Twelfth Annual Papatango New Writing Prize Opens For 2020 Submissions

Papatango New Writing Prize
Papatango New Writing Prize

The Papatango New Writing Prize, now in its twelfth year, opens for submissions today, Tuesday 3 December 2019, until 9pm on Sunday 2 February 2020.

The Papatango New Writing Prize was the UK’s first – and remains the only annual – opportunity guaranteeing a new writer a full production, publication by Nick Hern Books, a royalty of 10% of the gross box office, and a £6500 commission with full developmental support for a follow-up play. It is also unique in producing the winning play within the same year. Since 2019, the winning play has toured the UK following its London premiere.

In addition, every entrant receives feedback on their script – a commitment made by no other company, especially significant as the Prize averages more submissions on a yearly basis than any other playwriting award. Writers nurtured in this way have gone on to see their scripts produced at many leading venues across the UK.

The winning play will be announced in June 2020, after which it will be developed with Papatango, ahead of a month-long production in London followed by a month-long UK tour across October and November 2020.

This year’s winning play, Shook by Samuel Bailey, is currently completing its UK tour, having received 7 nominations for Off West End Awards including Best New Play, Most Promising Playwright and Best Production. It was described by BBC Radio 4 as the most exciting debut play since Jez Butterworth’s Mojo.

Artistic Director of Papatango, George Turvey, said today, “Following the record-breaking, critically acclaimed, multiple-award-nominated production of this year’s Prize-winner Shook, we’re delighted that the 2020 Prize will be bigger and better than ever. When the winner is announced, we will also unveil a range of new partnerships and our most ambitious tour to date, launching a brilliant new playwright for the whole nation. We will also continue our unprecedented commitment to feedback to every entrant, recognising our responsibility to so many stories from so many new voices.”

2019 winner Samuel Bailey describes his experience, “Winning the Papatango Prize has been huge. Everything from the script development process to the production to the reception the play has received has been a steep – but intensely exciting – learning curve. And that’s what writers need – to get the plays we create in our heads onto stage. That’s the only way to develop, and it’s one of the most difficult things to achieve. Without Papatango Shook might have been read and entered a ‘process of development’, but Papatango commit to producing the play – and they do a brilliant job of it.  I entered only hoping to get feedback, something they give to every writer who wants it, which is an incredible achievement. Instead, I started the most exacting, thrilling, rewarding 6 months of my professional career and now I have the chance to do what I love for my actual job! Apply.”

All entries must be anonymous, have a running time of at least 60 minutes, be original and previously unproduced, and sent in Microsoft Word or PDF formats with a contact telephone number on the front page. Entries should be made by 9pm on 2 February 2020, via the online submission form on Papatango’s website. Full details are available at

Further information on the winning play and listings will be announced in June 2020.

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