Entry Requirements

Please read all the submission guidelines below before entering the Prize; any entries in breach of these guidelines will NOT be accepted. Please write to us through the contact form on this website if you have any questions.

The Prize

The winner of the Prize will develop their play with Papatango over several months, building towards a four week production at Southwark Playhouse in autumn 2019. The script will be published by Nick Hern Books. The writer will receive a royalty of 10% of the gross box office income. Following the production, the writer will be paid a £6000 commission to create a new play with development support from Papatango.

All entrants will be able to opt-in to receive feedback if they wish; please make this clear when submitting your script.


The 2020 Papatango New Writing Prize will be open for entries in December 2019.


The competition is open to anyone resident in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland only.

There is no age limit.

There is no minimum or maximum level of experience required to enter. All you need is a story.

The play must be an original, unperformed and unproduced piece of work. It cannot have received a professional production in any form, anywhere in the world, apart from an absolute maximum of three rehearsed/staged readings or workshops only. Amateur productions do not apply. Any scripts that have been professionally produced or published will be automatically disqualified.

Translations, children’s plays, adaptations of classic plays or existing works in other media, music theatre, television, film or radio scripts are not eligible.

Plays submitted to the prize in previous years are eligible to be resubmitted.

You may submit more than one play if you wish.


As the Prize offers a full production and publication, we are looking for full-length plays, not shorts or sketches. 

We recognise that ‘full-length’ is a contested term; we’d suggest as rough parameters that a minimum running time of 60 minutes OR a script of at least 40 pages OR at least 9,000 words would meet this criterion.


Scripts should be submitted in Microsoft Word or PDF formats only. 

Entry to the Prize is anonymous. Please ensure that your script, including the file title, contains no mention of your name or email address. A contact phone number is all that should be listed.

Please do not include a synopsis or CV.

Please list at least one contact telephone number on the front page of the script itself.

All entries should include page numbers on every page.

All entries should be made via the Submissions form on this website. Any entry made to Southwark Playhouse will be disqualified.


The entrant must exclusively own and control all copyright and all other related rights to the submitted script. It must be available for production and unattached to any other organisation or individual.

The winning play will be under exclusive option to Papatango for a period of twenty-four months after the announcement of the awards; this reflects the substantial development the play will be likely to undergo with Papatango, and the royalty that the writer receives from both the production and publication.

The winning writer agrees to work with Papatango under commission to develop a new play, which will be under exclusive option to Papatango for 18 months from the date of completion of that play.


We regret that, due to the volume of entries, no correspondence can be entered into regarding any part of the judging process. 

All entrants’ email addresses will be added to a private mailing list to receive updates on the Prize throughout the process. We will not use this list to send any information other than about the Prize, it will never be shared with any third parties, and upon completion of the Prize the list will be deleted and no further contact will be made.


The Prize is assessed completely anonymously, by a reading team which is at least 50% female, 20% people of colour and 20% over the age of 40. All readers have an equal role in judging entries throughout the process, which consists of three reading rounds culminating in a final shortlist of five plays.

Only the shortlist will be made public, but all writers who opted to receive feedback will be told where their play came in the process.


All entrants will receive personal feedback once the reading process is complete and after the winner has been announced. If you do not wish to receive any feedback, please note this at the time of your submission.

Please be patient and wait to hear from us. We will be writing to everyone with feedback as quickly as is physically possible, but with only two members of staff to administrate every element of the company’s work, and over 1000 entrants each year, it takes us several weeks to issue these personal messages. We regret that no correspondence over this feedback can be entered into.

Acceptance of terms

Entry into the Prize constitutes acceptance of these terms.