A fortnightly writing competition has been launched to find new short plays that will be released as podcasts throughout the lockdown period.
Produced by theatre company Bitter Pill, the Painkiller Project is offering a £150 prize for each winning play, with one chosen every two weeks.
Selected plays will then be remotely rehearsed by actors, recorded and released a week later as podcasts, with the winning writers also offered video meetings with established theatremakers, including playwrights Laura Wade and Ryan Craig and director Anne-Louise Sarks.
The company has raised some money to get the project off the ground, with all funds going to the playwrights and creatives involved, but said it hopes to raise more in order to keep the project going for as long as social distancing measures remain in place.
Bitter Pill said it hoped the repetitive nature of the project would feel “collaborative and cyclical”, and that it is planning to bring together the winning plays for a physical event in the future.
The first round will be open for submissions between April 10 and 24, with the first play announced on April 26.
All submissions should be written for one or two actors, be between 500 and 1,500 words and have been written since March 20 – the day most theatres went dark in the UK.
The company also said that while plays specifically referencing coronavirus and the isolation period will be considered, “we wonder whether it might be a good idea to avoid them”.
More information about the brief can be found here.