Sponsored by Character 7, the Verity Bargate Award is Soho Theatre’s flagship new writing award with the winning play produced in a full production on our stages.
It doesn’t matter how old you are, where you’re from or what you do. If you’ve never written before, that’s fine by us. What matters is that great stories are told – human, inspiring and urgent stories which can only exist in this moment.
For almost 50 years, Soho Theatre has championed new writing. Since 1982, the Verity Bargate Award, Soho Theatre’s playwriting award, has uncovered the best new and emerging writers. It has launched the careers of some of Britain’s most established playwrights and screenwriters including Matt Charman (Bridge of Spies), Vicky Jones (Touch at Soho Theatre), Toby Whithouse (Doctor Who) and many, many more. The Award honours Verity Bargate, Soho’s co-founder who passionately championed new writing during her time at the small but hugely influential fringe theatre company, Soho Poly.
The 2020 award was judged by a panel of industry experts including former Soho writers Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Laura Wade, screenwriter Russell T Davies, actress and playwright Lolita Chakrabarti and Character 7’s Stephen Garrett. From a record number of 1493 entries, a longlist of 20 inspiring and fabulously imagined emerging voices, and a shortlist of seven incredibly eclectic new plays, Amanda Wilkin was announced as the winner of the Verity Bargate Award 2020 with her captivating play Shedding A Skin.
The 2022 award panel included past Soho playwrights Theresa Ikoko (Girls, 2015, Soho Theatre), James Graham (Tory Boyz, 2008, and Monster Raving Loony, 2016, Soho Theatre) and Morgan Lloyd Malcolm (Mum, 2021, Soho Theatre), as well as April De Angelis (Jumpy, Royal Court and West End). The award was once again chaired by film and television producer, Character 7’s Stephen Garrett. The winner was announced as Sam Grabiner’s Boys on the Verge of Tears. Rhianna Ilube’s Samuel Takes a Break in Male Dungeon N°5 After a Long but Generally Successful Day of Tours received a Highly Commended Award.
'The life-changing moment came when the Soho called to say I'd won.'
What's On Offer?
The winner receives £7,500 in respect of an exclusive option for Soho Theatre to produce the play.
Am I eligible?
The Verity Bargate Award is open to any playwright who has had fewer than three professional productions and who lives in the UK or Ireland. There are no restrictions on subject matter. Musicals and other forms of theatre are welcome but will only be judged on the text that is submitted.
How do I apply?
The Verity Bargate Award 2024 will open for submissions in late 2023.
All submissions must be written for the stage. Screenplays, prose or poetry is not eligible.
All submissions to the Verity Bargate Award are final and redrafts will not be accepted. Please make sure you are happy with your play before you submit.
Submissions are limited to one play per writer.
Submissions should be at least one hour of performance time. This usually means a minimum of 40 pages, though monologues may be shorter.
Submissions should have one sole author. Co-writers and devised pieces are not eligible.
Musicals and plays with songs are accepted, but will be judged on text alone.
Adaptations are not accepted.
Submissions must be unproduced, with a maximum of three rehearsed readings or equivalent development allowed prior to submission.
Previous Verity Bargate Award submissions are not accepted.
The Verity Bargate Award is not read anonymously. If you would like your submission to remain anonymous, please ensure your name and contact details do not appear anywhere on your script.
The Verity Bargate Award is open to emerging playwrights who have had less than three professional productions to their name. A ‘professional production’ is usually defined as a run of 3 weeks or more where the writer is paid Writers’ Guild of Great Britain (WGGB) rates.
Arts Council England
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