The Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting, which gives out awards totalling £40,000, has opened for entries this year.
The winner of the 2013 prize will receive £16,000 and three judges’ awards of £8,000 each will also be handed out.
All four winners will have the chance to develop their play with Manchester’s Royal Exchange Theatre, with a view to production. Theatre publisher Nick Hern Books will also publish all winning plays that are performed at the Exchange.
On the judging panel this year are playwrights David Eldridge and Tanika Gupta, actress Suranne Jones and National Theatre associate director Marianne Elliott. Joining them is the Royal Exchange Theatre’s artistic director Greg Hersov, theatre critic Benedict Nightingale, journalist Jenni Murray and chairman of commercial property company Bruntwood, Michael Oglesby.
Applicants can submit their scripts from January 31 to June 3. The competition is open to all writers aged 16 and over based in the UK and Ireland and entries are made anonymously.
The shortlist will be released on October 22 and the winners will be announced on November 22.
Oglesby, chairman of Bruntwood, said: “With continued cuts to arts funding, competitions like the Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting are now more important than ever. As we discovered last autumn with the Bruntwood Prize Roadshow, there is a huge appetite for playwriting in this country.
“New plays are vital for sustaining our theatres and stimulating their audiences. We are proud to be working in partnership with the Royal Exchange for the fourth cycle of the Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting that has launched the careers of some exceptional playwrights.”