Mercury Playwriting Prize open for submissions (£2,000 prize, home counties writers only)

The Mercury Playwriting Prize at the Mercury Theatre, Colchester, is open for submissions with the chance to win a £2,000 prize and a year-long attachment to the theatre.

The prize is held  in association with The University Of Essex.

The Mercury says: “The Mercury Theatre is proud to announce its latest major initiative in support of new plays and new playwrights, The Mercury Playwriting Prize 2017. We’re looking for plays of the highest standard suitable for production in the Mercury Theatre Studio.”

Eligibility: The prize is open to writers based in  Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Cambridgeshire, East Sussex, Essex, Hertfordshire, Kent, Norfolk, Oxfordshire, Suffolk, Surrey and West Sussex.

What you get:

  • The winning writer will receive a  £2,000 prize, and a year-long attachment to the Mercury Theatre, Colchester, as an associate artist; plus a production in the Studio Theatre, subject to terms and conditions.
  • Shortlisted scripts will receive a professionally directed reading at the Mercury Theatre.
  • Long-listed scripts will receive written feedback from our panel of readers.
  • Scripts from students at The University Of Essex will be simultaneously entered into The Mercury Student Playwriting Competition. The five best student scripts will receive their own day of readings within the New Work Festival, and the best student script will receive a prize of £200. Being shortlisted for / winning the Mercury Student Playwriting Competition does not prohibit consideration for the main Mercury Playwriting Prize.

What to submit:  

  • Scripts must be full-length (approximately 90 minutes+), and suitable for production in The Mercury Theatre Studio.
  • There is no minimum or maximum cast size, but entrants should bear in mind that the play should be suitable for the Mercury Studio space.
  • Scripts must be previously un-produced and unpublished.
  • Scripts must be wholly the original work the writer.
  • Scripts should be typed, printed, single-sided, with pages numbered and securely fastened.
  • Where possible submit a Word/PDF version of your script.
  • Entries must be accompanied by a completed application form.
  • Scripts MUST NOT DISPLAY the writer’s name or address or other identifying marks anywhere on the title page, or in the text.

Read the full rules here

How to apply: Please fill in this form and send a Word/PDF version of it, along with your entry, to Alternatively, you may submit hard copies to:

Mercury Playwriting Prize
Mercury Theatre
Balkerne Gate

For any queries please email and

Deadline: Friday 31 March 2017 at 5pm

Source: Direct contact



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