Unheard Voices: Lancaster Playwriting Prize Announced for 2023


The 2023 Lancaster Playwriting Prize has been announced to focus on disabled writers who live in the North of England.

Hosted annually by The Dukes, the winning entry is judged by funder Lucy Briers, Alice Christina-Corrigan, Karen O’Neill, and one of Lancaster University’s own professors, Dr. Tajinder Singh Hayer. The winner will receive £1,500, a staged public reading of their play, and close mentoring from a specialist within their area of focus, which can help set any struggling writer up for success.

“The Lancaster Playwriting Prize is a great opportunity for playwriters in the North to have their voices heard.” says Karen O’Neill, director of The Dukes. “Creating a space for different perspectives and views on the world from under heard communities, the prize is very important for the Dukes as we strive for creativity for all.”

The award aims to give a voice to underrepresented communities of writers. The submitted play can centre around any theme or topic, as long as it explores themes relevant to the disabled community. The term “disabled” encompasses various challenges faced by local writers in order to make the award as accessible as possible. The term includes: typical mobility impairments and other challenges visible to the eye, individuals who identify as blind or deaf, and people who have an intellectual disability or neurodiversity.

Lancaster University students are allowed, and encouraged, to submit any of their original scripts to be judged by the panel, as long as it fits a certain criterion:

  • The piece must be an original script which has not been professionally produced or published anywhere in the world. It can, however, have been produced by an amateur theatre group or read at a workshop.
  • It cannot be an adaptation of any pre-existing piece of media, such as a play, film, or television.
  • Musical theatre scripts are not eligible.
  • Scripts must be a minimum of 30 minutes long when performed.

The Dukes require entrants to send their work over email to creativecommunities@dukeslancaster.org in PDF format and should include an attached monitoring form, which can be downloaded from their website. The deadline is the 20th November.

Previous years saw the award focused on other unheard voices within the industry, including unpublished writers over 50 and members of the LGBTQ+ community.

Anyone who is interested in entering can visit the official press release of the competition at The Dukes’ website at https://dukeslancaster.org/get-involved/lancaster-playwriting-prize. Get writing!

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