Film4 and the Peggy Ramsay Foundation Announce 2023 Playwrights’ Scheme Bursary Winners

The Peggy Ramsay Foundation with Film4 and the Maria Bjornson Memorial Fund are delighted to announce the six winners of the Peggy Ramsay/Film4 Awards which celebrate and support emerging British writing talent.

The initiative awards six bursaries a year to new theatre writers. Four bursaries are supported by The Peggy Ramsay Foundation (one is dedicated to the memory of literary agent Tom Erhardt) and two by Film4. Each bursary is worth £10,000.

The Sonia Friedman Productions Award is given to the writer of the best play written by one of the previous year’s bursary recipients. 

Erica Murray has been awarded The Sonia Friedman Productions Award 2022 for her play ‘The Magnificent’


The recipients of the bursaries for 2023 are:

Waleed Akhtar for ‘Kabul Goes Pop’
Hampstead Theatre

Henry Maddicott for ‘Land of Lost Content’

Rae Mainwaring for ‘Bright Places’
Birmingham Rep

Lauryn Redding for ‘Bloody Elle’
Royal Exchange Theatre

Sophie Swithinbank for ‘Bacon’ (The Tom Erhardt Bursary)
Finborough Theatre

Nicola Werenowska for ‘Silence’
High Tide Theatre


The successful writers will now embark upon one-year attachments with the theatres above, giving them the opportunity to meet a variety of theatre practitioners and to have first-hand experience of a working theatre. Their principal task in the next 12 months is to write at least one full-length play.  

The writers will also have the opportunity to submit their play for The Sonia Friedman Productions Award in the year following their bursary. This Award is also judged by the same selection panel chaired by Sir Richard Eyre.  

Playwrights were nominated by UK theatre practitioners with the six winners selected by the Scheme’s Panel chaired by Sir Richard Eyre. This year’s panel also included: Jack Bradley (Sonia Friedman Productions), Ben Coren (Film4), Will Mortimer (The Bridge Theatre & The Peggy Ramsay Foundation), Dinah Wood (Faber & Faber), and Nicholas Wright (Playwright). The scheme is administered by Sue Higginson OBE.

Sir Richard Eyre (Chairman of the Panel) said: “I was thrilled by the quality and diversity of the plays”.

Neil Adleman (Chairman of The Peggy Ramsay Foundation) said:  “We are delighted to be able to continue to extend the reach of our support of writers for theatre through these Awards.  They also provide an opportunity for us to support a range of producers committed to new writing.”

Ben Coren (Head of Development, Film4) said: “It’s always fantastically exciting to discover so many new voices through the bursaries, and this year’s plays felt as eclectic and vibrant as ever. So many writers that Channel 4 and Film4 work with come from the world of theatre and it’s wonderful to be able to support the next generation of emerging UK playwrights in this way”.