Become a Playwright

Outside Edge Theatre Company invite you to enter an exciting competition with a life-changing prize.

Outside Edge Theatre Company (OETC) is the UK’s only theatre company and participatory arts charity focused on addiction. We’re inviting people in recovery to submit plays for the inaugural Phil Fox Award for Playwriting and the winner of the competition will receive a £6,000 commission and mentoring from playwright Enda Walsh.

This award, named after OETC’s founder, invites playwrights with any level of experience from across the UK to submit full-length scripts about issues related to addiction. The prize of a £6,000 commission from OETC will enable the winner to continue developing the winning script or to develop a new one about issues related to addiction. They will also receive mentoring from multi-award winning playwright Enda Walsh, who chairs the competition’s judging panel.

Phil Fox
The late Phil Fox who inspired the award

This year’s competition is open for entries until 16 June with a winner announced in early November. Submitted full-length plays from UK residents must be original, unproduced and about issues related to addiction. Writers with lived experience of addiction or affected by addiction are strongly encouraged to apply, although this is not a requirement for eligibility.

Playwrights will need to clearly articulate how their scripts relate to these issues, which are not limited to substance or alcohol misuse, but also include subject matter involving non-chemical addictions, such as social media or sex addiction. Plays may also explore the social or structural determinants that contribute to addiction, such as access to services or the supply chain of an addictive product. The characters do not themselves need to be addicted – for example, plays about people directly affected by another person’s addiction, such as family members, will also be accepted.

‘The launch of the inaugural Phil Fox Award for Playwriting is an exciting change of direction for Outside Edge Theatre Company,’ says OETC artistic director, Matt Steinberg. ‘This investment in developing new writing and finding stories not often represented on our country’s stages builds upon our reputation as an innovative theatre maker producing hard-hitting and controversial plays.

‘To be joined on this new adventure by such an extraordinary panel of judges feels like a fitting tribute to the legacy of our founding artistic director, whom the award is named after. We hope this accessible commissioning opportunity encourages established and first-time playwrights to think imaginatively about issues related to addiction. I can’t wait to read what they come up with!’

Alongside Enda Walsh, judges for this year’s award include Simon Stephens (Tony and Olivier Award-winning playwright), Barbara Broccoli OBE (James Bond films and West End and Broadway theatre producer), Indhu Rubasingham (artistic director of the Kiln Theatre), Denise Gough (Olivier Award-winning actress), Matt Applewhite (Nick Hern Books managing director and commissioning editor), Sonya Hale (OETC associate theatre facilitator and Synergy Theatre Project and Heretic Voices award-winning playwright) and Matt Steinberg (OETC artistic director).

‘We’ve assembled a fantastic judging panel who share my admiration and respect for Outside Edge Theatre Company,’ says Enda Walsh. ‘We are all very much looking forward to receiving these plays. To those writers – get writing, be brave with your submissions, and the very best of luck with the work.’

More information on the 2020 Phil Fox Award for Playwriting, including how to apply and eligibility criteria can be found on OETC’s website,

The Phil Fox Award for Playwriting is generously supported by an anonymous friend of Outside Edge Theatre Company, The Carne Trust and Unity Theatre Trust.

Outside Edge Theatre Company will be performing at the DDN Conference later this year – look out for our rescheduled date.

We value your input. Please leave a comment, you do not need an account to do this but comments will be moderated before they are displayed...