Soho Theatre – The Verity Bargate Award

Sponsored by Character 7, the Verity Bargate Award is Soho Theatre’s flagship new writing award with the winning play produced in a full production on their stages.

It doesn’t matter how old you are, where you’re from or what you do. If you’ve never written before, that’s fine by them.

Launched in 1982, the Verity Bargate Award is one of the longest-established playwrighting awards in the UK and honours Verity Bargate, Soho’s co-founder who passionately championed new writing during her time at the small but hugely influential fringe theatre company, Soho Poly. In 2022 the Verity Bargate Award celebrated its 40th birthday.

This year submissions open on Thursday 11 April.

The winner will be announced in late 2024 and will receive:

  • £8,000 for an exclusive option for Soho Theatre to produce the prize-winning play
  • A full London run of the play staged at Soho Theatre
  • Workshops and rehearsed readings of the play in India and USA

For the first time in the history of the Verity Bargate Award, Soho Theatre partners with leading new-writing venues in India and USA to hold workshops and readings of the prize-winning play. This year’s judging panel consists of playwright Anupama Chandrasekhar (The Father and the Assassin at National Theatre), multi award-winning screen and stage actor Alan Cumming, Olivier Award-winning playwright Moira Buffini (Handbagged at Hampstead Theatre / West End; Dinner at National Theatre / West End), and writer, director and Nouveau Riche artistic director Ryan Calais Cameron (For Black Boys Who Have Considered Suicide When The Hue Gets Too Heavy at Royal Court Theatre / West End; Typical at Soho Theatre). Further judges will be announced soon.

Previous judges include Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Laura Wade, James Graham, Theresa Ikoko, Morgan Lloyd Malcolm (all former Soho Theatre playwrights), Lolita Chakrabarti, Russell T Davies, April De Angelis, Sue Townsend, Emma Rice, Irving Wardle, Meera Syal and Ikenna Obiekwe. The award is chaired by film and television producer, Character 7’s Stephen Garrett.

In the months leading up to the submission window, they will travel the length and breadth of the UK and Ireland, to bring new-writing workshops to emerging playwrights. These workshops equip participants with the tools and inspiration to write a new play, encouraging first time writers to take their first steps in playwriting.

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible for The Verity Bargate Award, you must live in the UK or Ireland. It is open to emerging playwrights who have had less than three professional productions to their name. A ‘professional production’ is usually defined as a run of 3 weeks or more where the writer is paid Writers’ Guild of Great Britain (WGGB) rates.

Submission Requirements

Submissions should be at least one hour in performance time. As a general rule of thumb, 10,000 words will correspond to one hour. A good way to estimate this is to read your script out loud.

Submissions must be unproduced, with a maximum of three rehearsed readings or equivalent development allowed before submission.

The preferred file format is PDF.

There is no one way to layout your script, and every playwright will have their preferred way of doing so. They suggest that if you are unsure of how you’d like to do so you have a look at some plays by writers you admire for inspiration.

Further details, terms and conditions and contact details can be found on the Soho Theatre website

Submission deadline:

The Verity Bargate Award 2024 will be open for submissions between Thursday, 11 April 2024 (11 am) – Monday, 17 June 2024 (11 am). Submissions will be made through their online portal using the link above and submissions outside of this period will not be considered.

Deadline: 17 June 2024 at 11am (submissions open at April 2024)

Source: BBC Writers

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