The National Playwright Competition in partnership with HEINEKEN Beverages

The National Playwright Competition in partnership with HEINEKEN Beverages aims to recognise and reward new South African playwriting talent while also promoting diversity and inclusivity. The project is presented in honour of Adam and Rosalie Small for their contribution to South African literature, philosophy and education as well as their unwavering advocacy against social injustice.

The competition, for debut playwrights who have not yet had their work staged, is a joint venture between the National Arts Festival and HEINEKEN Beverages. The competition gives emerging playwrights a rare opportunity to take their work all the way through the process of creating a play.

The competition seeks to discover and award emerging playwrights and so only writers who have not had their scripts or other work professionally produced and staged are eligible to enter. Previously unpublished and unproduced South African plays that celebrate and enhance inclusivity and social cohesion will be eligible for consideration.

For the competition, debut scriptwriters are invited submit story ideas and writing samples. The selection panel will then choose five finalists, who will be selected for a process of development, including workshops, masterclasses and/or mentorship. At the end of this process, one overall winning play will be selected and awarded a production budget with the aim of presenting it as a premiere on the Main programme of the National Arts Festival. The National Arts Festival is South Africa’s premier arts event and is a shop-window for producers and theatres from across the world. There is also a cash prize for the winners.


HEINEKEN Beverages, Africa’s leading producer of spirits, wines, ciders and ready-to-drinks (RTDs), supports a wide range of community projects that include alcohol harm reduction and socio-economic development. For more information, visit


The National Arts Festival is an important event on the South African cultural calendar, and the biggest annual celebration of the arts on the African continent. Starting at the end of June/beginning of July, it runs for 11 days and is held in the small university city of Makhanda (formerly Grahamstown), which is situated in the Eastern Cape, 130km from Port Elizabeth.