HomeOpportunities for South AfricansNational Playwright Competition 2024 For Emerging playwrights In South Africa

National Playwright Competition 2024 For Emerging playwrights In South Africa

National Playwright Competition 2024 For Emerging playwrights In South Africa – The project is presented in honour of Adam and Rosalie Small for their contribution to South African literature philosophy and education as well as their unwavering advocacy against social injustice. The competition seeks to discover and award emerging playwrights and so only writers who have not had their scripts or other work professionally produced and staged are eligible to enter. Previously unpublished and unproduced South African scripts that celebrate and enhance inclusivity and social cohesion will be eligible for consideration.

An integral part of the vision for this award is to provide support in the space that exists between the idea for a script and the final draft of that script for production. In this way, the competition is intended as a resource for both new writers and producing theatres interested in developing and programming contemporary South African work.

Enquiries[email protected]


The National Arts Festival is an important event on the South African cultural calendar, and the biggest annual celebration of the arts on the African continent. Starting at the end of June/beginning of July, it runs for 11 days and is held in the small university city of Makhanda (formerly Grahamstown), which is situated in the Eastern Cape, 130km from Gqeberha.


1. This competition is organised by The National Arts Festival, in association with HEINEKEN Beverages (the “Promoters”).

2. The competition is open to debutante scriptwriters who are over the age of 18 years and residents of South Africa, and have completed high school, except for any employee, director, member, partner, agent or consultant or any person directly or indirectly who controls or is controlled by the Promoters, and their immediate family members (“Disqualified Persons”).

3. By entering the competition, all participants and winners agree to be bound by these rules which will be interpreted by the Promoters, whose decision regarding any dispute will be final and binding. The Promoters reserve the right to amend, modify, change, postpone, suspend or cancel this competition and any prizes, or any aspect thereof, without notice at any time, for any reason which the Promoters reasonably deem necessary.

4. The Promoters are running a playwriting competition, the winner of which will have his/her play produced at The National Arts Festival 2025, at various theatre houses across South Africa, as well as a cash prize of R25,000.00 (twenty five thousand rand) (“the Prize”).

5. The competition commences on 14 June 2024 and ends on 02 August 2024, both days inclusive. Entries received after the closing date will not be considered.

6. To be eligible for the prize, participants must:

6.1 complete the competition entry form below, as well as submit a copy of their identification documentation.

6.2 submit a brief synopsis and 10 page writing sample of your proposed script in the form of a scene, a couple of scenes or even a short play that could be developed into a full length script. Do not submit a full-length script at this stage.

6.3 ensure that the proposed script:

6.3.1 is the participants own work;

6.3.2 is written in any South African language;

6.3.3 is not fewer than ten typed A4 pages (type on one side only). The pages must be numbered and correspond to the standard format used for theatrical scripts;

6.3.4 does not contain any defamatory, offensive, or obscene material, as determined by the Promoters in their sole discretion;

6.3.5 promote diversity, inclusivity, social cohesion, and inspire a movement to craft a better future through the galvanizing power of the arts;

6.3.6 may be in any text driven genre. In the case of a cabaret, musical or poetry programme, the music, lyrics and poems must be original.

6.4 submit the script under a pseudonym. Participants must ensure that his/her name is not on the cover page or anywhere else on the script. The participants’ full names must however be set out in the competition entry form.

7. The competition is limited to one entry per person. Only playwrights who have not had a script or other written work professionally produced for the stage or television, and who have not had their written work published in a commercially available book, anthology or textbook are eligible to enter. Participants may not have won another script-writing competition with the play submitted in this competition. Scripts submitted in previous years of the competition may not be submitted again. Any queries in this regard may be addressed to the Promoters.

8. By submitting the entry form the participant warrants that the script is his/her intellectual property and that the script is not subject to any third party rights of any kind, including but not limited to, any copyright or pre-existing right of production, purchase and/or distribution. For the purposes of these terms and conditions a participant is deemed to be the author of the script irrespective of whether or not the author physically submitted the entry form and script. In the event of multiple authorship, each author constitutes an entrant for the purposes of these terms and conditions and any claim the Promoters may have against a participant under terms of these terms and conditions, or at law, the Promoters will hold jointly and severally against each author.

9. The Promoters are under no obligation to return the submitted scripts and no corrected or additional pages will be accepted after the entry deadline.

10. Five finalists will be selected by the Promoter’s panel of judges from all the entries received during the competition term, and will be notified by telephone by no later than 28 October 2024. The judges’ decision is final and no correspondence will be entered.

11. The five finalists will hereafter start a mentoring programme, during which they will receive mentoring support with the aim of preparing the final version of their scripts.

12. The finalists will attend a reading of their work at the end of the mentoring process, after which the panel of judges will revisit the scripts and will select the winner of the competition.

13. Participants acknowledge that, while they retain copyright in the scripts and ideas they submit for entry, the Promoters of the competition and their producing partners will be afforded the rights to stage the winning work within a 12-month period following the announcement of the winner. The first public performance and/or reading of the winning script must be afforded to the Promoters. In the course of such staging the winner will be eligible to receive writers royalties within industry norms and standards but, apart from the Prize, will not receive further remuneration for the staging of their work. The winning script will be produced in accordance with normal production standards. Participants agree that they will not take any action against the Promoter for its production of the play, or for the infringement of copyright in the work submitted for entry into this competition. A standard royalty fee (a percentage of profit after the run) may be negotiated for any subsequent season of the play. This is however in the sole discretion of the Promoters. The winning text, subject to quality, will be produced by a theatre company appointed by the Promoters. Said company will be the autonomous producer of the production and all decisions, creative and otherwise will be solely at said company’s discretion. Once the winning play has completed its runs/seasons, the Promoter will notify the playwright in writing and all rights will revert to the winner. The winner undertakes to license no other runs, in any language, while this production is in process.

14. The Promoter reserves the right to publish the name(s) of the finalists and the title of the scripts. The winner will be required to take part in publicity campaigns to promote the production of the script. The winner may be required to be photographed for publicity purposes or to be interviewed or participate in a radio or television broadcast, and consent to their image and name being used for such promotion and publicity. No fees will be payable in this regard.

15. No incomplete or corrupted entries will be accepted. Entries will only be accepted if they comply with all entry instructions. Responsibility is not accepted for entries lost, damaged or delayed as a result of any network, computer hardware or software failure of any kind. Proof of sending will not be accepted as proof of receipt.

16. All participants and the winner, as the case may be, indemnify the Promoters, their advertising agencies, advisers, nominated agents, suppliers, its affiliates and/or associated companies against any and all claims of any nature whatsoever arising out of and/or from their participation in any way howsoever in this promotional competition (including, as a result of any act or omission, whether as a result of negligence, misrepresentation, misconduct or otherwise on the part of the Promoters) and/or use of the Prize.

For more Information: Visit the website for National Playwrights Competition 2024


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