Students Staff

03 November 2015

Essex Playwriting Competition and Festival launches search for writing talent

Budding playwrights are being encouraged to create exciting new work as part of the Essex Playwriting Competition and Festival.

A partnership between the University of Essex and the Mercury Theatre in Colchester is establishing the new competition and festival to nurture talented writers. Up-and-coming playwrights will be offered professional feedback on their writing and they could also potentially see their work developed and staged at the Mercury Theatre or the University of Essex’s Lakeside Theatre as part of the Festival

The closing date for entries is Friday 8 January 2016, with the Festival running from Monday 4 April to Saturday 9 April.

Competition entrants will get expert written feedback on their work from a professional panel of readers, and shortlisted writers will have the chance to work on their play with a professional cast and director and then hear it read to a live theatre audience as part of the Festival programme.

The University of Essex has a long-standing tradition of teaching and nurturing playwriting talent – playwrights who have taught, studied or had work developed at the University include Edward Bond, Caryl Churchill, Ryan Craig, Elizabeth Kuti, Jonathan Lichtenstein, Rebecca Prichard, Paul Sirett and Nobel Laureate Derek Walcott.

Launching the Essex Playwriting Competition & Festival, Artistic Director of the Lakeside Theatre at the University of Essex Barbara Peirson said:

“Lots of people have a story to tell, or ideas to share, and theatre is an ideal, democratic space for that to happen. This competition and festival will nurture people who have been writing scripts for years, and those who are coming to it for the first time. There’s a hugely exciting possibility that the scripts we see this year could be performed at the Lakeside Theatre or the Mercury in future seasons.”

The Essex Playwriting Competition and Festival is part of Mercury Talent - a major new programme launched by the Mercury Theatre to support and develop people who want to work in the arts and creative industries.

Mercury Talent will also feature an early career training programme, Associate Artist development scheme, a social network for Essex theatre artists, and a relaunched playwriting circle. All programmes are open to public to apply to join, and all are free.

Launching Mercury Talent, Artistic Director Daniel Buckroyd said: "As a major arts venue in the East, supported by loyal audiences and public funding, we have a duty to help people who are trying to break into the arts sector – this programme is not about who you know, but how you can make the most of your potential. We are delighted to have the chance to work with the University of Essex to encourage brilliant new writers."

There is more information about all of the programmes, including how to sign up, on the Mercury Talent web pages

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