The Women’s Prize for Playwriting, produced by Ellie Keel and Paines Plough, with Principal Partner 45North and in association with Sonia Friedman Productions today announce the 62 longlisted scripts for The Women’s Prize for Playwriting 2021, selected from 850 entries. The Prize is designed to celebrate and support exceptional playwrights who identify as female by providing them with a national platform. The Prize is for a full-length play (defined as over 60 minutes in length), written in English, and the winning playwright wins £12,000. The Prize is sponsored by Samuel French Ltd, a Concord Theatricals company, who are the official publishing partner of the prize. The founding sponsor of the Prize was PER People.

In its inaugural year two First Prizes of £12,000 were awarded. Reasons You Should(n’t) Love Me by Amy Trigg premiered at Kiln Theatre to critical acclaim in May 2021, directed by Charlotte Bennett. An audio version was produced by Audible the following month, ahead of a national tour in Autumn 2022. You Bury Me by Ahlam, directed by Katie Posner, had its première at the Lyceum Theatre in August as part of the Edinburgh International Festival.

Ellie Keel, Founder Director of The Women’s Prize for Playwriting, today said, “After an amazing first year of The Women’s Prize for Playwriting in which we were delighted to mount a full production of Amy Trigg’s Reasons You Should(n’t) Love Me at Kiln Theatre, as well as the premiere of You Bury Me by Ahlam at the Edinburgh International Festival, I’m thrilled to have a second longlist bursting with quality, ambition and imagination. It’s going to be a difficult job to whittle down these 60 plays to a shortlist – they have in common the fact that they are rich in theatrical possibility and aren’t afraid to take on complex, confronting and important subject matter. I’m proud of every writer who submitted a play to The Women’s Prize for Playwriting in what has been an extraordinarily challenging year for the creative industries.”

Katie Posner and Charlotte Bennett, joint Artistic Directors of Paines Plough, added, “The last 18 months have been an overwhelming challenge for the theatre industry and for freelancers in particular and so we were astounded by the incredible quality of all the plays submitted to this year’s Women’s Prize for Playwriting. The creativity that has shone through despite a pandemic is nothing short of inspirational. We appreciate how hard it is to press ‘send’ on a play and share your words with strangers and it has been a true privilege to have read so many people’s work, which has once again shown that there is an abundance of amazing talent amongst female-identifying playwrights. We can’t wait to continue reading into the next stages of the prize.”

The judges for this year’s Prize are Arifa Akbar, Mel Kenyon (Chair), Lucy Kirkwood, Jasmine Lee-Jones, Winsome Pinnock, Indhu Rubasingham, Jenny Sealey, Nina Steiger, Nicola Walker and Jodie Whittaker.

The longlist in full is:

  • MOUNTAIN WARFARE by Abi Zakarian
  • The Lampy by Áine King
  • Little Sister Alice Flynn
  • Birdie by Alison Carr
  • Mountain by Amy Conway
  • Scum by Ava Wong Davies
  • Like.Share.Kill by Bella Enahoro
  • Sorry did I wake you by Beth Collins and Nina Georgieff
  • Awareness by Beth Westbrook
  • Foreign by Carmen Harris
  • Never Quiet, Always Echoes by Catherine Lucie
  • PIONEER by Clare Slater
  • YELLOW TEETH by Dina Nayeri
  • Of Silent Words by Diya Sengupta and Amy Brian
  • REWILD by Gemma Lawrence
  • Time, Like the Sea by Georgia Bruce
  • After the Cold by Georgie Murphy
  • A Very Odd Birthday Party by Hannah Donelon
  • A Bouffon Play About Hong Kong by Isabella Leung
  • The Rescue by Isabelle Kassam
  • FURIES by Isley Lynn
  • Baghdaddy by Jasmine Naziha Jones
  • This Little Earth by Jessica Norman
  • The Great Floating Island of Brigid by Jo Cattell
  • Consumed by Karis Kelly
  • Void by Laura Waldren
  • Hope and Her Children by Lauren Morley
  • Not by Lisa Parry
  • Jockstrap by Lucy Davidson
  • The Light Trail by Lydia Sabatini
  • upright enuf by lydia luke
  • The Middle by Mandi Chivasa
  • And Tomorrow I’ll Dance With You by Méábh de Brún
  • Behind the Veil by Melina Namdar
  • Why Be Good by Melissa Bubnic
  • Kissing by Miriam Battye
  • The Water Clan by Morna Young
  • Dollars and Sense by Naomi Sumner
  • I Can’t Hear You by Natasha Brotherdale Smith
  • With Striplights Hung From the Stars by Natasha Collie
  • Sankofa by Nicole Acquah 
  • Blessed Spirits by Nicole Joseph
  • Some of Us Exist in the Future by Nkenna Akunna
  • Decades by Paula B Stanic
  • She’s Just Something That’s Happening by Penelope Saward
  • These Demons by Rachel Bellman
  • Torque by Rebecca Hill
  • Queen Mab by Rebecca Wilcox
  • Stars by Rhiannon Brace
  • A Woman Walks into a Bank by Roxy Cook
  • For The Culture by Safaa Benson-Effiom
  • Mandrake by Sarah Power
  • Rojava by Sharon Farrell
  • Aftercare by SJ Wong
  • HOW I LEARNED TO SWIM by Somebody Jones
  • Til it Stops by Sophie Max
  • The Kilburn Muhammad Ali by Tam J Miller
  • G by Tife Kusoro
  • Imposter Syndrome by Tolu Fagbayi
  • Ripe by Trudie Shutler
  • Say it with Sequins by Victoria Buse

The shortlist will be announced on Thursday 25 November, followed by the finalist plays in December. The winner(s) will be announced at a ceremony in London on Friday 4 February 2022.