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SCRIPT READING POLICY

 

Message from Lisa Spirling, 503 Artistic Director:

‘At Theatre503, we support the work and development of debut and emerging writers along with the artists who bring their words to life. 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.’

SCRIPT SUBMISSIONS AND PROGRAMMING CRITERIA

THE WRITER 

Theatre503 is dedicated to writers who …

  • have NOT had a three week production of a show, that runs for more than 65 minutes, anywhere in the world.
  • have not had their work produced for two weeks or more in a major subsidised theatre/organisation including a national tour.
  • have limited international credits, where longer runs are not a part of another country’s theatre ecology.
  • have limited screen credits in TV/Film

THE SPACE

  • Theatre503 is an intimate space and therefore unable to programme shows with a cast size of eight or above.

 THE SCRIPT

  • We do not accept and read scripts from writers based outside the UK* except during the biennial International Playwriting Award.
  • With the exception of Rapid Write Response, we only consider full-length scripts (60+ minutes running time)**
  • We do not accept or read adaptations, musicals, biographical plays or short plays.

*If you are an international writer, with a script you would like 503 to consider, you are welcome to contact the Literary department at literary@theatre503.com  In most cases, we will encourage you to enter your script for Theatre503 International Playwriting Award, however some scripts may be read on an ad hoc basis if time/resources allow

**If you have a short script you would like us to consider, please contact the Literary department. These scripts may be read at our discretion but, more often than not, you will be signposted towards Rapid Write Response, our short play initiative.

 

SUBMIT A SCRIPT 

You can submit a script to Theatre503 in a number of ways, via our online portal:

  • Unsolicited scripts (open first weekend of every month)
  • Theatre503 International Playwriting Award (next open 2024)
  • Rapid Write Response (for RWR to specific shows only)

 

For Programming proposals, please read the section below and visit the Programming page.

In all of the above categories, we are only interested in reading unproduced scripts from any debut and emerging writers who meet the detailed criteria above. If your script has received a previous run, we are not able to read it.

 

UNSOLICITED SCRIPT SUBMISSIONS

On submission via the online portal, 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 readers’ meetings, and those with potential for production, or writers we would like to develop a relationship with, will be identified. Those scripts will then be considered further.

We aim to get back to you with an outcome on your script within 3-6 months, but during busy times – such as the Theatre503 International Playwriting Award reading period – 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.

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

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.

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 most from the opportunity are given priority.

RAPID WRITE RESPONSE

Rapid Write Response only happens when we have a show that runs for three weeks.

The submission option will only open between the 9am Wed – 9am Mon of the preview week of a show. Any full-length plays submitted using this drop down choice are deleted.

More information about specific Rapid Write Response events can be found on the specific RWR webpage.

PLAYWRITING AWARD

The International Playwriting Award will be open for submissions again in 2024.

More information can be found on the specific award page or by emailing us at literary@theatre503.com

 

PROGRAMMING

We are currently open for Programming submissions from:

  • Producers with an eligible play looking for a full-length (3-week) run in co-production with Theatre503 in 2024/2025
  • Productions of eligible plays looking for a short London run (1 to 4 nights) in 2024

The same script and writer criteria as above applies to programming proposals at Theatre503. It is not uncommon for some scripts to have had a rehearsed reading/scratch night/work in progress performance, but – as a venue recognised for debut work – they are much less likely to be considered for production if they have had a short run (more than 1 night) already, unless a directly solicited transfer and/or part of a tour. Please Note: If a play has been passed on as an Unsolicited Script in the past, we are unlikely to be able to consider it for Programming.

You should only submit your script for programming if you are/have a Producer attached to the project. Please visit the Programming page for further details on how to apply for Programming consideration.

If you are a Writer looking for a Producer, please submit the script via Unsolicited.

If you are a Producer interested in hearing more about producing at Theatre503, please contact producing@theatre503.com.

 

A NOTE FOR AGENTS

We are more than happy to read submissions and proposals sent by agents on behalf of their clients, and will respond to emails in regard to this, however it is really helpful for us if the play can be submitted through the portal using the Unsolicited drop down choice.

 

For further enquiries please email literary@theatre503.com or programming@theatre503.com

 

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