The Oxford Samuel Beckett Theatre Trust has launched a new award to support the development of experimental drama. On top of £30,000 in prize money, the largest award of its kind in the UK, the winner will have their work professionally produced for a three-week season at London's Riverside Studios in November 2003.

The award will go to the creative artist or group that submits a bold, innovative and challenging project of outstanding merit, as so judged by a panel of experts including playwright Mark Ravenhill (Shopping and Fucking, Some Explicit Polaroids, Mother Clap's Molly House).

Leading up to the Riverside Studios run, the winner will also receive support in financial management, contracting, press and publicity as well as assistance in the long-term strategic development of their work.

Explaining the thinking behind the Oxford Samuel Beckett Theatre Trust Award, project leader Romilly Walton Masters said: "From the outset, the Trust has had a specific interest in aiding artists of the avant-garde who often have to wait many years before they are taken up by the commercial theatre. Through this award, the Trust is looking to help an artist, or a group, realise a fully resourced professional production. It is looking to assist artists that hitherto may not have had this opportunity. The aim is to support work of quality and promise and we fully expect the work submitted to be of the highest calibre."

Applicants must initially submit a CV and a 500-word outline proposal on their production. At subsequent stages, applicants may be asked to submit secondary proposals and to present their ideas to the judging panel. Applications should be sent: The Oxford Samuel Beckett Theatre Trust, PO Box 2637, Ascot, Berkshire SL5 8ZN.

The deadline for applications is 15 March 2003. For further information, visit the Trust website.

- by Terri Paddock