The Walter Swan Playwriting Award

Next Playwriting Competition 

 We are hoping to begin planning a second competition soon. We will share information on this as soon as we have some definite news. 


 Winner of 2015 Award

Padraic Walsh has had considerable success since winning the playwriting prize with his play, Evening. You can read more about him here:
His radio play, Foxes, was broadcast on Radio 4 on 4th May 2017. It is highly recommended.



The winners of the 2015 Playwriting Award were announced on 6th October 2015 at the Walter Swan Trust memorial lecture. 

 The winning plays were performed at Ilkley Playhouse on Friday 4th December at 7.30pm and at West Yorkshire Playhouse on Monday 7th December.


The winning writers are as follows:

Adult award: Evening by Padraic Walsh 
Youth award: Following Orders by Ben Ramsey 

Highly commended:
Adult award: Antarctica by Karla Dearsley 
Youth award: The Cutlery Draw by Oliver Balaam 

The awards were announced at the inaugural Walter Swan Trust lecture which was an event at the Ilkley Literature Festival.  Nick Ahad gave the lecture on access to the theatre, with the heading: ‘Gentrification, Storming the Castle and Accidentally Lecturing a Classroom Full of Police Officers’. The event was opened by Rachel Feldberg, Festival Director, and hosted by Yvette Huddleston, arts correspondent at the Yorkshire Post.  Niccola Swan presented the awards to two of the winners who were there in person.


Thank you very much to everyone who submitted a play; we received over 220 entries which is very good for the first year of a new competition. There were so many good ones and putting the shortlist together was very hard. The judges deliberated very carefully before deciding on the two winners and the two highly commended awards.


Performances took place in early December 2015: 4th December in the Wildman Studio at Ilkley Playhouse and 7th December on the Courtyard Stage, West Yorkshire Playhouse. Directors and actors came from WYP, Ilkley Playhouse and elsewhere. The directors were Yvette Huddleston, Francesca Murray-Fuentes and Nikki Mason. Around 200 people attended these two evenings and really enjoyed the combination of short plays.


The Walter Swan Playwriting Award was run in association with the Ilkley Playhouse and the Ilkley Literature Festival and with support from the West Yorkshire Playhouse. 



In 2015 there were two categories:

The Walter Swan Young Playwriting Award

            for those aged 18 and under as at 1 September 2015

The Walter Swan Playwriting Award

            for those aged 19 and over as at 1 September 2015


The details of the 2015 competition were as follows: 

Each submitted script can be of any genre (including monologues or verse) and must:

  • have a performance time of between 20 and 30 minutes
  • require a maximum of 4 actors and very simple staging
  • be an original piece of writing that has not been performed professionally

We were very fortunate with our panel of judges and thank them for their support: 

  • Chris Thorpe, playwright, Unlimited Theatre and Third Angel
  • Yvette Huddleston, Arts Correspondent, Yorkshire Post
  • Nick Ahad, writer and broadcaster
  • Jessica Hill, script editor
  • Jacqui Honess-Martin, literary associate at West Yorkshire Playhouse 

Click here for the poster


Any questions on the competition should be sent to


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