With the 2017 winner of the Mercury Playwriting Prize, Europe After The Rain, opening today, the Mercury Theatre Colchester announces Lyn Gardner as a judge of the inaugural Mercury/Weinberger Playwriting Prize.


Lyn Gardner joins Mercury Artistic Director Daniel Buckroyd and Josef Weinberger Head of Plays James Cawood on the judging panel, which will be comprised of 5 leading figures from the industry. All entries to the Prize will first be read by a panel of readers, with the shortlist appraised by the 5 judges.


Announced earlier this month, the Mercury/Weinberger Playwriting Prize is a national competition seeking to discover the very best and most diverse new theatre writing talent from across the UK. The Prize is looking for previously unperformed plays that have the ambition, appeal and theatricality to fill larger theatres, with the desire of getting the very best new work published and into production over the next few years.


Lyn Gardner, industry commentator and columnist for The Stage, said, “I am delighted to be on board. Playwrights need all the help they can get and the Mercury/Weinberger Playwriting Prize is a great initiative to help identify and support future talent. I can’t wait to read the plays.”


The winning entry will pick up a cash prize of £5,000, a publishing deal with Josef Weinberger Ltd and the possibility of a full production at the Mercury Theatre.


The online portal for entries is now open at, and the closing date is 20 July 2018. Winners will be announced in the week commencing 5 November 2018.


The Mercury Theatre Colchester is the most active producing theatre in East Anglia and is a vital centre of excellence in the East’s growing creative economy. The Mercury exists to put theatre at the heart of the community it serves and to make work in Colchester that reaches audiences and generates critical attention regionally and nationally. The Mercury is a champion of regional arts, both as an active co-producer with other venues and companies and also touring our own productions to audiences across the UK. On-site production and workshop facilities create sets, props and costumes for both for in-house productions and touring companies, including the National Theatre.

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Josef Weinberger Ltd. is one Europe’s leading theatrical and musical publishing houses working internationally to promote the work of playwrights, composers and lyricists as well as handling the estates of some the most famous names in theatre, musical theatre, classical music and opera.

The Josef Weinberger Plays division exists to champion the work of playwrights around the globe; working with agents across every international territory, their authors consistently have their work produced here in the UK as well as in countless languages in countless countries. Driven by a pride in their long history and a passion for discovering emerging talent, Josef Weinberger Plays has an international reach and partners with some of the world’s leading producers and practitioners to create and inspire exceptional theatre.



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