Theatre News

New national Heretic Voices competition launches at Arcola Theatre to find new writing talent

Entrants must submit a monologue of between 15 and 45 minutes in length.

Prize judges Lolita Chakrabarti, Monica Dolan and Mel Kenyon
Prize judges Lolita Chakrabarti, Monica Dolan and Mel Kenyon
© Dan Wooller for WhatsOnStage

A competition to find the best new writing in monologue form has launched with four winners receiving a full production at the Arcola Theatre.

The judging panel includes Guardian theatre critic Michael Billington, Olivier Award-nominated playwright Lolita Chakrabarti, BAFTA Award-winning actor Monica Dolan and literary agent Mel Kenyon.

The new Heretic Voices competition, established by Heretic Productions, will also publish the winning monologues as a collection.

Writers and writer-performers may enter any monologue, written in English, with a running time of between 15 and 45 minutes. The submissions must not have previously received a professional production. Monologues can be of any genre and can feature one or more voice, but must be able to be performed by a single actor.

Leyla Nazli, Arcola's executive producer, said: "One voice can tear up years of received wisdom, offer a profound insight, or reveal an entirely new way of looking at the world. Arcola is proud to have nurtured voices that have gone on to resonate far and wide: Rebecca Lenkiewicz, Alecky Blythe, Barney Norris, and many others. With Heretic Voices, we hope to see many more original perspectives represented on the Arcola stage."

Heretic Productions was established in 2016 by its AD Max Gill together with writer Jordan Waller and producer Ellie Keel.

Gill said: "There is a glittering wealth of writing talent in the UK but a poverty of opportunity for the great majority to have their work fully staged by professional creative teams. We cannot wait to present a diverse collection of revelatory and distinctive voices united by a desire to delight and excite an audience. Whether it is an opportunity to explore vibrant character, give voice to the unheard, or craft a unique and challenging relationship between speaker and listener, the range and possibility of the monologue form is thrilling. The door to Heretic Voices is wide open; no matter who you are, we are ravenous to read your work."

The application period opens today and closes at 5pm on Monday 30 September. Entries should be submitted to along with maximum 150 words about the author. The four winners will receive a full production in the main space at the Arcola in January 2018. In addition to seeing their work onstage, the winners will receive royalties from the publication and some payment from the productions.