1. Do you really have an open script submissions policy?
Yes! Any writer based in the UK or Ireland, at any stage of their career (including the start!) can send us a full-length script during the annual submissions window.
We acknowledge every submission, every script is read by one of our readers, and we respond to everyone with the outcome of their submission.
2. Are scripts read anonymously?
Scripts are read anonymously by our panel of readers, which is made up of theatre professionals from across the UK. If one of our readers is excited by a script, they’ll recommend that a member of Team Traverse read it. The writer’s anonymity is maintained until the Traverse gets in touch with them with the outcome of their submission.
3. Do you accept extracts from scripts?
At the moment, we're only able to accept full-length plays. It’s not an exact science, but this is usually a minimum of about 50 pages or 35-40 pages for a monologue.
4. What kind of plays are you looking for?
We read for exciting voices rather than perfect, polished plays – because we’re looking for scripts that we can collaborate on with a writer who excites us. We want to work with you to create the final product.
We can collaborate with you to hone your storytelling skills, but it’s very difficult to teach someone to have brilliant, urgent ideas or to express them in a manner that feels totally original.
For an idea of the kind of shows we’ve produced or co-produced recently, there's Mouthpiece by Kieran Hurley, a searing two-hander that explores class and artistic responsibility, Crocodile Fever by Meghan Tyler, a hilarious political piece that features a leviathan crocodile, the tense and twisted Ulster American by David Ireland, and the thoughtful and emotional Enough by Stef Smith.
5. My play has had an amateur production, can I still submit it? What if it has had a rehearsed reading or has been produced?
If your play has had an amateur production or rehearsed reading but wasn't commissioned by or attached to another organisation, send it in! Unfortunately, we can’t consider any plays currently under commission or attached to other organisations.
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 programme. More information can be found in our Visiting Companies section
6. Can I submit more than one script annually or re-submit the same script in future?
We will only consider one script per writer each year. Typically, we don't accept re-submissions of plays from prior years, but we may invite you to re-submit the same play if we see promise in it.
7. What kinds of scripts aren't eligible?
Unfortunately, we can't accept musicals, adaptations, or scripts written for a different medium.
8. How should I layout my script?
Scripts can take many different forms, and we're not asking you to format it in a particular way. As long as we can read the text clearly and the form suits your story, you're sorted.
If you like, you can look at published playtexts or the helpful online resources below to see what works best for you and your play:
9. How will I know how long my script will last when performed?
Admittedly, it can be hard to tell, as length always depends on the performances of the actors cast. However, there's a handy online calculator that estimates the performance length of a script 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.
10. Okay, I’ve submitted my script! What happens now?
When you send us your play, it is read anonymously by our panel of readers, which is made up of theatre professionals from all over the UK.
- The reading panel puts forward scripts that excite them for further development.
- These scripts are read by the Traverse Team, who whittle them down to a shortlist.
- These shortlisted writers then undergo a dramaturgical attachment with the Traverse, receiving intensive script development and the opportunity to showcase their work to a Traverse audience.
All writers will receive an email acknowledging their submission and scripts put forward by our reading panel will receive feedback. We receive hundreds of scripts each year, so it can take up to nine months for us to respond to everyone.
11. What plays have you discovered and who have you connected with through Open Submissions?
Over the years, we've developed several plays discovered through Open Submissions, including the iconic Gagarin Way by Gregory Burke, Crash by Andy Duffy, and our 2016 festival production, Milk by Ross Dunsmore.
We’ve also connected with writers such as Natalie McGrath and Conor O’Loughlin have developed pieces with us, Both Natalie and Conor have gone on to collaborate on different writing projects with the Traverse and some of our partner companies.
12. If my script isn't eligible for 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 Playwrights' Studio Scotland's website.
You might also wish to send your script to another theatre company who may be able to help such as:
Cumbernauld Theatre: Submissions
High Tide: Script Reading Service
Live Theatre: Script Submissions
Middle Child: Submit a Script
National Theatre Scotland: Script Reading Programme
Royal Court: Script Submissions
Theatre 503: Submit a Script
And there’s more…
If you’re interested in Open Submissionsand would like to build further experience in playwriting, you might be interested in looking into some of the following opportunities with us at the Traverse and other companies across the UK:
Open Submissions at the Traverse Theatre is supported by The Foyle Foundation and the Turtleton Charitable Trust.