For Playwrights

Awards and Prizes

Here is an evolving list of awards and prizes available to Australian playwrights. If you know of others, please let us know.

  • Max Afford Young Playwrights Award is a $30,000 biennial award and development workshop for a playwright between the ages of 18 and 40. The Award is managed by APT. The 2024 award will be announced in late March and entries for the next award are expected to open at the end of 2025. The Award is managed by Perpetual, as Trustee of the Thelma Afford Trust.
  • The Erin Thomas Fund supports emerging regional playwrights to take up opportunities that will assist their artistic development. The Fund was established by the Thomas Family and Playwriting Australia to commemorate Erin’s optimism, creative talent, and to further her generous contribution by supporting emerging writers.
  • Rodney Seaborn Playwrights Award – this annual $20,000 award provides financial assistance for playwrights during the writing or development of a play or a project, and might include workshops, dramaturgical support, production costs, publishing or touring.
  • The Rodney Seaborn Playwriting Support Fund – provides grants for up to $5,000 to assist playwrights and others working in the area to advance knowledge and appreciation of play writing as an art form.
  • The $30,000 Mona Brand Award is presented every two years to an outstanding Australian woman writing for the stage or screen. An Early Career Writer Award of $10,000 for a female writer who is in the early stages of her career is also offered.
  • The Patrick White Playwrights Award offers a cash prize of $7,500 for a full-length unproduced play of any genre written by an Australian playwright over 18 years of age. The readers and judges assessing the scripts seek a work that is original and ambitious with strong theatrical potential.
  • The Patrick White Playwrights Fellowship is a position for an established Australian playwright whose work has been produced professionally in Australia within the last four years. The winning playwright receives a total prize package of $25,000 which includes a year-long Fellowship in recognition of their excellent body of work, and a commission to write a new play.
  • The Griffin Award recognises an outstanding play or performance text that displays an authentic, inventive and contemporary Australian voice, with the winner receiving a $10,000 prize.
  • The Balnaves Foundation Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Fellowship is offered by Belvoir.
  • The AWGIES – the Australian Writers’ Guild offers numerous awards for produced and unproduced scripts across multiple genres and formats.
  • The AWG’s David Williamson Prize is comprised of: (i) a $20,000 prize awarded to the playwright of the most outstanding theatre script of the given year; and (ii) an $80,000 grant awarded to the theatre company which staged the winning theatre script, for the purposes of commissioning, developing and staging a new Australian work.
  • The Martin-Lysicrates Prize – a competition for plays written for adolescents that are modelled on the ancient Greek tradition, but with a modern twist. Australian playwrights submit the first act of a new play and the three finalists’ entries receive a staged reading.
  • The Noosa Arts Theatre National One-Act Playwriting Competition – offers a total prize pool of $8,000 cash.
  • Canberra Youth Theatre’s Emerging Playwright Commission offers an emerging playwright a professional commission to develop a full-length work that brings the voices and stories of youth to the stage. Playwrights under 35 from across Australia are eligible to apply for the $16,500 commission, supported by Holding Redlich. The successful applicant will develop a full-length script suitable for performers aged seven to 25.
  • The Shane & Cathryn Brennan Prize for Playwriting was launched in December 2021, developed to discover and celebrate the best new scripts among Australian playwrights. Thanks to the generous and ongoing philanthropy of Shane and Cathryn Brennan, the $60,000 prize pool sees winning playwrights in two categories (Stage and Theatre for Young Audience) take home $10,000 each, while longlisted writers in both categories will share in $40,000. The Prize is supported by APT – check out the collection of past winners here.
State based
  • The Nick Enright Prize (part of the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards) – this annual $30,000 prize is offered for a play or a work of music drama given its first production in Australia during the prize period.
  • Prize for Drama, Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards – this $25,000 annual prize is administered by the Wheeler Centre on behalf of the Premier of Victoria.
  • Queensland Premier’s Drama Award – an initiative of Queensland Theatre with the support of the Queensland Government, open to all Australian citizens and permanent residents who have an unproduced live-performance text requiring further development towards its production debut. The eventual winner receives a full professional production in Queensland Theatre’s mainstage season.
  • Queensland Theatre’s Young Playwrights’ Award – annual award for high school aged writers (years 9 – 12).  The winner receives an all-expenses paid trip to Theatre Residency Week (valued up to $1500), dramaturgy sessions with Queensland Theatre and a professional reading of their work.
  • Jill Blewett Playwrights Award – $12,500 is awarded for an unproduced play of any genre written by a professional South Australian playwright.
  • The Flinders University Young Playwrights’ Award – State Theatre Company South Australia’s major award for the encouragement and support of new writing talent.
  • University of Tasmania Prize (The Premier’s Literary Prizes) – this $5000 prize is for the best new unpublished literary work by an emerging Tasmanian writer.
  • The Western Australian Writer’s Fellowship – this $60,000 Fellowship is designed to assist a Western Australian writer, of any style or ​genre, to develop their writing practice and give them the time to create new work in a one year time period.
  • The Premier’s Prize for an Emerging Writer – this $15,000 is for the first published work of prose, poetry or narrative nonfiction, in any genre, by an author or authors residing in Western Australia.
  • ATYP Foundation Commissions – two Foundation Commissions, one for 10-13-year-old performers and one for 14-17-year-old performers, are awarded each year to playwrights of any age. Both plays are published by Playlab and produced as part of ATYP’s season.
  • The annual Queer Playwriting Award is a collaboration between Melbourne’s Gasworks Arts Park and Midsumma Festival, is part of the Midsumma Presents Program.
  • The Silver Gull Play Award is for a playwright resident in New South Wales. The total prize money for the award is $5000.
  • The Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting. The UK’s biggest prize for playwriting. An International Award of £8,000 is open to international playwrights invited to anonymously apply via their named international partners, which in Australia include Belvoir Theatre and Melbourne Theatre Company.
  • Susan Smith Blackburn Prize – given annually to recognize women who have written works of outstanding quality for the English-speaking theatre. The Prize currently awards $70,000 annually to the Finalists. Each year, a specified list of professional theatres throughout the English-speaking world is invited to submit plays for consideration.
  • Theatre503 International Playwriting Award – the winner receives £6,000 and a world premiere production at Theatre503 after a year’s support and development, with their play published by Samuel French Ltd. For emerging playwrights.
  • The Yale Drama Series Prize – annually invites submissions of original, full-length, English-language plays by emerging dramatists from across the globe. In addition to the publication of the winner, the play is given a professional staged reading at a prestigious venue, and the playwright receives the David Charles Horn Award of US$10,000.
  • The Australian Theatre Festival NYC New Play Award – celebrates two new plays or musicals with distinct Australian voices. The award offers a total cash prize of $20,000 USD for two unproduced, full-length plays or musicals written by Australian writers, over the age of 18, with the winner receiving $15,000 USD and the runner-up receiving $5,000 USD. Along with the cash prize, the winning play or musical will be developed with ATF Co-Artistic Director Mark Barford and presented as an elevated staged reading in New York City as part of the Australian Theatre Festival NYC.

Submitting for Publication

APT‘s catalogue is the world’s largest online showcase and searchable database of the best Australian playwriting. The plays of the catalogue are either published by one of our partnering publishers or by APT itself.

From 2022, APT’s publication slate has focussed on scripts developed through our play development programs and our key partnerships. While we’d love to read your work, unfortunately we lack the core funding and resources required to read scripts sent to us outside of our programs, or to facilitate public submissions call outs.

Have a look at the awards and prizes above, or check out our current slate of programs for potential opportunities. 

Unsolicited scripts will not be read.

If my play is published, what about distribution?

Distribution through APT involves a simple agreement authorising APT to sell the script and associated photocopy licences. Full copyright ownership rests with the playwright.

What about production enquiries?

APT does not offer Production Licensing Services. If you are a Producer seeking a License, you can click on the Production Enquiry tab on the play you are looking at and an email will be sent to the Playwright, their Agent or their Estate manager. A response will be provided to you directly from the playwright or their representative.

What is the royalty structure?

Playwrights receive the following royalties and payments from APT:

  • Script sales – 30% of the selling price
  • Copy licences – 50% of the fees received

Royalty payments for script sales and copy licences are calculated annually and paid in the first quarter of the following year. If $25 is not reached in one year, the amount is carried forward into the next year.

APT does not handle Production Licensing or Production Fees. 

Got another question?

Check out our FAQ here, or reach out to our team via our contact form here.

We acknowledge that we live and create on unceded lands. We pay our respects to the First Peoples of Australia, and to their elders past, present and future.

© Australian Plays Transform 2024