Beatie Edney, 26 January 2015

The Question: If you wanted to create a prize for women playwrights, what would be

the criteria for submissions? I.E. Does their play have to be published?

What will the prize mean to the writer?

Participants in the Session: Lee, Juliet, Heather, Stella, Anna, Susan, Lucy, Jen, Mary,

Beatie, Amy and others.

- We discussed the criteria for submissions – there was a consensus that there

shouldn’t be any criteria. The prize should be open to all - like The Open golf

tournament. An invitation should be extended to all.

- How to get the word out was discussed.

- There was a consensus that the play should be a full-length play. The writer should

determine whether their play was ‘full length’ for themselves.

- There was a concern that the organizers would be swamped with submissions, but

that they would have to identify a way to deal with that and several possibilities were

put forward.

- The possibility of having two awards was explored. One for an emerging and one for

an established playwright. There would not be an age limit on the emerging playwright.

The difference between the emerging and the established needed to be identified and

defined. Some of us felt there should be only one prize.

- The possibility of workshops, mentoring and giving the winning submissions a full

production or a reading as part of the prize would have to be carefully considered. The

financial portion of the prize was discussed.

- A need to identify and collaborate with women of influence was explored.

- The possibility of linking with particular venues was discussed.

- The need for the prize to include something other than money was explored. Many of

the writers in the group felt feedback, workshops and networking were as valuable as

a cash prize.

- There was a consensus that a website with resources, information and a toolkit for

women writers would be useful.

- The huge importance of finding the right collaborators was identified.

- Useful panelists were identified, including the possibility of having a playwright on the


- Some of us found the very idea of a ‘prize’ challenging. It could be another

opportunity for writers to feel rejection and that often very little actually benefits the

writers in a meaningful way. A prize can imply a hierarchy of achievement. Anything

hierarchical can be an opportunity for the participants to feel rejected again.

- The intention of the prize to support, promote and encourage women writers and how

it could do that was discussed.

- Some of us felt that the more people who could benefit from the prize the better.

- Some of us felt it was good to have an opportunity to present their work to be read

and that feedback was invaluable. Some felt getting back something tangible was


- We considered the invitation and the possibility of making a commitment to the writer

in that invitation. A commitment that their play would be read, perhaps by interested

professionals and that the writer would be given a response. Perhaps then

connections could be made, a conversation started and a network of support created.

- The need for guidelines about the submissions was identified.

- Describing the invitation has to be carefully thought out and worded.

- The need to find different terminology was identified - other than ‘prize’, ‘judging’ and

winning. We chose ‘CONSIDERATION PANEL’ instead of judging panel – perhaps

award instead of prize.

- The possibility of creating bespoke awards was discussed I.E. to offer the emerging

playwright whatever they needed to take their work on to the next stage.

- The importance of having provider leadership as opposed to hierarchical leadership

was identified.

The women’s playwright award is a formal and gentle way of redressing the hurt

savagery that arises from misogyny. The intention is to support, celebrate, value and

promote the work of women playwrights.



advice, writers, Feedback, Prizes, playwrights, women, Playwrights, feedback, Writers,

THEATRE, support, award, theatre, Advice, Support, Theatre, Women, FEEDBACK

Comments: 1

Wendy Thomson, 12 January 2016

Hi Beattie I'm co-producing a pilot for a female playwrighting award with regional finals across the UK this year (2016) - this

is led by RED Womens Theatre and I'll share your report with them as I didn't attend D&D last year. Best wishes Wendy

from Female Arts magazine…if you'd like to get in touch my email is [email protected] or RED's is

[email protected]