Playwriting Awards

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Olga E Harding Playwriting Award; New NZ Play

The Olga E Harding Playwriting Award; New NZ play is named after one of the founding members of New Zealand Theatre Federation (now Theatre New Zealand) who for many years was actively involved with the British Drama League – BDL and who, after the formation of NZTF, became one of its Presidents.

This award is an important part of Theatre New Zealand’s TheatreFest and is awarded annually for the best new script of a play entered into TheatreFest that year.

The Play is assessed separately from the productions and is not seen by the assessor. The outcome is not known till the awards on final night.

The requirements of the Award is that it is to be up to 50 minutes performing time and that it receives a production in a Local TheatreFest in the year that the script is written and that it has not had a public performance more than three month prior to being presented at the local TheatreFest.

Details of the 2020 Olga E Harding Playwriting Award, New NZ play are -

The assessor for 2020 is Roanna Dalziel, Literary Manager, Court Theatre, Christchurch

All playwrights are urged to enter The Olga E Harding Playwriting Award; New NZ as the benefits are twofold. The script is assessed in order to allow for the playwrights to receive positive feedback on their writing, which will assist with any future writing and they also get to see a live production of their script on stage.

Assessor’s Criteria

  • Character: are the characters clearly distinguished, well-developed, consistent and interesting.
  • Story Structure: is the story well set-up, developed and resolved. Is the identity and goal of the protagonist clear. Is their journey plausible, surprising and engaging.
  • Theatrical Potential: is there action (including character interaction) or just exposition. Are elements of set, lighting, sound and/or movement suggested which will support and enhance the story.
  • Imagination: has the playwright created a world worth looking at, been novel or brave in selecting elements of that world. Does the writer seek to take the audience on a journey beyond everyday experience, or deeper into everyday experience.
  • Ideas and Intentions: what themes is the writer exploring. How well do they facilitate this.

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Playmarket presents this award annually. Take this opportunity to have your play read by a panel of industry professionals.

Prizes may include the following categories: Best Play, Best Play by a Māori Playwright, Best Play by a Pasifika Playwright, Best Play by a Woman Playwright.

Theatre New Zealand encourages playwrights entering the Olga E. Harding New NZ Playwriting Award to also enter the Adam NZ Play Award.

Entrance requirements

Open to any New Zealand citizen/permanent resident.

Plays must not have been professionally produced (pending productions; readings; workshops or community productions are fine).

Scripts may only be submitted to this competition once.

There are no limits on length, style, theme or cast size.

You may submit as many as you like.

Submissions close at 11.59pm on 1 December each year.

For further information and a submission form, please go to the following webpage:

You can download information by clicking here