Mercury Theatre open applications for new playwriting development programme

The Mercury Theatre in Colchester and Josef Weinberger Ltd have joined forces once again to nurture and grow the very best writing talent from the East of England in their exciting new playwriting development programme.

Over the next 9 months, Mercury Playwrights in association with Josef Weinberger Plays will support a group of new writers, to guide and mentor them through the process of creating their own full-length play or piece of theatre.

Participants will meet online once a month from June 2020 through to February 2021. These monthly sessions will led by award-winning writer Kenny Emson and will take writers through a two-draft process with one-to-one dramaturgy support.

Throughout the programme, Kenny will also be joined by an exciting list of guest writers, including Anya ReissRachel De-LahayVickie Donoghue, Guleraana Mir and David Eldridge.

The Mercury are looking for fresh new voices, writers who are bold, ambitious and theatrically daring. To ensure they tell the most dynamic and varied stories, they are particularly keen to hear from writers who are underrepresented in this industry whether this be by class, disability, ethnicity, gender or sexuality.


They ask all applicants to:

  • Send 5 pages of their best writing for stage. This could be a short play, a monologue, a scene or scenes from a longer play, or the beginning of a play they would like to develop.
  • State their connection with the East of England – applicants must be from or currently reside in this area to take part.
  • Provide a high-res headshot & bio.
  • Provide a short statement of 200-250 words explaining why they would like to take part.

Applications should be sent to


  • Submissions must be no longer than 5 pages.
  • Submissions should be written in a legible font or typeface and attached to email as PDF or Word Document files only.
  • They only accept one script per writer.
  • The Mercury can only accept original work.
  • Name and contact details should appear on the title page only (this ensures your anonymity during the reading process)
  • Applicants must be from or currently reside in the East of England.
  • Applicants must be aged 18 or over.
  • The Mercury will formally acknowledge all script submissions.
  • All scripts will be read in full by the Mercury and an assembled panel of readers.
  • All submissions will be given due consideration, but, regretfully, they cannot provide feedback on every script.
  • Selected applicants will be notified by Thursday 11th June 2020.

Any queries about these guidelines, please email

To be part of this programme, applicants must be free to attend an initial Zoom meeting on the morning of Friday 12 June 2020, and all nine workshops. These will take place via Zoom online on:

  • Thurs 18th June – PM
  • Thurs 16th July – PM
  • Thurs 20th August – PM
  • Thurs 17th September – PM
  • Thurs 15th October – PM
  • Thurs 19th November – PM
  • Thurs 17th December – PM
  • Thurs 21st Jan 2021 – PM
  • Thurs 25th Feb 2021 – PM

Deadline for applications: Friday 5 June 2020

Source: BBC Writer’s Room

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