On this page you can find all the information you need to support your application – please look at the comprehensive set of FAQs, below, and carefully read the application form before submitting your application

New Play Commission Scheme logo

The NPCS is supporting the commissioning of producible new plays for live performance. The scheme will fund the initial commission portion of current WGGB contracts for 15 writers, expecting co-applicant venues/producers to meet subsequent payments.

The application portal is now live. In preparation for submitting your application, please read the supporting guidance here. Applicants also need to complete an equality monitoring form. Applications close at 12 noon on Friday 24 June.

FAQs

These Frequently Asked Questions have been created to support your application process. The questions are divided into four categories – to see the answer to any question, click on the down arrow. You can also download the full list of FAQs as a PDF from the Accessibility section and from the PDF downloads section below.

Applications are welcomed from any professional pairing of a playwright and a producer, venue or theatre company in England.

To be eligible for the NPCS the writer must meet the following criteria:

  • You must be at least 18 years of age at the date of your submission
  • You must be resident in, but do not need to have been born in, England
  • You must not be employed by the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain or be a member of the NPCS steering group, selection panel, or a person otherwise connected to this scheme

To be eligible for the NPCS the producer must meet the following criteria:

  • Be registered/located in England
  • Have a demonstrable track record in producing new theatrical works
  • Have sufficient financial reserves to guarantee the appropriate writer delivery fee

No, applications will require a proposal and a sample(s) of previous work.

The scheme will fund the first phase of the commissioning fee as set out in the appropriate WGGB agreement for 15 writers, expecting co-applicant venues/producers to meet subsequent payments.

No, applicants do not have to be members of the WGGB to apply and membership status will not be divulged to the selection panel. We would of course recommend that any professional or emerging playwright join the WGGB. Full details of the benefits of membership and how to apply can be found here 

No, to be considered for the scheme applications must include submissions from both a writer and the producing partner.

Unlike writing development schemes, a specific aim of NPCS is to ensure that new writing is being brought to the stage. The assessment of applications will be made on both the creative idea and the likely pathway to production.

The scheme specifies that 75% of awards will go to applications where the writer or writers have not been commissioned and/or given been given full productions by their co-applicant producer(s) before.

To ensure full transparency and independent oversight, NPCS cannot introduce playwrights to producing partners. However, we have produced a brief fact sheet for those writers without existing relationships with producers which you can access here.

Yes. NPCS is open to proposals of plays written by more than one writer (under the terms of the relevant WGGB agreements); on this website the word ‘writer’ can include a co-writer.

Yes. NPCS also welcomes proposals for co-productions between more than one theatre, producing company or independent producer.

To honour the terms of the scheme’s funding from Arts Council England, both writer and producing partner must be based in England. During the application process you will be asked to provide the full address of the producing partner, and the postcode of the writer, in order to establish eligibility.

Yes, but the resultant script must be written by and credited to you (though co-creation partners may be acknowledged).

Yes, although the final script must be written by and credited to you (though writing partners may be acknowledged).

If the writing process includes improvision by the writer or others from which material is drawn for the creation of a written script, then yes. The final script must be written by and credited to you (though partners may be acknowledged). There are provisions in the WGGB agreements for co-writing agreements to be made at the outset.

New musical theatre writing is eligible for the NPCS, but the scheme will only support the commissioning of the written word (librettist, lyricist or book writer). The additional costs of commissioning the musical composer will have to be borne fully by the producer, and the application should clearly show how this additional funding will be raised, as part of the pathway to production. Additionally, if a musical theatre commission is successfully supported by NPCS, subsequent conversations will be required to establish the appropriate WGGB collective agreement against which funding will be awarded.

As NPCS was designed to stimulate new pieces of original work, translations and adaptations of existing work will not be eligible. That is not to understate their value or importance in the literary landscape but to reflect the fact that our research suggested that they were increasing in commission numbers while new works were decreasing.

No. Applications must be submitted by a producing partner on behalf of a playwright/producer partnership. However, you can apply if you are part of a pre-existing producing company, of which you are not the only member, which produces new work.

 

The Faber New Play Award of £5,000 will be given to the best play written under the WGGB New Play Commission Scheme by an unpublished playwright, judged by a panel of theatre practitioners. To be eligible for the award, the script must be submitted to Faber by 3 May 2023. As part of the award, the play will be published by Faber to coincide with its premiere. Full terms and conditions can be found here.

All the required information can be found on this website – please refer to the How to Apply page, read all the FAQs and look at the application form. The process has been designed to be light-touch and not over-burdened with administration. If you have any questions not answered in any of the supporting documents, please email us.

In addition to completing a simple application form, requiring information from both writer and producer about the proposed commission, applicants will be required to send examples of the writer’s work (not to exceed 10 pages), the producer’s most recent financial statements (annual audited accounts) and a completed equal opportunities form.

The application should be submitted by the producing partner, but information will also be required from the writer, so the process of completing the application should be done collaboratively to ensure all relevant information is included.

As part of NPCS’s commitment to equality, equity and diversity, a key number of awards have been reserved for writers currently under-represented in the theatre writing community. If you would like your application to be considered for one of those places, there is an opportunity to state this within the application form.

Documents can be submitted as Microsoft Word or PDF files, or as a JPG or PNG image files. Each document should not be larger than 4MB. If you wish to submit video or sound files, these should be provided as links to host sites such as YouTube, Vimeo, SoundCloud or Bandcamp.

We will do our best to help – please email us via the Contact us form and we will endeavour to respond within 48 hours.

Yes. Please visit the Accessibility page on the website for full information about alternative formats. If your question is not answered there, please email us via the Contact us form and we will endeavour to respond within 48 hours.

Yes. You may provide your application as video / voice files or filmed BSL, if preferable. Please refer to the Accessibility page on the website for more information. If your question is not answered there, please email us via the Contact us form and we will endeavour to respond within 48 hours.

Yes. NPCS is committed to making the scheme as accessible as possible and will make specific funds available to independent producers or writers to pay for a support worker(s) for the application process, if required. Please email us via the Contact us form and we will endeavour to respond within 48 hours.

As part of NPCS’s commitment to equality, equity and diversity, a key number of awards have been reserved for writers currently under-represented in the theatre writing community. If you would like your application to be considered for one of those places, there is an opportunity to state this within the application form.

Applications will first be assessed for eligibility and checked to ensure that all documents provided can be opened by the NPSC administrator. All eligible applications will then be sent to the Selection Panel, who will make their assessment on both the creative idea and the likely pathway to production. The Selection Panel will meet to agree a shortlist – shortlisted applicants will subsequently be invited to an online meeting (via Zoom) with members of the Selection Panel. Following these meetings, the panel will reconvene and make their final decision on the 15 awards to be made under the NPCS.

Playwrights April De Angelis, Tom Wentworth and Roy Williams, director and playwright Aisha Khan, producer Kate Pakenham and producer and director James Dacre. You can read their biographies on the website.

No. The NPCS has been created to support the commissioning of new playwriting but does not have the resources to finance full productions. However, since applications will be assessed on the likely pathway to production, we hope that commissions will make it to the stage.

Yes, all applicants will be notified of the outcome of their application.

No, as you will be submitting a proposal, not a script.

The Faber New Play Award of £5,000 will be given to the best play written under the WGGB New Play Commission Scheme by an unpublished playwright, judged by a panel of theatre practitioners. To be eligible for the award, the script must be submitted to Faber by 3 May 2023. As part of the award, the play will be published by Faber to coincide with its premiere. Full terms and conditions to be confirmed.