“Seeing my plays rehearsed and produced by Upstart over the past two years has allowed me to explore my own writing, and had immense value to me as an artist…Because of Upstart, audiences and industry folk alike who might otherwise never have heard of me have seen my work and know my name.” Dawn King (winner of the 2011 Papatango Award for Foxfinder; with Upstart: Water Sculptures, ZOO, Chickpea Sickday Picasso Sabotage)
“Working with Upstart, my work was taken beyond the stage of readings and development and into full production for paying audiences – an incredibly important opportunity for a fledgling writer, and one that has been invaluable to my development.” Joanna Pinto (An Upstart Christmas, Gardening Leave, Pebbles on the Beach)
Upstart is not currently inviting submissions of new scripts, but this page details our approach to new plays and other dramatic work.
Upstart exists to make new theatre that deals with the most urgent contemporary concerns. We only programme new work, which normally means plays that have not had a full UK run.
Some of the work that we’ve programmed in the last few years includes:
- Oh Well Never Mind Bye, a drama set in a newsroom during the July 2005 London bombings and the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes;
- The Maddening Rain, a monologue charting one man’s journey from no-hoper to City trader and back again;
- Intimacy, a flashmob storytelling show in Covent Garden telling stories from the Museum of Broken Relationships;
- The Falling Sickness; an interactive thriller which asked its audience to weigh up the costs of intervention in a Middle Eastern nation in crisis;
- The State Versus John Hayes, an exploration of the mind of a female murderer on Death Row.
We believe that plays can and should tackle big political and social questions; and that the possibilities of theatre are limited only by the imagination.
We focus on writers living and working in the United Kingdom, though we will consider submissions from elsewhere if they seem to fulfill questions of significance in the UK.
We are not interested in the following types of play…
- Biographical or historical drama;
- Genre-based work – ‘thrillers’, ‘romances’, ‘comedies’;
- Abstract works without narrative;
- Adaptations of pre-existing texts like novels, poems or films;
…unless they clearly ask a question that we consider to be of great significance to the society we live in today.
Upstart receives no regular funding and, while we aim to acknowledge all correspondence we cannot guarantee to read every script we are sent.
Submissions to Upstart should be addressed to our Associate Director, Kate McGregor, and emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.