At Theatre Centre we run a series of national awards celebrating and recognising great playwriting and acting talents in the field of Young People’s Theatre.

"Theatre Centre helped me find my writer's voice. Nothing excites me more than when I am writing a play for them."

Roy Williams

"Watching 100s of teenagers react to Layla's Room in their own school hall was one of the most exciting moments of my professional life. Theatre Centre present a rare and precious opportunity to take brilliantly produced theatre to young people all over the country, often challenging their perspectives and in turn being challenged by their feedback and responses."

Sabrina Mahfouz

The Brian Way Award

Call out open until Midday on Friday 16th February 2018

Theatre Centre is pleased to announce The Brian Way Award, our first open call out for one of our annual commissions.

Named in memory of our founder Brian Way who established Theatre Centre in 1953, The Brian Way Award welcomes expressions of interest on the theme of ‘Treaty’ from professional UK-based playwrights. The commissioned play will then be produced for our flagship national tour of secondary schools and venues in 2019.

We are particularly hopeful the opportunity will encourage writers who may not have considered writing work for young audiences to do so for the first time.

Who we're looking for:

  • Ambitious, visionary and diverse playwright
  • Writers who can demonstrate interest in creating work for young people (no experience of writing theatre for young audiences is required)
  • Proven track record of professional experience
  • Ability to deliver a full length script within 16 months (commissioned in April 2018, show to tour Sept – Nov 2019)

What we're looking for:

  • Inventive interpretations on the theme of ‘Treaty’
  • Local stories set against a global landscape
  • Plays that make meaning of the contemporary world and interrogate the future of our country
  • 60 minute plays with casts no bigger than 4 actors
  • Plays suitable for a secondary school audience (ages 13 – 18)
  • Plays that can be toured to both venues and educational settings

What we're offering:

  • Script development support from Theatre Centre’s Artistic Director and a Dramaturg
  • Research & Development workshops
  • Access to young people to help develop a narrative that is relevant, timely and puts young people at the heart of the work
  • A full professional and paid commission resulting in a 10 week national tour to schools and venues in 2019

How to apply

Submissions to The Brian Way Award open on Thursday 4th January 2018 and close at midday on Friday 16th February 2018.

We ask for you to submit:

  • An expression of interest exploring why your writing would excite and benefit the TYA sector (no more than 300 words)
  • A Writer's CV
  • A Treatment on the theme of Treaty (no more than 2 pages long)
  • 10 pages of an existing script that best showcases your talent (does not need to be a play for young people)
  • An Equal Opportunities Monitoring Form

Please read the Information Pack before applying. You can find the Information Pack and the Equal Opportunities Monitoring Form available to download at the top left hand side of this page.

Please email your submission as either Word or PDF documents with The Brian Way Award as the subject line to

Don't just take our word for it, writing a play for Theatre Centre could change your life. Take a look at who we've worked with before... 

“Whether it realises it or not, Theatre Centre helped me find my writer's voice. Nothing excites me more than when I am writing a play for them.” – Roy Williams OBE

“Watching 100s of teenagers react to Layla's Room in their own school hall was one of the most exciting moments of my professional life. Theatre Centre present a rare and precious opportunity to take brilliantly produced theatre to young people all over the country, often challenging their perspectives and in turn being challenged by their feedback and responses.” – Sabrina Mahfouz

“Writing for Theatre Centre has been one of the highlights of my life as a playwright. Working in a team of people that truly understand their audience, but are always looking for new ways to engage and challenge that audience has been very exciting. Twist is a play I am very proud of because it was born out of a truly wonderful collaboration. Can't wait to work with them again!” – Chinonyerem Odimba

“My residency with Theatre Centre enabled a major turning point in my approach to writing. The experience opened my mind to new ways of thinking about how plays are imagined, presented and experienced. It was a rare opportunity to have the time and support to identify my creative assumptions and pursue originality in both form and content.” – Alex Bulmer

The Brian Way Award, Terms and Conditions

If Theatre Centre feel that the submissions received are not suitable for production, we reserve the right to select no winner of The Brian Way Award. By submitting to The Brian Way Award, you agree, if shortlisted, for us to use your name in promotional materials. Commission will be in line with ITC/WGGB minimum terms and conditions.





Previous Theatre Centre Awards

Details of the previous winners of Theatre Centre’s three awards, the Brian Way Award for Best New Play, the Adrienne Benham Award and the Dorothy L. Sayers Award can be found below.

Keep an eye on this page, or subscribe to our Mailing List for news as it happens...


Theatre Centre's relationship with Dorothy L Sayers goes back to the very start. In 1953, Brian Way - Theatre Centre's founder - wished to produce an adaptation of Ms Sayers' radio series The Man Born To Be King as the first production by the fledgling company. The production was so well received by Ms Sayers that she joined the management committee and financed the company for its first year.

Now, some sixty or so years later, the Dorothy L Sayers Society annually supports young performers with the Dorothy L Sayers Award - given to actors whose first job out of drama school is in a Theatre Centre production.

This year's winner is Imogen Rose, who appeared in last year's production of What The Thunder Said. Imogen accepted the award from Ms Seona Ford, the Dorothy L Sayers Society chair, following a performance of The Muddy Choir at Redbridge Drama Centre.

We thank the Dorothy L Sayers Society for their continuing support of young actors and Theatre Centre's work, and wish Imogen all the best in her career!

Previous winners:

2013: Adrian Richards / Matt Bradley-Robinson
2012: Geraint Rhys Edwards
2011: [no award]
2010: Clare Chater
2009: Michael Lyle
2008: Rob Solar
2007: Sam Donovan
2006: Marcy Oni

BRIAN WAY AWARD 2013: Winner announced

Playwright Danny Braverman won the £6,000 Brian Way Award 2013 for Wot? No fish!! The award promotes the achievements of playwrights who write for young audiences. The prize money is intended to give the winner the time and space to develop a new play without the pressure of deadlines or a commissioning brief.

Wot? No fish!! is a play for ages 12+ produced by bread&circuses. It tells the funny and moving story of how the playwright discovered the lost art of his great-uncle Ab, and is billed as “an extraordinary story about love, art, history… and catering.”

“This play changes the expectations of what Theatre for Young Audiences can be and the stories it can tell. It’s beautiful, poignant and funny, and I’m proud that we are able to recognise it with this award in the name of Theatre Centre’s founder, Brian Way.” Natalie Wilson, Artistic Director, Theatre Centre

Some of the most prominent theatre writers working in the UK today judged the award: Bryony Lavery (whose plays include Her Aching Heart and Frozen), Sabrina Mahfouz (currently the Cape Farewell poet in residence), Janice Okoh (winner of the Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting 2011), Evan Placey (winner of the Brian Way Award 2012) and Roy Williams OBE (whose plays include Sucker Punch and Sing Your Heart Out for the Lads).

Danny Braveman was selected from a shortlist of six playwrights, which also included:

  • Naomi Cortes for The Littlest Quirky (produced by Theatre Centre)
  • Kevin Dyer for Angel (produced by Theatre Hullabaloo)
  • Philip Ridley for Feathers in the Snow (produced by Southwark Playhouse)
  • Nicky Singer for Island (produced by the National Theatre)
  • Rebecca Prichard for Parallax (produced by the Almeida Theatre)

Danny Braverman has been a writer, director, teacher and performer in education and community settings for thirty years. He has worked companies including Theatre Royal Stratford East, Theatre Centre, London Bubble, the National Theatre and Graeae. Until 2011, Danny was Director of The Orpheus Centre. His book Playing a Part: Drama and Citizenship (Trentham Books, 2002) is widely used by teachers and other arts practitioners and he is part-time Lecturer in Applied Theatre at Goldsmiths. Danny recently re-formed bread&circuses, a company originally created in 1983, with fellow originator Director Nick Philippou.

Previous winners of the Brian Way Award*

  • 2012 Evan Placey for Holloway Jones (Synergy Theatre Project) 
  • 2011 Keith Saha for Ghost Boy (20 Stories High)
  • 2010 Laurence Wilson for Blackberry Trout Face (20 Stories High) 
  • 2009 Douglas Maxwell for The Mothership (Birmingham Repertory Theatre) 
  • 2008 David Greig for Yellow Moon (TAG) 
  • 2008 Fin Kennedy (runner-up) for Locked In (Half Moon Theatre Company) 
  • 2007 Tim Crouch for Shopping for Shoes (National Theatre Education Department) 
  • 2007 Deborah Gearing (runner-up) for Burn (Shell Connections) 
  • 2006 Neil Duffield for The Lost Warrior (Dukes Theatre, Lancaster) 
  • 2005 Abi Bown for Hey There Boy with the Bebop (Polka Theatre) 
  • 2004 Charles Way for Red Red Shoes (Unicorn Theatre) 
  • 2003 Phil Porter for Smashed Eggs (Pentabus Theatre) 
  • 2002 Brendan Murray for Eliza’s House (Royal Exchange) 
  • 2001 Mike Kenny for Stepping Stones (Interplay) 

*funded by Arts Council England 2001-2007

ADRIENNE BENHAM AWARD 2013: Winner announced

The winner of the Adrienne Benham Award 2013 was Lou Ramsden. Theatre Centre offers the Adrienne Benham Award, a £2,000 seed commission, to support the work of a promising playwright interested in exploring the Theatre for Young Audiences (TYA) sector to develop brilliant new plays for young people, but who has little experience in this field. This award is intended to steer gifted writers towards young audiences by giving them a seed commission and attachment to Theatre Centre to develop an original idea for young audiences.

Lou Ramsden’s plays have received productions and staged readings at the Soho Theatre, Young Vic, Birmingham Rep, Edinburgh Fringe, and Latitude festival.  Last year she was on attachment to the Royal Court, and part of their invitation-only Supergroup. In 2011 her play Hundreds and Thousands was produced at Soho Theatre, and her play Breed was shortlisted for both the Meyer Whitworth and Critics’ Circle Awards.  In 2010 she completed an attachment at the National Theatre, and was a member of the first 503Five group at Theatre503.  Her plays are published by Nick Hern Books.

Previous winners include Kenneth Emson (2012), Marcelo Dos Santos (2011), Paula B. Stanic (2010) and Steven Bloomer (2009).

Theatre Centre is grateful to the following organisations for their support of the Adrienne Benham Award: Arts Depot, Catherine Wheels, Half Moon, Little Angel Theatre, M6 Theatre, New Perspectives, Polka Theatre, Theatre Hullabaloo, the Unicorn Theatre, Tutti Frutti, Big Brum Theatre, Company of Angels and Visible Fictions.