Playwrights Development Programme

The Mercury Theatre in Colchester will once again nurture and grow the very best writing talent from the East of England in their exciting new playwriting development programme.

Kenny Emson HeadshotOver the next nine months, Mercury Playwrights will be guided and mentored them mentored through the process of creating their own full-length play or piece of theatre.

Participants will meet once a month from July 2023 through to March 2024. These monthly sessions will be led by award-winning writer Kenny Emson and will take writers through a two-draft process with one-to-one dramaturgy support.

Throughout the programme, Kenny will also be joined by an exciting list of guest writers.

The Mercury are looking for fresh new voices, writers who are bold, ambitious and theatrically daring. To ensure they tell the most dynamic and varied stories, they are particularly keen to hear from writers who are underrepresented in this industry whether this be by class, disability, ethnicity, gender or sexuality.


How to apply

We ask you to:

• Be over the age of 18
• Provide a short statement of 200-250 words explaining why you would like to take part.
• Send 5 pages of your best writing for stage. This could be a short play, a monologue, a scene or scenes from a longer play, or the beginning of a play you would like to develop.
• Tell us about your connection with the East of England – applicants must be from or currently reside in this area to take part.
• Provide a high-res headshot and bio.
• Submit an Equal Opportunities Monitoring Form, found below.

Please note applications are now closed until early 2024.

Apply Now  Equality & Diversity Form

Rules & Guidelines

• Applicants must be aged 18 or over.
• Submissions must be no longer than 5 pages.
• Submissions should be written in a legible font or typeface and attached to email as PDF or Word Document files only.
• We can only accept one script per writer.
• We can only accept original work.
• Name and contact details should appear on the title page only (this ensures your anonymity during the reading process)
• Applicants must be from or currently reside in the East of England. East of England includes Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Norfolk and Suffolk.
• The Mercury will formally acknowledge all script submissions.
• All scripts will be read in full by the Mercury and an assembled panel of readers.
• All submissions will be given due consideration, but, regretfully, we cannot provide feedback on every script.
• All applicants will be notified by Mon 26 Jun 2023.
• Selected Mercury Playwrights will attend monthly in-person/online sessions that will be organised in keeping with the latest government guidelines.

All nine workshops for the 2023/24 cohort will be held at the Mercury Theatre on:
– Wed 5 Jul, 7 -9pm
– Wed 9  Aug, 7-9pm
– Wed 6  Sep, 7-9pm
– Wed 4 Oct, 7-9pm
– Wed 1 Nov, 7-9pm
– Wed 6 Dec, 7-9pm
– Wed 3 Jan 2024, 7-9pm
– Wed 7 Feb 2024, 7-9pm
– Wed 6 Mar 2024, 7-9pm

If you have any questions, please get in touch: [email protected].