Bitter Pill are launching The Painkiller Prize: a new (and hopefully annual) playwriting prize, but with a twist.

Unlike many other prizes, they will not be asking for completed scripts. Instead, playwrights will be invited to submit a pitch form for a new idea alongside a sample of their writing.

Particularly, they want to celebrate an audacious and thought-provoking playwright who places humour at the heart of their work.

After the submission window and alongside award winning playwright and director Jon Brittain, (Rotterdam, The Crown), they will then meet with a small group of shortlisted writers before selecting the winner, who will receive a commission of £7,500 to write a new play.

They will then work with the selected playwright to develop their play ahead of a rehearsed reading at a theatre in central London.

Playwrights will also have the opportunity to consult with a range of leading industry figures throughout the drafting process.

All UK-based playwrights will be eligible to submit a treatment/pitch for a play with a maximum cast size of 4.

Playwrights will be able to submit their applications/pitch from Monday 25 September until Monday 13 November 2023 and they should be sent to:

There is no age limit on who can apply but you must be UK based to be considered.

In order to apply you will need to provide the following:

  • A completed pitch form that be found on their website
  • A copy of your CV. Bitter Pill are keen to receive applications from UK-based writers of any and all backgrounds. Each pitch will have a significant bearing on which playwrights progress to the next stage, however, they’d also like to know about your career and any previous work. This CV does not have to be a “Theatre” CV. If you have written for a different medium or if this is your first full length play, they still want to hear from you.
  • A sample of your writing (no longer than 1,500 words). This sample should to be written for the stage but can take the form of a monologue or dialogue.

Deadline: Monday 13th November 2023

Read more here