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We support the work and development of debut and emerging writers along with the artists who bring their words to life. We seek to discover stories in close conversation with our times, from voices we haven’t heard before, that helps us and our audience see the world anew.


There is no ideal ‘503 play’…We want to discover stories in close conversation with our times, from voices we haven’t heard before, that makes us see the world anew. Don’t be limited by the scale of your ambition – we once landed the first person on Mars and she “floated up to the ceiling and was held like a balloon”. Just tell the story you’ve been burning to see on the stage. We want to surprise, invigorate and entertain our audience, we celebrate bold theatricality, emotional connection and plays that provoke the mind.

All scripts must be submitted via the online portal on our website.

On submission, you will receive an automatic email receipt.

After an initial assessment, all plays we decide to take forward will be read by at least two Theatre503 readers. These scripts will then be discussed at our monthly readers’ meetings, and those with potential for production, or writers we would like to develop a relationship with, are identified. Those scripts will then be considered by our senior reading team.

We aim to get back to you with an outcome on your script within four to six months, but during busy times – such as the Playwriting Award – this may take much longer.

We regret that we are unable to offer feedback as standard on all plays. However, we aim to communicate the outcome of the process concerning all submissions to writers, and some feedback, or ongoing communication may be embarked upon at the theatre’s discretion.

We only accept one script at a time. If we have decided not to take your script forward, please understand that we are not very likely to read another draft, unless specific feedback has been given to that end.

We are interested in reading unproduced scripts from any debut and emerging writer that fits the following criteria:

You have not yet had a full-length play of more than 65 minutes produced for at least 3 weeks or more in any theatre, and two weeks or more in a major subsidised theatre/organisation including a national tour.

You have limited international credits where longer runs are not a part of another country’s ecology and/or limited screen credits.

Please note that we are not able to consider adaptations or musicals. We are also not able to accept international submissions to our Unsolicited portal, but welcome them for our bi-ennial International Playwriting Award.

Given the time and resource going into supporting our writers to bring their words to life on our stage, we also factor into consideration the impact having a show on will have on the writer, so we can ensure those who will benefit more from the opportunity are given priority.

We apply this criteria to all script submissions: Unsolicited, Playwriting Award, Rapid Write Response and the 503Five and is inclusive of translations.

We are very keen to encourage first time translators,  but we are aware that a degree of experience may also help the realisation of the original writers script, so we are open to a wider pool of translation experience, as long as the original playwright fits the above criteria.

The same criteria applies to programming productions at Theatre503, in particular our 3-4- week productions. It is not uncommon for some proposals to have had a rehearsed reading/scratch night/work in progress performance, but it is less likely be able to be considered for production if it has had a short run already – unless a directly solicited transfer and/or part of a tour. Past success of a short run in another venue, particularly one in London, is not necessarily a guarantee of a successful run at 503 and in some cases has often counted against it, given the anticipated audience reach of a company has already been met.

Please avoid submitting your play to both script submissions and programming at the same time. Equally if a play has been passed on by our literary team we are unlikely to be able to consider it for programming unless any redrafting substantially alters the script.

Please see guidelines for both these on the relevant pages for script submissions and programming submissions before applying.

Ultimately our decision making comes down to the quality of the script, the story it is telling and the difference it will make to the writer. We want to surprise, invigorate and entertain our audience, we celebrate bold theatricality, emotional connection and plays that provoke the mind.

If you would like to invite us to see your work, please head over to our Invites page.

We are more than happy to read submissions and proposals sent by agents on behalf of their clients, through our Unsolicited script reading process. However, we will only accept submissions from individual writers for the Playwriting Award, 503Five and Rapid Write Response.

Lisa Spirling, Artistic Director


24 Jun — 25 Jun
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Theatre503 Writers’ Programme...

26 Jun
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