Skip Navigation

Dame Janet Suzman Playwriting Prize

The Dame Janet Suzman Playwriting Prize provides the opportunity for Department of English and Creative Arts students to write an original script for stage. The play should be written for four actors and run up to 60 minutes in length.

In lending her name to the prize and choosing the winning script herself from a final shortlist, Dame Janet and the University are offering the winner the chance to develop their writing talent and potentially enhance their playwriting career.

“Writing for drama will become even more vital than Shakespeare made it – for today we have ever hungry TV to feed, as well as a flourishing theatre industry. Nothing is more fascinating than the lives of people made into dramatic form. I look forward to your creativity with eager anticipation.”

Dame Janet Suzman
Check your eligibility using our scholarships calculator
Dame Janet Suzman Playwriting Prize winner Ryan Leder sits on a chair on an otherwise empty stage in the Rose Theatre.

Scholarship benefits

The Dame Janet Suzman Prize is worth £1,000.

The recipient will have the additional opportunity to develop their work for performance in the Arts Centre, with the support of staff in the Department of English and Creative Arts.

The bespoke support provided could include, for instance, script workshops with professionals, readings with actors, funding for research and development, or other support to be agreed. The support package is subject to mutual agreement between the prizewinner and University and cannot be provided as a cash alternative.


To be eligible to apply for the Dame Janet Suzman Prize you should be an Edge Hill University student who is currently enrolled in the final year (Level 6) of an undergraduate degree, or studying a taught Masters degree, in the Department of English and Creative Arts in academic year 2022/23.

Permanent employees of the University, repeat year students and Erasmus students are not eligible to apply. One entry is permitted per person.

Your submitted work should be laid out in a recognised script format on single-sided A4 paper. It must be your own original work and not previously published. 

Award winner Ryan Leder with Dame Janet Suzman during a Scholarship Awards Evening.

Dame Janet Suzman

Dame Janet remains one of the most respected classical stage actresses of her generation. After her professional stage debut in 1962, Dame Janet built up an impressive classical resumé portraying many of Shakespeare’s illustrious heroines, as well as securing notable roles in productions such as The Three SistersShe Stoops to ConquerThe Good Woman of SetzuanHedda Gabler and The Hollow Crown.

Dame Janet has also graced a number of films including the florid historical piece Nicholas and Ale for which she was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress, as well as a British Academy of Film and Television Arts Award and Golden Globe Award. Janet is an Honorary Fellow of the Shakespeare Institute and has been awarded the Pragnell Award for Lifetime Services to Shakespeare.

In recognition of her work as an internationally acclaimed actor, director and writer, Dame Janet was made an Honorary Doctor of Arts by Edge Hill University in 2015.

Dame Janet Suzman receives her Honorary Doctor of Arts from Edge Hill University.

Case studies

Meet some of the students whose scripts for stage have seen awarded the Dame Janet Suzman Playwriting Prize.

  • Ryan Leder, a BA (Hons) Creative Writing student, wrote a play script titled Numbered Days. The piece provided a stark look at love in the digital age, challenging the age-old question of whether love really can overcome anything. It received praise for its effective use of dialogue, tight structure and creative approach to topical issues of identity and sexuality. Numbered Days has since been performed to critical acclaim at The Core at Corby Cube’s Launchpad Festival in Northamptonshire;
  • Beth Beevers, studying MA Making Performance, was awarded the Dame Janet Suzman Playwriting Prize for her play Every Voice. Beth’s writing, set five years in the future, followed the story of Adele Hayes who explained why having a voice can cost you everything. Beth’s script was praised for having something to say about the world we live in today.
Dame Janet Suzman Playwriting Prize winner Ryan Leder sits in the Rose Theatre.

How do I apply?

To be considered for the Dame Janet Suzman Playwriting Prize, you need to complete and submit our Dame Janet Suzman Playwriting Prize application form with your script.

The competition is open from Friday 28 April until Thursday 31 August 2023 at 5pm.

A selection panel will shortlist applications received. The final shortlist of applications will then be judged by Dame Janet Suzman who will provide personal feedback to the winner.

Entrants will retain copyright in their submitted entries, however, by entering, all entrants licence Edge Hill University a worldwide royalty-free perpetual licence to edit, publish and use each entry in any and all media (including print and online) for publicity purposes relating to this award.

The winning entrant licenses Edge Hill University to perform the play on one occasion with director, performers and staging as arranged by the University and with final creative choices for the one performance made by the University.

Contact us

If you have any queries about the Dame Janet Suzman Playwriting Prize, you can get in touch with Kim Wiltshire at [email protected] who will be happy to assist you.