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The Painkiller Project is currently closed for submissions and our March 2022 submission window will be our last for a little while. We will however be continuing to release new podcasts over the next couple of months.


The Painkiller Project is a playwriting competition with a £250 prize for each winning play. From May 2021 we will be open every other month for submissions.

From September 2021, two plays will be selected each submission window and then released on our podcast (available here). So far our plays have featured actors such as Tamsin Greig, Jason Watkins, Noma Dumezweni, Toby Jones, Miriam Margolyes and Jessica Barden.

Since March 2020 the project has played an important role in the development of numerous emerging playwrights. While established artists have risen to the challenge of creating work during the pandemic, a new generation of playwrights have not been given a meaningful platform. This initiative exists as a remedy.   

We rely on receiving donations from those who believe in the project. If you would like to donate to the project, or if you know anyone who might want to support it, it would mean the world to us. To do so, there are two options:

  • You can become a patron to the project through Patreon. This allows you to make a donation that would be repeated each time a new winning play is released, roughly once a fortnight.

  • Or, you can make a one-off donation through

The information.

During our Submission Windows we will allow access to the submission portal, which can be found here. You will only be able to submit your script during a submission window.

Before submitting your script, please make sure that:

  • Your name, email address and any personal details do NOT appear anywhere on your script

  • Your script is no longer than 1500 words, including directions and character names.

  • It includes a title page with a title, a synopsis and a casting suggestion for each character

  • It is either a PDF or Word file

Plays should be written for 1 or 2 actors.

The two selected playwrights will receive £250 each. We will try to give feedback to as many plays as possible but will only give it if we think it is helpful rather than for the sake of it - we don't have all the answers!

Each winning play will be produced (in audio form) and released on The Painkiller Podcast.

We request you do not submit more than one play per submission window.

We want playwrights to feel they can write about whatever they want to write about and we recommend that you have a listen to the podcasts we have already released on The Painkiller Podcast to get a sense of the kind of work we select.


We are also excited to read writing that seeks to push the boundaries of what can be achieved within this form. 

Finally, we like work that embraces complexity and moral ambiguity, and that understands how humour is essential to good writing.


@BitterTheatre on Twitter for updates.

Playwrights must be 18 or over to apply.

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