The FAQs can also be downloaded as a large print PDF here
Thank you for your interest in entering the 2021 Papatango New Writing Prize. We hope you find the answers to these frequently asked questions helpful.
Can I enter and only accept part of the Prize if I win?
No. We're all about launching writers and new work with maximum impact, and we're firm believers that to do that requires a production, publication and cash injection - all together!
Should I bother to read the entry requirements?
Yes. Every year, heartbreakingly, scripts are entered which simply don't conform to key principles such as anonymity or length. Given the sheer volume of submissions, we can't check entries when they come in or undertake to liaise with writers about any mistakes, and so if a script breaches a requirement this will only be discovered by its first reader, who will have no choice but to discard it. Please, please take 5 minutes to read our guidelines before you submit! Do so HERE.
What makes a Prize winner?
As always, we'll be captivated by the unexpected - a voice or a story which really stands out but which we can't define until we see it. We honestly don't have any pre-conceptions or parameters about story, setting or style when we read - we just want sparkling dialogue and characters whose reality leaps off the page.
Think of previous Prize winners and you'll realise how eclectic they are: Trestle by Stewart Pringle is a delicate, bittersweet yet funny two-hander, whereas Coolatully by Fiona Doyle plunges us into a tense village community;The Funeral Director by Iman Qureshi tackles religion and sexuality in contemporary Britain, while Foxfinder by Dawn King is an unsettling dystopia in a parallel world. These and the other brilliant winners are all completely different from each other.
What does this mean? Just that we've no idea what our next winners will be. If you write a story set in a world that matters to you, chances are it will matter to one or more of our readers too.
Can co-writers or writing teams enter?
Yes, as long as you're happy to share the Prize equally!
Can I stipulate who directs, performs in or otherwise contributes to the production of my play if I win?
You can't stipulate it but you can ask. As producers, we always reserve the right to select the creative team and cast, subject to the writer's approval, but we're always happy to take suggestions. If we did agree that you or someone you know could direct/star in/design etc the play, then it would be because we believed you or they were genuinely the best person to do so. Our goal is simply to ensure the best artists make your script come alive.
How will entries be assessed?
Entries are read anonymously throughout. We have three reading rounds, which culminate with all readers voting in a blind ballot for the shortlist and winner. This ensures that a wide range of experiences, backgrounds and tastes inform our final decision, and that all readers have an equal say (we don't do celeb-heavy judging panels. We just don't.)
Who is on your reading team?
Our reading team comprises practising theatre-makers - directors, writers, designers, producers, dramaturgs and actors. They all have to pass a rigorous reading assessment to join the team.
The team itself reflects our country and its diverse communities. At the time of writing, our team is: 53.8% female including transgender women; 46.2% male including transgender men; 46.2% LGBTQ+; 7.7% Asian; 15.4% Black; 7.7% Mixed Heritage; 69.2% white; aged from the 20s to the 50s and based across England, Ireland and Wales. As the reading team evolves we will update these statistics.
What goes into the feedback?
With such a huge volume of entries, we can't provide in-depth analysis of each play. Instead, our feedback aims to give you a sense of the reader's thoughts on what worked or didn't work in the script and thus what influenced their decision (whatever it is). Of course, their response will inevitably be subjective, and you may not agree with it. We just hope that knowing how a professional script reader responded to your work, and what stood out to them, will prove useful.
Does it make a difference if I don't want feedback?
No. We don't know whether you opted in or out of feedback when we read your play.
When will I hear back?
We'll keep all entrants informed throughout the process by email - expect general updates in February (after the deadline, when we know the number of entries), April (when we know how many scripts are through to the last round, though won't reveal the titles in the interests of anonymity) and June (when we announce a shortlist and winner). Individual feedback, for those who requested it, will be sent out in late summer 2021.