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Our email is firstname.lastname@example.org
Please read all the guidelines below before submitting your play.
Our Literary Policy
The Finborough Theatre welcomes unsolicited scripts at any time of the year.
The Finborough Theatre is a fifty-seat Off-West End theatre in Central West London. Working in the text-based tradition, the unique energy of the Finborough Theatre is the paradox sustained by staging ambitious and epic work within the confines of an intimate space.
We seek to develop new work that is:
Thematically expansive – In the words of our Artistic Director, the Finborough Theatre is interested in “plays that matter on subjects that matter, regardless of fashion”. We are interested in playwrights and plays that present unique challenges to ideological assumptions about community, nation and world.
Ideologically brave – The Finborough Theatre has developed an enviable reputation as an intellectual hot-house of ideas and confrontation. We are a theatre that programmes politically engaged plays to challenge the vanities, hypocrisies and oppressions of our times. We actively bring fresh voices into social and political debates about the world into a 50-seat theatre in Earl’s Court.
Artistically ambitious – We actively seek playwrights who have moving and unusual insights into the nature of our social world, and whose theatrical voice and vision are unique. We welcome and encourage big, ambitious plays with large casts.
We welcome scripts from both unrepresented and represented writers. We programme productions in accordance with the theatre’s artistic policy and additionally we maintain an extensive, pro-writer development process consisting of one-to-one dramaturgy and workshops. As a matter of policy, we do not believe in “development” for the sake of it, and are always actively searching for playwrights and plays that we can actually produce.
We are not interested in just finding the “flavour of the month”, but building a lasting and mutually beneficial relationship with a playwright and working closely with them over a long period. For example, we produced plays by writer James Graham every year between 2005-2010 and by Anders Lustgarten every year between 2007-2013.
Please read some of the following links to get a better idea of the theatre and our work, and come and see some of our productions:
What We Are Looking For
We encourage script submissions on all subjects and themes, but we are particularly interested in:
• New writing by writers of all ages.
• Plays that are politically and socially engaged.
• Works for music theatre.
• Plays about the Kensington and Chelsea area, local history and personalities.
• Adaptations of obscure books written after 1800.
• Plays that are artistically ambitious and thematically expansive.
• Plays with large casts.
• We welcome scripts from international writers, but can only accept plays written in English, Scots or Scots Gaelic.
What We are Not Looking For
There are plays on subjects or in styles that do not fit our artistic policy. These are some of the subjects that are better serviced by other producing theatres in London:
• We do not read short plays – only full length works for the stage.
• We do not read film, television or radio scripts, short stories or novels.
• We are looking for original work only. We do not read adaptations of famous works, versions of other plays, works inspired by or written in response to other plays, sequels to other plays or work using characters from other plays – i.e. Shakespeare, Buchner, Goethe, Greek or Roman myths, fairy tales etc
• We do not programme works which are clearly best suited to a commercial theatre – i.e. thrillers, farces, commercial comedies etc.
• We do not programme plays about the urban middle-class, preoccupied with relationships or emotional problems.
• We are not programming plays about paedophilia for the foreseeable future.
• We very rarely programme plays set in a dystopian near-future.
• We do not have an audience for children’s plays.
• We do not programme any work that has been produced in London in the last 25 years.
• We do not programme plays written before 1800
• We very rarely programme historical or biographical plays. (On the rare occasions when we do, the plays we programme are generally on obscure historical events or relatively unknown people.) In particular, we are not interested in biographical or historical plays set before 1800; plays about military executions during the First World War; or biographical plays about very famous historical figures such as Shakespeare, Christopher Marlowe, Oscar Wilde, members of the royal family or Hollywood film stars, or plays that feature a number of historical or literary figures in one work.
Our resources are limited, and we are anxious to see the work of as many different writers as possible, so please note that we cannot guarantee to read your work if you send a play which falls into any of these categories. Please also note that we can only consider one script submission per writer per year.
How to Submit
Please read all of this webpage, especially the What We Are Not Looking For section above.
Please don’t send us your very first draft. Please give your script time to settle, read it again, seek feedback from your peers and incorporate some rewrites. The fourth draft is usually when a play is ready for us to consider.
All pages of the script must be numbered. It’s also helpful if you include the play title, your name and your contact details in small print on every page (this can be done with the ‘Insert Footer’ option in Microsoft Word). For example: “Hamlet by William Shakespeare. 07967 654382 email@example.com”.
A short synopsis of the plot.
A one-page CV of your writing experience to date including any readings/productions you may have had. If you do not have a CV, some idea of your background and writing experience included in your cover letter is fine.
Please ensure that your script include all your contact details, and, specifically, your email address. If you do not include an email address, we will not reply to you.
We welcome submissions from writers outside the United Kingdom. However, please bear in mind that as we are unable to engage constructively in development work over sometimes very long periods with people who live abroad, scripts from overseas writers will need to be at a considerable state of development already.
We will consider one script submission per writer per year. If you have more than one play you wish to send to us, please choose the one you think would suit us best. Unless we specifically ask to see further examples of your work, please wait at least twelve months before submitting any more plays to us. Please be considerate of other writers – we have limited resources and are anxious to see the work of as many different writers as possible.
Please be aware that we cannot provide feedback or enter into discussion on your work. If you are primarily seeking feedback on your script, we would still like to see your script, but would encourage you to send your work to other new writing venues such as the Royal Court Theatre, the National Theatre, Bush Theatre, Hampstead Theatre and Soho Theatre, who – as publicly funded venues – will be able to offer you more detailed feedback than is possible for us.
It is helpful to format the script as a PDF before sending which will ensure that the formatting of your text stays the same. There are many free tools on the internet that you can download which will do this for you.
Email your script to firstname.lastname@example.org
Please write the title of the play you are submitting in the subject line.
If you are sending a musical, please do not attach music files to your email. Please send a link to Dropbox or a similar file sharing site separately.
Postal and By Hand Script Submissions
We cannot accept submissions by post or delivered by hand. Submissions which include a stamped addressed envelope will be returned to you. Scripts without a stamped addressed envelope will be recycled.
Submission Turnaround Time
We always try to return your script as quickly as we can. The time is takes will vary from a week to up to three months, and is entirely dependent on how many scripts we have received.
Please do not call or email us to check the progress of your script unless we have had it for more than three months.
We prefer to reply to playwrights via e-mail as this system is both more efficient and eco-friendly. If you do not include an email address, we will not reply to you.
The Literary Process
Once a play is submitted, it is read by one of our scriptreaders. As a matter of policy, we deliberately only have a very small team of scriptreaders who we have very carefully trained.
If your script does not fit our remit, it will be returned to you as soon as possible. Unfortunately, we are not a publicly funded venue and do not have the resources to give personalised feedback.
We do encourage all writers to invite us to viewings and showcases of their work. Please email us only at the email address at the top of the page.
If your script is something that the Finborough Theatre may wish to stage or develop, it will be passed on to the Deputy Literary Manager who will then decide if the script is suitable for passing on to the Artistic Director/Literary Manager who will then make the final decision on whether the script is suitable for production or further development.
If a script is considered immediately ready for production, the Artistic Director will contact the writer personally and arrange a meeting.
If a script is considered more suitable for development, the Senior Reader will contact the writer personally and either ask to see future work or to arrange a meeting, initiating discussion on redrafts and workshops.
Developing New Playwrights
The Finborough Theatre runs its writers’ development programme through selecting plays for further dramaturgy. After an initial meeting, redrafts are encouraged through a closed feedback process with the Artistic Director and/or Senior Reader.
The Finborough Theatre runs writer-based dramaturgy. Our resources are devoted to helping writers train their stagecraft and enhance their unique theatrical voice. We are not interested in conforming writers into writing for a house style. After a process of discussions and redrafts, we organize a stage workshop for the text where an ensemble of development actors work with the writer, Literary Manager and other members of the Finborough Theatre’s artistic team to provide dramaturgical insight and space for experimentation with the text.
As a matter of policy, we do not believe in “development for the sake of it”. Our process of closed private workshops has been developed over the last five years after consultation with many writers on the most genuinely helpful way to develop their work.
We do not offer rehearsed or staged readings, or ask our writers to write short plays or put a time-limit on their creative process. Our focus is always on presenting full length plays.
We are a theatre that develops playwrights, as well as plays. In line with our policy, we offer our writers-in-development the opportunity to participate within the activities of the theatre.
In addition, we foster artistic collaborations amongst writers and other artistic professionals, as well as providing formal and informal activities for the group of writers working out of the Finborough Theatre to meet and build peer networks through get-togethers, masterclasses, skills exchanges and other activities.
The Finborough Forum is an invitation-only group of playwrights, directors, designers and other theatre creatives. Members of the Finborough Forum are invited by the theatre to attend monthly meetings, where they take part in a Q&A with a wide range of industry guest speakers, followed by a chance to socialise with fellow theatre practitioners.
The group originally started life in October 2017 as the Finborough Theatre Writers’ Group. After a successful two years, the group relaunched as the Finborough Forum in September 2019, expanding its remit to include theatre directors, designers and other creatives associated with the Finborough Theatre, in order to broaden the discussion and expand the camaraderie that has emerged between the playwrights in the group to other theatre practitioners.
The Finborough Forum is generously supported by The George Goetchius and Donald Howarth Society of Friend’s Awards.