The Painkiller Project fortnightly playwriting competition seeking short plays

The Painkiller Project by Bitter Pill Theatre is a fortnightly playwriting competition with a small £150 prize for each winning play. The winning play will be produced and released the following week as a podcast (available here). The winning playwright will also get the chance to have a “video coffee” with a line-up of established theatre makers over the coming weeks including Laura Wade, Ryan Craig and Anne-Louise Sarks.

How to apply? 

From W/C Monday 20 April they will be open for submissions of plays between Monday 20th April (10am) and Friday 24th April (10pm) – please send to

All submissions should be done with the following form attached. Download here. Feel free to use a pen name. Plays should be written for 1 or 2 actors.

On Sunday 26th April they will announce a winning play. The winner will receive £150 upfront. They will try to give feedback to as many plays as possible but will only give it if they think it is helpful rather than for the sake of it.

The second submission window will be from 4th-8th May. 


  • Short plays between 500 and 1500 words.
  • Maximum 2 actors.
  • All plays should have been written post 20 March 2020.
  • Plays with the following words included within them will still be considered but they wonder whether it might be a good idea to avoid them: social distancing, coronavirus, COVID, the virus, self-isolation, self-isolate, antibody test, quarantine, ventilators, Chris Whitty, herd immunity, Lombardy, Wuhan, flattening the curve, stay at home, vaccine, Dyson, lockdown, Boris Johnson, Rishi Sunak, Jeremy Corbyn, super spreader, Keir Starmer, Houseparty (the app), Zoom (the app), Skype, shielding, Donald Trump, mortality rate, Matt Hancock, stock-piling, toilet paper (within the context of stock-piling), symptoms, asymptomatic, a new or continuous cough, PPE clothing, Sweden, Governor Cuomo.

Deadline: Friday 24th April (10pm) 2020

Source: PLAYWRITING UK Facebook

1 thought on “The Painkiller Project fortnightly playwriting competition seeking short plays”

  1. Claudette Flint

    Would it be all right to send the play this week for the March competition?
    When you say who I would like to perform my play in an ideal world, do you mean if I imagine someone famous? Like Bill Nighy playing the old man and Maggy Smith plaiying his Mum? Do you have part for senior people? Or can junior imiate an older voice?

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