sherman Cymru’s Literary Team runs a variety of writers’ courses, masterclasses, attachments for advanced writers and a young writers group. There are also online resources and support. Sherman Cymru does not currently accept unsolicited scripts.



Are there any other new writing organisations you’ve found helpful? Let us known in a comment!


For more articles, jobs and opportunities, visit our Writing hub.

Image by churl, on a Creative Commons license.

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