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The Women’s Prize for Playwriting

Submissions now open

What is the Women’s Prize for Playwriting?

Paines Plough, Ellie Keel Productions and 45North launched The Women’s Prize for Playwriting in 2020 to support female, UK and Ireland-based writers. The winning playwright receives £12,000 in respect of an exclusive option for Ellie Keel Productions and Paines Plough to co-produce the winning play.

The mission of The Women’s Prize for Playwriting is to address the inequality in the number of plays written by women and men on major stages in the UK. In 2018, only 26% of new plays on main stages in Britain were by women. This prize is designed to level the playing field and to honour and celebrate the work of playwrights who identify as female.

We want to celebrate and support women playwrights and discover new work from writers at all levels of experience. We are interested in plays that rejoice in the depth and range of your imagination, that feast on dramatic possibility and are ambitious on all scales and subjects. We’ve designed the criteria of the Prize to allow you to write exactly the play you want, unhampered by restrictions or limitations.

Whoever you are and however much or little you have written in the past, the team at The Women’s Prize for Playwriting wants to read your work.

The judges for the 2021 Prize are…

Mel Kenyon (Chair)
Arifa Akbar
Lucy Kirkwood
Jasmine Lee-Jones
Winsome Pinnock
Indhu Rubasingham
Jenny Sealey
Nina Steiger
Nicola Walker

Jodie Whittaker.

Submissions open on 07 April 2021 at 3pm, and close on 12 July 2021 at 5pm.  Head to  to find out more.

2020 Finalists

Check out the 2020 finalists talking a bit about their plays, about why they wrote them, and about what they want to see on UK stages in the future. After much deliberation, our judges decided to award the inaugural Women’s Prize for Playwriting 2020 to two writers: Amy Trigg for REASONS YOU SHOULD(N’T) LOVE ME  (tickets on sale now) and Ahlam for YOU BURY ME. Both received the £12,000 prize.