Mercury/Weinberger Playwriting Prize



Mercury Theatre Colchester & Josef Weinberger Ltd are joining forces to discover the very best and most diverse new theatre writing talent from across the UK via a new national playwriting competition, launching this year.

The Mercury/Weinberger Playwriting Prize will be looking for previously unperformed plays that have the ambition, appeal and theatricality to fill larger theatres, with the aim of getting the very best new work published and into production over the next few years.

The winning entry will pick up a cash prize of £5,000, a publishing deal with Josef Weinberger Ltd and the possibility of a full production at the Mercury Theatre.

A panel of high profile industry judges will be announced in September.
The online portal for entries will open on 25 May 2018, the closing date is 20 July 2018 and winners will be announced week commencing 5 November 2018.



Entries will be read/judged according to the following key criteria: quality of dialogue, clarity of storytelling, inherent theatricality, potential audience appeal, originality of voice

  • Writers must be 16+yrs
  • Writers must be based in the UK
  • Writers may only submit one script
  • Writers may only submit plays (musicals are not eligible)
  • Scripts must be full length (minimum playing time 90 minutes)
  • Scripts must be suitable for production in the Mercury’s Main House (c500 seats).
  • Scripts must be wholly the original work of the writer
  • Scripts must be previously unproduced (excludes amateur production)
  • Scripts must be previously unpublished (publication on blogs / personal websites is acceptable provided non-commercial)
  • Scripts must be in English
  • Excerpts, unfinished works or outlines will not be accepted
  • Entries submitted posthumously will not be accepted
  • Entries from Mercury Theatre Ltd / Josef Weinberger Ltd staff will not be accepted
  • By entering, writers agree to grant Josef Weinberger Ltd permission to publish and license the Live Stage Performing Rights in their play if it wins and first refusal (but not an obligation) to publish and license the Live Stage Performing Rights in their play if it is shortlisted. (NB writers who already have publishing/licensing arrangements must ensure they can meet this condition)
  • By entering, writers agree to grant the Mercury Theatre a 2 year exclusive option to produce their play if it wins
  • The decision of the judges is final and no individual correspondence will be entered into
  • Entrants for the Future Voice Award must be aged 16-25 on the competition closing date of 20 July 2018.