Linbury Prize for Stage Design applications now open to emerging designers across the UK

Applications for the bi-annual nationwide Linbury Prize are now open to support emerging designers to develop a sustainable career in stage design. Twelve emerging designers will be awarded a bursary prize of £5,000 and a design placement with an established industry designer or producing organisation. Recipients of the Linbury Prize will be able to gain first-hand experience of the production process from inception to delivery and explore sustainable practices, as part of the National Theatre and The Linbury Trust’s commitment to supporting new talent starting out in the industry.

Prize recipients will also have the opportunity to take part in an exhibition at the National Theatre in November 2023 to showcase their work before the public and industry professionals.

For the first time, this year’s prize will be open to those without degree qualifications that have equivalent skill sets, in recognition of the diverse range of career paths that can lead to roles in stage design. The Linbury Prize supports designers early in their careers and looks to build connections between them and established stage designers.

Recognising the work of designers for more than 35 years, the Linbury Prize is the only nationwide prize for stage design in the UK, in partnership with The Linbury Trust and the National Theatre.

Previous winners include Peter Butler in 2021 who designed the set for the NT’s schools touring production of Shut Up, I’m Dreaming, 2019 winner Rose Revitt who designed the public installation of The Tree at the NT, Cat Fuller in 2021 (Associate Designer – Home, I’m Darling UK tour, Associate Designer – Much Ado About Nothing) and Es Devlin in 1995 (Set Designer – Dear England, Set Designer – The Crucible).

2021 Linbury Prize recipient, Peter Butler, said “Being a part of the Linbury Prize allowed me the much needed space and financial support to concentrate on what is at the very heart of my practice, reminding me why I create work the way I do and how that sits in relation to my cohort, the wider design community and the performance world as a whole.”

Debbie Duru, 2019 Linbury Prize finalist, said “The prize feels a bit like an easter egg. Three years later, I’m still having conversations with people who saw my exhibition. To hear that your very early work left an impression is very re-affirming and to now have the opportunity to talk to potential applicants feels very special.”

Paul Handley, Director of Production and Technical at the National Theatre and committee member for the Linbury Prize, said “The Linbury Prize is essential to the cultural health of this country and it is more important than ever to support emerging artists to develop new skills, inspire new creators and fire imaginations to explore an environmentally sustainable future which so urgently required for this industry. Running for thirty six years, the prize’s impact in supporting the next generation of design talent working both in UK theatre and globally remains unparalleled.”

Stuart Hobley, Director of the Linbury Trust, said, “Theatre spaces are soulful and joyous places of curiosity and emotion. Now more than ever, we need engaging, diverse and kinetic theatre designers to share that wonder with everyone. The Linbury Prize will help to amplify some of our most talented early career designers working for the stage and dance, so if that sounds like you, please get applying!”

Applications are open now and close on 28 August. For more information and to apply, please visit the NT Website.

Written by Theatrefullstop