Have a burning question about the Traverse Open Script Submissions scheme? The answer may lie within these FAQs. Not covered? Email writing@traverse.co.uk and we’ll try to help.

1. How long should my script be?

Stories can be complex things which take time to tell, but we’re keen to receive scripts which would be performed in no less than 50 minutes – and ideally in less than 120.

2. How will I know how long my script will last when performed?

Admittedly, it’s an inexact science as length always depends on the performances of the actors cast. However, there is an online calculator which estimates the performance length of a script, which can be accessed on the Edge Studio website. We always recommend getting some friends together to read through your script and give a better idea of its performed length – even reading it aloud yourself (including the stage directions!) should give you a good idea.

3. How should I lay out my script?

Scripts can take several different forms, and we advise looking at a selection of published playtexts to see what works best for you and your play. There are also helpful online resources such as those below which offer advice on how to lay out your script:

BBC Writers' Room

The Writers' Guide

4. What kind of plays are you looking for?

The Traverse’s passion lies in telling stories about where we are, and where we might be headed – so plays which look towards the future or speak about the now (no matter when set) are what we want. The best way to get an idea of the kind of work we’re hoping to discover is to take a look at our recent productions on our website. For instance, over the last year, we’ve produced plays by David Ireland, Morna Pearson, Gary McNair, Cora Bissett and Zinnie Harris.

5. The play I want to submit has already been produced/had a rehearsed reading. Is it still eligible?

Unfortunately, we can’t consider any plays currently under commission or attached to other organisations. Scripts which have received rehearsed readings without being under commission or with an attachment to another organisation are still eligible for admission.

If your play has already received a run elsewhere and you are interested in it being performed at the Traverse you might like to submit the production as part of our year-round visiting company programme. More information can be found in our Visiting Companies section

6. My play isn’t quite finished – can I still submit it?

We’ll only consider full plays during Open Submissions, and we recommend not sending a first draft.

7. Can I submit more than one script?

During Open Submissions we will only consider one script per writer. Additional scripts from the same writer will not be read, and we will only read one draft of a script, so please take time to edit it before submitting.

8. I’ve submitted my script! What happens now?

Every script submitted to us will be read by one of our reading panel, who are all active theatremakers. Once they’ve read a piece, it will then take one of three possible journeys:

  • If we feel the piece is strong and has really engaged us, it will be read by one of the Traverse’s senior creative team, who may then elect to invite the writer in for a meeting.
  • If we feel the piece is interesting and that the writer would benefit from our feedback in writing a further draft, we’ll get in touch with that writer and let them know our comments.
  • If a piece doesn’t fit with the type of work we are looking to programme, it will not be progressed any further at this time.

All writers will receive a reply, however as the volume of scripts we receive is very high, we regret that we’re not able to offer feedback to all writers.

In addition, this year 5 of the most promising plays will be selected to undergo dramaturgical and practical development. The plays will be selected throughout 2019/20.

9. Who have you previously discovered during Open Submissions?

In over the years, several productions have come to us via the scheme, including the iconic Gagarin Way by Gregory Burke, Crash by Andy Duffy, and our 2016 festival production, Milk by Ross Dunsmore.

We’ve also discovered writers such as Iain Findlay McLeod, Ellie Stewart, Alison Carr, Martin McCormick and Owen Whitelaw who have gone on to work closely with the Traverse as well as other renowned organisations.

10. If my script isn't legible for the Traverse's Open Submissions, who else should I contact?

The National Script Reading service from Playwrights’ Studio, Scotland are able to provide feedback on all genres of scripts (except musicals) to writers who are Scottish or based in Scotland. More details can be found on the Playwrights' Studio Scotland website.

You might also wish to send your script to another theatre company who may be able to help such as:

Live Theatre

Soho Theatre

Cumbernauld Theatre

And there’s more…

If you’re interested in the Traverse Open Submissions and would like to build further experience in playwriting you might be interested in looking into some of the following upcoming opportunities:

Playwrights’ Studio, Scotland: Mentoring and New Playwrights Awards

Tron Theatre: Write Tron

Open Submissions at Traverse Theatre is supported by The Foyle Foundation.