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Writing to Play

Writers, come out and play in Winchester!

Join our new programme of opportunities for performance writers.

Imagine, develop and create exciting new work out and about in Winchester and Hampshire.

We aim to create a community for writers, encouraging new theatre work that explores, celebrates, questions and illuminates Winchester and Hampshire life in surprising ways and unexpected places.

It might be local, it might be global, it might be real or fantasy, it might be big, small or anything in between. We're not just looking for writers who use words, we're also keen to find out about those of you who use different ways to tell live stories and create original theatrical experiences, such as dance, music, design, digital or any other of the infinite possibilities to engage audiences.

Over the next six months we'll begin working with writers and our youth theatre to create collaborative theatre pieces, for Hat Fair and other projects across the Winchester district.

We'll also be offering opportunities for practical training and mentoring, because this is just the beginning.

We want to develop long-term relationships with new, emerging and experienced writers so that we can support each other in making the best possible live performance work for our audiences and communities.

The programme kick-starts with two Writers at Play online weekend retreats, led by our Resident Writer & Dramaturg, Richard Hurford.

Places are free and limited, but everyone who applies will become part of our Writing to Play Network for future opportunities and events.

Writers at Play weekends

We’re looking for 10 writers/makers of original live performance work to participate in a free online practical writers' retreat spread over two weekends (4 days in total) in March 2021.

The retreat will inspire, encourage and support the writers to explore and discover exciting new forms and opportunities for their work with a specific focus on creating original performance work for and in the Winchester district.

Practical activities, tasks and challenges within a safe, supportive and fun atmosphere will allow writers to create, share and learn together, while also receiving mentoring and advice from our Resident Writer & Dramaturg Richard Hurford.

Richard has over 25 years’ experience as a performance writer working across the UK. Europe and the US, producing his own work and mentoring other writers and artists in genres ranging from theatre, dance and opera to site-specific, immersive and virtual reality.

Dates: 13–14 Mar 2021 and 20–21 Mar 2021

Times: 10am – 5pm (inc. 1 hour lunch break)

Location: Online

How to apply:  Writers of all levels of experience can apply.  Whether you're a novice, emerging or an experienced writer, whether your work has been produced or not, we're interested in your ideas for future work not a detailed CV.

Writers must be aged 16 or over (but don't feel left out, younger writers, we’re planning some great opportunities for you too.)

We're happy to hear from writers anywhere, but priority will be given to writers who live or work in, come from or have a meaningful personal connection to the Winchester district, as well as any writers from Hampshire and our neighbouring counties of Berkshire, Wiltshire, Dorset, West Sussex and Surrey.

To apply please submit:

  • a completed application form.
  • up to two sample pages of your work or a short video (max. 3 mins) that shares or illustrates your work.

Send your application to

Application deadline: Mon 1 Mar 2021, 12 noon

The application form will give you the opportunity to briefly note any specific areas of interest or ideas you would like to pursue.

We're looking for an interesting combination of writers of different ages, ideas, genres and levels of experience, so all this will help us put together a good creative mix for this first retreat.

We’ll let you know if we can offer you a place on the retreat by the end of 8 March 2021.

Please make sure that you can attend both retreat weekends before you apply, as this is an essential part of the offer.

All writers who apply will be become part of the Writing to Play Network for future opportunities and activities.

Young Writers Competition

Writers' Weekend are running a free competition for writers ages 4-11 and 12-16.

For more information and how to enter the competition visit