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Shelagh Delaney, born 25 November 1938, brought a fresh and spirited voice to the 1950's theatre scene; female, teenager, northern and working class she defied those attempted to pigeon hole her.  Her first play A Taste Of Honey was directed by the renowned Joan Littlewood which was performed at the Theatre, Stratford it later transferred to the West End and then into a film.

The 1950's was the start of theatre changing bring us the cultural revolution that was 'Kitchen sink drama' theatre that was much more accessible to the working class.


Matilda Neill was our very first winner of The Shelagh Delaney New Writing Award 

" I would highly recommend anyone with a story to tell to apply for the Shelagh Delaney Writing Award. Salford Arts Theatre have been so supportive in bringing my play to life and I could not have imagined a better venue or team. I have met some wonderful, talented people and feel confident and excited about my future as a writer. There was such a lovely atmosphere in the theatre on the nights of the performance and I really feel like I have been part of something special."



Since 2014, we have been celebrating the life and work of Salford born writer Shelagh Delaney every year on her birthday - the 25th of November.


We have done this in a variety of ways; we have produced Shelagh’s work, had readings of her short stories, and shown her screen plays, as well as working with several writers to support and showcase new writing.


Going forward, we think supporting new writing should be the legacy of Shelagh Delaney and therefore in 2021 we announced the beginning of The Shelagh Delaney New Writing Award. It was a success! After lots of submissions from some very talented people, we settled on Matilda Maisy Neil as our winning writer. Her winning entry ‘BIRDIE’ will be performed in November 2022. We are thrilled to announce submissions will be open again this year from the 25th of November!


The award will support new writing by giving mentorship from professional writers, in kind rehearsal and performance space at Salford Arts Theatre and a cash award. 




-        The winning writer will receive a cash award of £3000.00

-        The winning play will be fully produced and performed at Salford Arts Theatre

-        Support and mentorship will be availble to the winning writer




-       The award is open to those who identify as female and are living in, or are from, Greater Manchester

-       At the submission stage, please submit either a first draft, a finished script or at least the first 15 pages of a script.

-       The finished piece will need to be a minimum of 60 minutes (One Act Play) but can be more,  with a minimum of two characters and a maximum of five characters.

-      We are looking for new writing that is not connected, contracted, or committed to any other venue, creative team, or producer. The new work should not have had any previous       productions, or plan to before the performance at Salford Arts Theatre.

-       We are only accepting scripts for stage plays and are not looking for adaptations or translations of established works. 

-        Original and new pieces of writing only

-       The writers must hold all copyright and other related rights to the piece




-        Submit your idea, extract or full script as a PDF by email

-        In the body of the email please also include the following details:


-        Your name, age and where you are based

-        Up to 500 words about yourself (which can include any previous experience)

-        Brief synopsis of the idea or play

-        Full contact details


DATES for the diary

25th November 2022 – Submissions Open

3rd April 2023 – Submissions close

24th April 2023 - Shortlist Announcement

May 2023 – Winner announced

November 2023 – Winning play will be performed at Salford Arts Theatre

Salford Arts Theatre