Competition Rules

Please Note: The competition is now closed for entries.

Liverpool Hope Playwriting Prize Competition Rules 2016-17*

You can download a copy of the Liverpool Hope Playwriting Prize Competition Rules and Royal Court Sample Writer's Agreement.

By entering the Liverpool Hope Playwriting Prize, you agree to abide by the following Competition Rules:

How to Apply

  1. The competition opens for submissions at 10am on Thursday 18th February 2016 and closes on Tuesday 31st May 2016.  Entries must be received by 11:59pm GMT on Tuesday 31st May 2016.  Entries received after this time will not be considered.
  2. Entries must be uploaded to the Liverpool Hope University Online Store at by the competition deadline. Accepted document formats include: Doc, DocX, PDF or TEX, with a maximum file size of 1MB (you may upload up to eight individual 1MB files). Please do not submit any form of supporting evidence. Please note that unfortunately we cannot accept submissions by post, email or any other method. Liverpool Hope University will not be held responsible for entries not correctly uploaded or not received by the Online Store for any reason.
  3. There is a non-refundable entry fee of £20 per script, which must be paid during the submission process via the Online Store. Only one script should be included per submission. You may enter as many scripts as you like via multiple submissions.
  4. All Terms and Conditions of the Liverpool Hope Online Store apply when using it to enter the Liverpool Hope Playwriting Prize.


Script Guidance

  1. Genre: The play should have comedy at its heart, and clearly exemplify the comedy genre.
  2. 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.
  3. Cast: No more than eight actors.
  4. The play must be written in the English language.
  5. 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.
  6. Plays submitted must be the work of the person submitting, and be original, unpublished and professionally unperformed.
  7. 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. 



  1. 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.
  2. 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 and must not be under option by any other theatre or production company/agent.
  3. Genre: The play must be considered a comedy by the panel of readers to be eligible to win a prize.
  4. 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 (i.e. it is not included in the long list of 20, or subsequently the shortlist of 10), it is released from this clause.
  5. Withdrawing: If you wish to submit your script to another competition, agent or other third party, please notify us and we will withdraw your script from the competition. All withdrawals are final. Entry fees will not be refunded.


Judging and Prizes

  1. Judges' decisions: The decisions of the judging panel are final and no correspondence will be entered into.
  2. 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.
  3. 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 Liverpool’s Royal Court wishes to produce the winning play then a separate contract will need to be negotiated and entered into between the winner and the theatre and this may include an option over the play and fee conditions. You can download a copy of Liverpool’s Royal Court’s Sample Writer’s Agreement from the Liverpool Hope Playwriting Prize website and Online Store.
  4. A maximum of two Highly Commended prizes of £1,500 may be awarded at the judging panel’s discretion. 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.
  5. The prizes are as stated and cannot be deferred or transferred [there is no alternative]. 
  6. Writers of longlisted, and subsequently shortlisted, scripts will be notified by email by the competition administrators and the winners will be announced at a celebration event in 2017, posted on the Liverpool Hope Playwriting Prize website and announced in The Stage and Liverpool Echo. Please visit the Liverpool Hope Playwriting Prize website regularly for updates.
  7. Feedback, if requested, will only be provided to those entries making the longlist of 20. No other correspondence will be entered into. Feedback given to the final longlist of 20 is given in good faith and does not constitute correspondence.
  8. Promotion and Publicity: Writers of scripts longlisted in the top 20, and subsequently the top ten, may be required to participate in various promotional activities, for example (but not limited to) providing quotes and photographs to Liverpool Hope University for media use.
  9. 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.
  10. 10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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. 

*Please note the terms and conditions were updated on 1st March 2016 to provide clarification of the term 'professionally performed' and on 29th March 2016 to correct day of the week reference. All dates remain the same.