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We're thrilled that you're thinking of entering our Playwriting Prize competition. Before you enter, please read the following rules.

How to apply

Entries for the 2019 Playwriting Prize are now closed. The shortlist will be announced shortly - check these pages regularly for updates.

Script guidance

  • Genre: The play should have comedy at its heart, and clearly exemplify the comedy genre.
  • Length: The script should be full-length, i.e. over eighty minutes running time. The text should clearly indicate the intention to have an interval. 
  • Cast: No more than eight actors.
  • The play must be written in the English language.
  • Co-authored work: The Liverpool Hope Playwriting Prize is happy to accept co-authored work but this should be submitted under one name following the rules of anonymous submission as stipulated and with the agreement of all co-authors. By submitting, all co-authors agree to and are bound by these terms and conditions and each co-author will be required, if requested by the University, to provide direct confirmation that they agree to these terms and conditions.
  • Plays submitted must be the work of the person submitting, and be original, unpublished and professionally unperformed (‘professionally unperformed’ indicates when a production has been performed by a professional company paid at Equity rates).
  • Copyright: By submitting a script to this competition, the playwright (and his or her co-authors) warrants that she/he has exclusive ownership of the copyright and moral rights over the work submitted and that it is available for immediate production. The play must not contain or infringe any material that is owned or has been created by another person/s.


  • The competition is open to anyone resident in the United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, British Overseas Territory or with a British Forces Post Office address who is 18 years of age or over on the date of submission of their entry.
  • Submitted scripts must not have been professionally performed (meaning when a production has been performed by a professional company paid at Equity rates) or produced
  • Scripts must not be under option by any other theatre or production company/ agent.
  • Genre: The play must be considered a comedy by the panel of readers to be eligible to win a prize.
  • Anonymity & Exclusivity: All plays will be judged as anonymous entries, and entrants are therefore prohibited from promoting in any way their submitted script during the reading and judging process. The script must not be submitted to any other competitions, theatres or third parties during this period. Once a script is excluded from the process, it is released from this clause.
  • Withdrawing: If you wish to withdraw your script from the competition at any point, please notify us by emailing All withdrawals are final. Entry fees will not be refunded.

Judging and prizes

  • Judges' decisions: The decisions of the judging panel are final and no correspondence will be entered into.
  • The overall winner of the competition will receive £10,000 (one BACS or cheque payment within three months of the winner being announced).
  • If a co-authored work wins a prize, Liverpool Hope University will pay the prize money to the person who made the submission and it will be their responsibility as nominee to distribute the cash prize between the co-authors. It is awarded on the condition that the prize is divided equally between the co-authors.
  • At the discretion of Liverpool’s Royal Court, the winning script will be considered for production either at Liverpool’s Royal Court or another theatre working in partnership with Liverpool’s Royal Court. There is no guarantee that the play will be produced by Liverpool’s Royal Court. Please note: If the writer of the winning script chooses to enter a contractual agreement with Liverpool’s Royal Court regarding the production of the play, 50% of the prize of £10,000 will be deemed an advance against royalties. Any other contractual conditions of any such agreement are separate to these Terms and Conditions, and may be negotiated and entered into between the winner/authorised agents acting on the winner's behalf, and the Theatre, including but not limited to options over the play and fee conditions. Download a copy of Liverpool’s Royal Court’s Sample Writer’s Agreement
  • The Highly Commended prize fund is £3,000. There is no guarantee any Highly Commended prizes will be awarded. Liverpool’s Royal Court may also choose to enter into negotiations and a contract with writers of any Highly Commended scripts.
  • The prizes are as stated and cannot be deferred or transferred [there is no alternative].
  • Writers of shortlisted, scripts will be notified by email by competition administrators. The winners will be announced at a celebration event in 2019, posted on the Liverpool Hope Playwriting Prize website and announced in The Stage newspaper.
  • Feedback, if requested, will only be provided to shortlisted writers. No other correspondence will be entered into. Feedback given to the final shortlist is given in good faith and does not constitute correspondence.
  • Promotion and Publicity: Writers of shortlisted scripts are required to participate in various promotional activities, for example (but not limited to) providing quotes and photographs to Liverpool Hope University for media use. This should be done in a timely manner and not impede the promotion of the Prize.
  • The University reserves the right to withhold the prizes, amend the rules or cancel the competition in whole or part if it considers it necessary or if the standard of entries justifies.
  • Any lobbying of the reading team, judging panel or anyone else involved with the administration of the competition will lead to automatic disqualification from the competition.
  • The University reserves the right to exclude any entry from the competition at any time and in its absolute discretion if the University has reason to believe that an entrant has breached these rules. Entrants will be deemed to have accepted these rules and agree to be bound by them when entering this competition.
  • These terms and condition shall be governed by and interpreted in accordance with English law and Liverpool Hope University and the entrants agree to submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England.