James Ene Henshaw Playwriting Competition 2023

Submission Guidelines

JEHF Playwriting Competition 2023

The James Ene Henshaw Foundation invites submissions for the JEHF Playwriting Competition 2023.

We’re looking for plays that capture the pulse and moments of contemporary Nigerian society; writing with a unique voice that speaks to current and future generations.

The competition is open to anyone between the ages of 18 and 35 years resident in Nigeria, for the best original play for the stage.

To enter, send:

  • A cover letter: introducing the story idea, a short bio that captures your background and interest in playwriting.
  • A story synopsis, 1000 words, including all important plot points. The synopsis should be a summary of what happens in the story with the twists and turns revealed. Please do not leave us guessing as to the outcome – we need to be convinced that you have a good story, which includes the ending.
  • The cover letter and story synopsis should be included in the application form provided.
  • Send the application form to:

Closing date for submissions: 31st March 2023

Selected submissions will be invited for an interview on 27 – 28 April 2023

5 candidates will be selected following the interviews to join the competition, and each successful candidate will be assigned a mentor to work with to produce a full-length play.

Successful candidates will be informed on 12th May 2023.

Each candidate will receive N100, 000. The best overall play will be awarded a further N150,000.


  • Submissions are open to young people between the ages of 18 to 35 years.
  • Submissions must be for the stage but may incorporate other art forms like dance, music, dance, poetry, and multimedia.
  • Ideas must be original; interpretation of an existing piece of work already published may be accepted if it brings a fresh and unique perspective to the work.
  • Plays must be able to demonstrate the potential to advance the career of the applicant, and/or contribute to the advancement of the art form.
  • Plays should have no more than 6 characters, with a running time of between 60 and 90 minutes.


  • Participants are expected to work collaboratively with their mentors and make themselves available for advice and guidance.
  • Participants must present their play before or on the deadline. No extensions will be accorded for any reason or circumstances whatsoever. Failure to submit by the closing day will render the writer disqualified.
  • Each participant will receive N100, 000. This sum will be paid to the participant upon submission of the completed play script, and signed off by the mentor.
  • The best play, as judged by a panel of judges, will be awarded an extra sum of N150, 000.


  • Closing date for play proposals — 31 March 2023
  • Invitation for interview — 17 April 2023
  • Interview — 27 – 28 April 2023
  • Notification of participation — 12 May 2023
  • Assignments to mentors — 19 May 2023
  • Submission of play scripts for review — 18 August 2023
  • Online play reviews — 24 – 26 August 2023
  • Script submissions — 20 October 2023
  • Notification of JEHF Playwriting Competition winner — 10 December 2023