The Mercury Theatre in Colchester has teamed up with publishing house Josef Weinberger to relaunch a playwriting prize aimed at uncovering productions for larger theatres in the UK.
The Mercury/Weinberger Playwriting Prize 2018 is searching for previously unperformed play, with the winning entry picking up a cash prize of £5,000, a publishing deal with Josef Weinberger and the possibility of a full production at the Mercury Theatre.
The partnership builds on 2017’s inaugural Mercury Playwriting Prize, which was last year won by Oliver Bennett, who is having his play Europe After The Rain produced at the theatre.
A panel of industry judges for the 2018 competition will be announced in September.
In addition, the Mercury has announced a second strand to the prize, which will be the Mercury/Weinberger Future Voice Award, designed to recognise writers aged 16 to 25.
The winner will receive £500 and a rehearsed reading of their play.
Mercury artistic director Daniel Buckroyd said: “The Mercury is committed to originating new work and supporting the development of emerging talent.
“Our 2018 programme is built around this focus, with two newly commissioned adaptations, a brand new British musical, and the premiere of Europe After The Rain by Oliver Bennett, the winner of last year’s Mercury Playwriting Prize – so this partnership with such an established champion of new work as Josef Weinberger is incredibly exciting, as we seek to include the very best new work in our programme in Colchester and on tour.”
James Cawood, head of plays at Josef Weinberger, added: “I want Josef Weinberger to be a name synonymous with new writing, a home where new writers are supported and developed and where their careers can flourish. To show our commitment to this we are guaranteeing representation and publication of the winning play while also being excited to be introduced to a pool of new writers and unique stories.”
The online portal for entries will open on May 25, with the deadline for entries on July 20. Winners will be announced on the week commencing November 2018.