The Women’s Prize for Playwriting has announced that submissions open for the 2023 Prize today, Monday 16 January.
Produced by Ellie Keel and Paines Plough, the Prize celebrates and champions exceptional playwrights who identify as female or non-binary by providing them with a national platform.
The Prize is awarded to a full-length play – over one hour in length, and written in English, and the winner gets a £12,000 prize. Submissions close on Monday 17 April, with the longlist set to be announced early October. The finalist scripts will be announced in November, and an Awards Ceremony will be held in December 2023.
Previous winners include Amy Trigg for Reasons You Should(n’t) Love Me, Ahlam for You Bury Me, and Karis Kelly for Consumed.
The judges for this year’s Prize, chaired by Artistic Director of Kiln Theatre Indhu Rubasingham, are journalist Samira Ahmed, playwrights April de Angelis and Chris Bush, actor Noma Dumezweni, literary agent Mel Kenyon, journalist and critic Anya Ryan, Head of Play Development at the National Theatre, Nina Steiger, and Guardian Editor-in-Chief Katharine Viner.
Indhu Rubasingham, Chair of Judges, said in a press statement: “It is a real honour to be Chair of Judges as this brilliant prize moves into its third year. The panel will be looking for thrilling, boldly original plays by female and non-binary playwrights of all ages and experience levels. The panel will be choosing our winner in the knowledge that the play will be produced by the Women’s Prize and Paines Plough, so our advice and encouragement to writers submitting to this prize is to write the play you wish you could go and see – the play you think the world needs! It’s particularly lovely to become Chair given that the Kiln hosted the first ever production of a Women’s Prize-winning play, Amy Trigg’s Reasons You Should(n’t) Love Me, just after lockdown ended in 2021. That was a fantastic collaboration and I’m so pleased we are able to continue it. I can’t wait to read the final five plays later this year.”
Ellie Keel, Founder Director of the Women’s Prize for Playwriting, said, “It feels very fitting that we’re opening submissions for the 2023 Prize just as rehearsals begin for YOU BURY ME, our major production and tour of the play that won in 2020. I’m so excited about this year’s Prize – about reading the brilliant submissions from writers and working with our reading team and judges to find our longlist, shortlist and ‘Final Five’, and ultimately the winning play. It continues to be an absolute joy to be at the helm of this campaign to level the playing field, which sadly is more necessary than ever given that recent research has shown that in 2022 men accounted for 74% of credited writers in UK theatre. This is an unacceptable state of affairs which we’re determined to change.”
Katie Posner and Charlotte Bennett, joint Artistic Directors of Paines Plough, added “We can’t wait to kick off 2023 with a third year of the Women’s Prize for Playwriting! This pioneering new prize which we co-founded in 2019 with Ellie Keel is at the centre of Paines Plough’s commitment to levelling up gender equality amongst writers in theatre. The prize has already found three exceptional winners and two of those plays have already had productions: Reasons You Should(n’t) Love Me by Amy Trigg toured to over 19 UK venues, and You Bury Me by Ahlam is currently just weeks away from debuting in Bristol. The prize is not just about identifying writing talent but producing it and sharing that talent across the country as it so rightly deserves. For any writer considering applying we encourage you whole-heartedly to be brave and submit! Previous winners have included first time writers so even if this is your first-time putting pen to paper, please know that this prize is also for you and in return we promise that we and our reading teams will take great care of your script. We can’t wait to read your work and hear your brilliant and bold stories.”
The Prize is sponsored by Samuel French Ltd, a Concord Theatricals company, who are the official publishing partner of the prize.