ETPEP AWARD 2020

The Experienced Theatre Practitioners Early Playwriting Award

Script Deadline - Sunday, 31 March 2020 at 11.00pm

The ETPEP Award 2020 is a playwriting prize for new UK playwrights who work in the theatre industry, run by the Finborough Theatre in association with the Experienced Theatre Practitioners Early Playwriting Trust (ETPEP). 

The Award’s purpose is to find and nurture a playwright who has worked in theatre for two years or more (but not in a literary department setting or as a paid script reader), who is looking to further their ambitions and skill in the art and craft of playwriting.

The ETPEP Award 2020 is open to UK residents of any age who have not had a play professionally produced, and who have worked front of house, in administrative roles, on stage, backstage, lighting, design etc. or in a creative capacity in theatre for at least two years, either now or in the past. 

The award is intended to target and encourage those who are currently working in theatre but who are new to playwriting, and therefore, the Award is not open to those who have worked in any capacity in a literary department, a literary agency, theatre critics, or those who ever have undertaken paid script reading work.

For the avoidance of doubt, this is not an award for playwrights. It is an award for those who work in theatre IN SOME OTHER capacity who also write plays.

We are looking for a play of substance which contributes in some way to our understanding of the human condition or experience, from a writer with potential to enhance our political and social awareness.

The award will be judged completely anonymously until the very final shortlist and interview stage, and brief feedback will be provided on every entry.

The winner will receive a prize of £8,000, a development relationship with the Finborough Theatre including one-to-one dramaturgy with Finborough Theatre Artistic Director and playwright Neil McPherson; a rehearsal workshop with actors and a director to develop the play; and a staged reading performance of the winning play at the Finborough Theatre, London on Sunday, 20 September 2020.

The judges for the 2020 Award are playwright Winsome Pinnock; Artistic Director of the Finborough Theatre and playwright Neil McPherson; Literary Manager of the Finborough Theatre and playwright Sue Healy; Actor, Playwright and Activist Athena Stevens; and Clive Webster of the Experienced Theatre Practitioners Early Playwriting Trust, which founded the award. More judges will be announced shortly.

Before entering you should study the full submission guidelines, available at www.finboroughtheatre.co.uk

The deadline for scripts is Sunday, 31 March 2020 at 11.00pm.

ETPEP Award 2020 Submission Information

The ETPEP Award 2020 is a playwriting prize for new writers who have previously had at least two year’s experience working in theatre. We are looking for promising writers, rather than projects specifically targeted for production. The winner will be given the chance to develop and present their work in a supportive environment.

The Award is open for submissions from Monday, 16 September 2019 until 11pm on Sunday, 31 March 2020..

The winner will receive:

  • The winner will receive a prize of £8,000.
 (£4000 will be presented on the announcement of the winner in July 2020, and the remaining £4000 will be presented at the conclusion of the staged reading performance on Sunday, 20 September 2020).
  • A development relationship with the Finborough Theatre including one-to-one dramaturgy with Finborough Theatre Artistic Director and playwright Neil McPherson.
  • A rehearsal workshop with actors and a director to develop the play.
  • A staged reading performance of the winning play at the Finborough Theatre, London, on Sunday, 20 September 2020.
  • The Award is open to new playwrights who have previously worked in theatre in another capacity for a minimum of two years:
    • ‘New playwright’ – you must not have had more than ten performances of a full length play you have written.
    • “Working in theatre” – This refers to any role from front of house and administrative roles, to backstage, to acting, directing or design. You must submit the name and contact details of a referee, or referees who can verify your work. PLEASE NOTE THAT THE AWARD IS NOT OPEN TO THOSE WHO HAVE WORKED IN ANY CAPACITY IN A LITERARY DEPARTMENT OR A LITERARY AGENCY OR THOSE WHO HAVE EVER UNDERTAKEN PAID SCRIPT READING WORK.
    • For the avoidance of doubt, this is not an award for playwrights. It is an award for those who work in theatre IN SOME OTHER capacity who also write plays.
  • The judges for the 2020 Award are playwright Winsome Pinnock; Artistic Director of the Finborough Theatre and playwright Neil McPherson; Literary Manager of the Finborough Theatre and playwright Sue Healy; Actor, Playwright and Activist Athena Stevens; and Clive Webster of the Experienced Theatre Practitioners Early Playwriting Trust, which founded the award. More judges will be announced shortly.
  • What to submit:
    • Full-length play (without contact details) via email to the contact details given below, and:
    • Cover sheet with contact details.
    • CV.
    • Referee contact details or references.
  • We will accept plays on any theme, although we tend to look favourably on plays with a contemporary subject or a fresh perspective on a historical situation, or life as we know it.
  • The competition is open to anyone resident in the United Kingdom.
  • There is no age limit.
  • The play should be full length, with a playing time of at least seventy minutes.
  • Entries should include page numbers on every page.
  • Any entries received after the deadline will not be read, and no extension is possible.
  • We are only able to accept entries submitted by email in Word or PDF format.
  • Scripts must be entirely complete and in one document only, and not include the writer’s name or contact details anywhere on the script.
  • All entries should include a separate cover sheet with the writer’s name and contact details, including an email address and telephone number.
  • All entries should also include a professional CV (if you have a writing CV you are welcome to include that, but the prize is only open to those who work in theatre IN SOME OTHER capacity who also write plays, so we primarily need your CV for your non-writing job in theatre. Also please include the name and contact information of a referee, or referees, who can verify the details of your background working in the theatre.
  • To prevent confusion, please note that the two year’s experience period does not include training or education, therefore someone who left drama school last year would not be eligible. Likewise, the competition is only for those actively working in the professional theatre – drama teachers or lecturers are not eligible.
  • In a change to last year’s competition, people who have worked for at least two years in the professional theatre in the past, but no longer do so, may enter the competition, strictly provided that they can submit a CV of their theatre experience, and the name and contact details of a referee, or referees who can verify their work in the professional theatre.
  • The award will be judged completely anonymously until the very final shortlist and interview stage, and brief feedback will be provided on every entry
  • The play submitted must be an original, unperformed and unproduced piece of work. It cannot have received a professional production in any form, anywhere in the world. This does not include amateur productions, or up to a maximum of THREE script-in-hand readings or work-in-progress showings. Plays that have already received more than three months of dramaturgy and development with a professional theatre company are not eligible. Any scripts that have been professionally produced or published will be automatically disqualified.
  • Plays previously entered for the ETPEP Award in the past are not eligible.
  • Translations, children’s plays, adaptations, music theatre, television, film or radio scripts are not eligible for the competition.
  • 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 the Finborough Theatre for a period of three months after the announcement of the awards; this reflects the substantial development the play will be likely to undergo with the Finborough Theatre.
  • The judges’ decision on all matters is final including decisions on an entrant’s professional status, and we regret that no correspondence can be entered into regarding any part of the judging process.
  • We reserve the right to withhold awarding a prize in the event of entries not reaching a sufficiently high standard.
  • All entries must be received 11pm on Sunday, 31 March 2020.
    The winner will be announced no later than 1 August 2020.
  • The final shortlist will be announced by 1 July 2020. Interviews with the final shortlist writers will be held at the Finborough Theatre, London, between 1 and 14 July 2020, and you should ideally be available around those dates.
  • The performance of the winning play will be at the Finborough Theatre on Sunday, 20 September 2020, and you should ideally be available on that date and for the week before for rehearsals and dramaturgy.
  • Submissions should be emailed to etpepaward2020@gmail.com


    Any submissions direct to the Finborough Theatre will be ignored.
  • Any queries should be emailed etpepaward2020@gmail.com


    Any queries direct to the Finborough Theatre will be ignored.

The ETPEP Award is managed by the Finborough Theatre on behalf of a charitable trust, the Experienced Theatre Practitioners Early Playwriting Trust.
The Finborough Theatre is a Registered Charity no. 1071304.
The Experienced Theatre Practitioners Early Playwriting Trust is a Registered Charity No. 1154561.