UK: New playwriting competition explores conflict and displacement

Amnesty International and east London-based theatre company, iceandfire have launched a new competition that offers all writers and storytellers the opportunity to write plays based around experiences of displacement and conflict.

The project entitled 'Protect the Human' invites writers to explore individual stories of displacement and conflict. In keeping with Amnesty International's ethos that urges ordinary people to stand up for humanity and human rights, the competition seeks to draw on the power of the ordinary voice.

Amnesty International's Education Adviser and one of the panel judges Dan Jones said: "This competition is an excellent opportunity for all writers to explore a human rights issue that doesn't often get discussed openly.

"Displacement and conflict affects people in far off distant countries but there are also those living in the UK who have been forced to flee their homes, to seek refuge in this country, or those who have always lived in the UK and have had to flee their homes to seek safety somewhere else in the UK.

"I am excited at the prospect of this competition bearing fruit in some remarkable pieces of innovative and excellent writing. I bet that it is going to be very difficult to decide upon an overall winner."

Playwrights can submit plays between 1st and 14th May after which the plays will be judged by a panel which includes Olivier Award winning playwright, Simon Stephens, Associate Director of the Young Vic Theatre, Rufus Norris and Amnesty International's Dan Jones. In September a shortlist of plays will be announced which will receive rehearsed readings at the Soho Theatre during Amnesty's Protect the Human week in October.

The overall winner will be announced in December, receiving an award of £500 increasing to a standard commission if the play goes into full production.

iceandfire's Artistic Director Sonja Linden said:

"We are drowning in stories - on the news, in our newspapers, on the internet. What is missing from this public discourse is empathy and imagination. Protect the Human playwriting competition challenges the impact of 21st century information overload by inviting writers to consider how each one of us is implicated in stories that are too easily dismissed as 'out there' and thus beyond our concern."

"If you'd like to enter or to find out more visit or give us a call on 020 7377 5299."


iceandfire theatre company was founded in 2003 to promote new playwrighting which explores individual stories of displacement and conflict. Previous work includes I have before me a remarkable document given to me by a young lady from Rwanda and Crocodile seeking refuge.

For more information, please contact: iceandfire - Sara Masters , 020 7377 5299,

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