Verity Bargate Award

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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.

Launched in 1982, the Verity Bargate Award one of the longest-established playwrighting awards in the UK and 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. In 2022 the Verity Bargate Award celebrated its 40th birthday.

This year submissions open on Thursday 11 April to coincide with the Soho Theatre opening of the 2022 Verity Bargate Award-winning play, Boys On The Verge Of Tears by Sam Grabiner, directed by James Macdonald. You can read an interview with Sam here.

The winner will be announced in late 2024 and will receive:

  • £8,000 for an exclusive option for Soho Theatre to produce the prize-winning play
  • A full London run of the play staged at Soho Theatre
  • Workshops and rehearsed readings of the play in India and USA

For the first time in the history of the Verity Bargate Award, Soho Theatre partners with leading new-writing venues in India and USA to hold workshops and readings of the prize-winning play. This year’s judging panel consists of playwright Anupama Chandrasekhar (The Father and the Assassin at National Theatre), multi award-winning screen and stage actor Alan Cumming, Olivier Award-winning playwright Moira Buffini (Handbagged at Hampstead Theatre / West End; Dinner at National Theatre / West End), and writer, director and Nouveau Riche artistic director Ryan Calais Cameron (For Black Boys Who Have Considered Suicide When The Hue Gets Too Heavy at Royal Court Theatre / West End; Typical at Soho Theatre), award-winning musician and actor Rebecca Lucy Taylor AKA Self Esteem (Cabaret at Kit Kat Club) and Anthony Lau (Associate Artistic Director, Sheffield Theatres).

Previous judges include Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Laura Wade, James Graham, Theresa Ikoko, Morgan Lloyd Malcolm (all former Soho Theatre playwrights), Lolita Chakrabarti, Russell T Davies, April De Angelis, Sue Townsend, Emma Rice, Irving Wardle, Meera Syal and Ikenna Obiekwe. The award is chaired by film and television producer, Character 7’s Stephen Garrett.

In the months leading up to the submission window, we’ll travel the length and breadth of the UK and Ireland, to bring new-writing workshops to emerging playwrights. These workshops equip participants with the tools and inspiration to write a new play, encouraging first time writers to take their first steps in playwriting.

We are also running workshops and information sessions online and at Soho Theatre, Dean Street. If you’d like to attend, check out the links below:

Workshop (Free)

Saturday 4th May (2pm) – Online Workshop for Disabled Artists (led by Olivier Award Winning Playwright Matilda Ibini)

Information Sessions (Free)

Weds 1st May (7.30pm) – Online

Thursday 9 May (5.30pm) – In-Person

This year nationwide workshops are taking place at:

  • Curve Leicester: Tue 26 Mar
  • Oxford Playhouse: Thu 28 Mar
  • Live Theatre, Newcastle: Thu 28 Mar
  • Bristol Old Vic: Tue 2 Apr
  • Lyric Belfast: Thu 4 Apr
  • Birmingham Rep: Mon 8 Apr
  • Abbey Theatre, Dublin: Tue 9 Apr
  • Northampton Royal & Derngate: Wed 10 Apr
  • Leeds Playhouse: Tue 16 Apr
  • Wales Millenium Centre: Wed 17 Apr
  • Traverse, Edinburgh: Wed 17 Apr
  • The Tron, Glasgow: Thu 18 Apr
  • Royal Exchange, Manchester: Wed 24 Apr
  • Sheffield Crucible: Mon 29 Apr

For over 50 years Soho Theatre has championed new writing, from lunch time plays in the 1970s to today’s commissions, attachments, Writers’ Labs and awards. Open to new and emerging UK and Irish writers, the Verity Bargate Award uncovers the best new plays and launches the careers of some of Britain’s most established playwrights and screenwriters. Previous winners include Sam Grabiner (Boys On The Verge of Tears, 2022), Diane Samuels (Kindertransport, 1992) Amanda Wilkin (Shedding a Skin, 2020), Matt Charman (A Night At The Dogs, 2005), Vicky Jones (The One, 2013), Toby Whithouse (Jump Mr Malinoff, Jump, 1998) and many, many more.

For more information on this year’s award read our news story here.



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