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Stiles + Drewe Prize



The Stiles and Drewe Prize is an unprecedented scheme for the development and showcasing of British Musical Theatre Writers

In 1985, Stiles and Drewe were the recipients of the inaugural Vivian Ellis Prize for Just So. Winning the prize introduced them to many leading lights of the musical theatre world, whose advice and support in championing new writing became so important to them.

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Anthony Drewe, George Stiles, Vivian Ellis and John Hosier (1985)
Credit: PRS for Music archive/Doug McKenzie photography

Since 2008, Stiles and Drewe have recognised new musical theatre writing via their annual prize for ‘Best New Song’. This is for members of Mercury Musical Developments (MMD), of which George and Anthony are founding board members. MMD is the UK’s only membership organisation dedicated to new musical theatre writing. From 2016, the broadening of the Stiles + Drewe Prize to include the new ‘Mentorship Award’ has offered the musical theatre writing community greater financial and in-kind support via its two distinct arms:

1. The ‘MTI Stiles + Drewe Mentorship Award’ - an award given to a MMD writer or writing team, centred around a one week writing retreat and culminating in an industry showcase presentation the following year.

2. ‘Best New Song’ – recognising an outstanding song from a new musical written by a member of MMD, offered in conjunction with the Stephen Sondheim Society Student Performer of the Year Award.

Mentorship Award

MTI Stiles + Drewe Mentorship Award

Stiles and Drewe, along with a panel of judges, give the Mentorship Award on an annual basis. The winning MMD writer or writing team benefits from bespoke mentorship and support over a 12-month period. This includes:

1) A fully funded, one week development retreat to work on the winning musical.

2) Guaranteed free access to MMD’s monthly Advanced Writers’ Lab.

3) Participation in two Progress Labs. In each of these, the Mentorship Award-winner will present a section of their musical and receive feedback from MMD peers and a panel of professionals.

4) Access to work shadowing opportunities – either on a Stiles and Drewe show or with alternative industry contacts (subject to availability and production schedules).

5) After 12 months, the above culminates in rehearsal provision for a workshop with an industry showcase presentation at the end. This is with a professional Director and MD.

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Best New Song

Best New Song

Since 2008, the Stiles + Drewe Prize for ‘Best New Song’ has been awarded on an annual basis. 12 MMD members have their songs performed by students participating in the Stephen Sondheim Society Student Performer of the Year Award at a West End gala.

A panel of judges, including Stiles and Drewe, award the ‘Best New Song’ and the winner receives a prize of £1000 to put towards developing their work.

All 12 finalists have access to a MMD Feedback Lab, hosted by Stiles and Drewe after the gala. They are also invited to be audience members in the two Progress Labs for the Mentorship Award-winner.

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The Stiles + Drewe Prize has been offered to MMD members since 2008. The winners are announced at a West End gala, produced by MMD in conjunction with the Stephen Sondheim Society.

Previous gala hosts have included Maria Friedman, Clive Rowe, Sally Ann Triplett, Rosemary Ashe, Hannah Waddingham, Haydn Gwynne, Claire Moore, Jenna Russell, David Bedella and Michael Xavier.

2019: The winner of the 2019 Stiles and Drewe Prize for Best New Song was Theo Jamieson for his song "Words/Amazing". 

2018: The winner of the 2018 MTI Stiles + Drewe Mentorship Award was Jim Barne (music) and Kit Buchan (book & lyrics) for their musical The Season.

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l-r George Stiles, Jim Barne, Kit Buchan, Anthony Drewe (photo credit: David Ovenden, 2018)

The winner of the 2018 Stiles + Drewe Prize for Best New Song was Adam Wachter for his song “You and Me”. This is from his musical Any Minute Now.

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l-r George Stiles, Adam Wachter, Anthony Drewe (photo credit: David Ovenden, 2018)

2017: The winner of the 2017 MTI Stiles + Drewe Mentorship Award was Ben Glasstone for his musical Reanimator – A Zombie Musical.

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l-r George Stiles, Ben Glasstone, Anthony Drewe

The winner of the 2017 Stiles + Drewe Prize for Best New Song were Tom Lees and Claire Rivers for their song “Gerry and Me”. This is from their musical PS, I Love You.

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“l-r Anthony Drewe, Giles Terera (judge), Tom Lees, Georgia Frost (performer), Claire Rivers, Dan Gillespie Sells (judge), George Stiles

Previous Winners

2016: The inner of our inaugural Mentorship Award was The Wicker Husband by Rhys Jennings (book) and Darren Clark (music and lyrics).

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(l-r) George Stiles, Rhys Jennings, Darren Clark and Anthony Drewe

2016: Tim Connor for “Back to School” from his musical Heart of Winter. A recording was released on the 30th November 2015 and is available to download via all major online retailers.

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Winner Tim Connor with (l-r) judges Anthony Drewe, George Stiles, Lotte Wakeham, Don Black and Paul Hart.

2015: Richy Hughes and Joseph Finlay for “Don’t Look Down” from The Superhero.  Since winning the Best New Song Prize, Richy’s first professional Commission Mr Poppin’s Penguins has been out on UK Tour, produced by Olivier Award-winning producer Kenny Wax.

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From left: Richy Hughes, George Stiles, Grant McConvey (performer), Anthony Drewe and Joseph Finlay.

2014: Uniquely, Tamar Broadbent has two songs in the final in 2014 “Library Boy” and “The Procrastination Song”. The panel therefore decided to recognize Tamar’s overall work. Tamar has recently taken her one-woman show All By My Selfie to the Adelaide Fringe and her musical Pierced, which includes her 2013 runner-up song “17 Drafts” was performed at the New Musical Project.

2013: “That Once-in-a-Lifetime Feeling” by Tim Sutton. Since winning the Best New Song Prize, Tim has been nominated for the Olivier for Outstanding Achievement in Music for his role as MD on Memphis The Musical.  He has also worked at The National Theatre as an MD on Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and as composer and MD on The Amen Corner. 

2012: shared between “Powercut” by Douglas Hodge and “Do You Want A Baby, Baby” by Dougal Irvine from The Busker’s Opera.

2011: Jointly awarded to Tim Sutton for “I Am” and Eric Angus and Paul James for “Kaboom! Kapow!’” from The Boy Who Fell Into A Book.

2010: Gwyneth Herbert has enjoyed a full production of her musical The A to Z of Mrs P at Southwark Playhouse featuring her winning song “Lovely London Town”. She is currently working on a new project with her writing partner on that show, Diane Samuels.

2009: Olly Ashmore for “Wake Up TV” from Hot Flush 2.

2008: Mark Allcorn for “My Turn Soon” from Singles.



MTI Stiles + Drewe Mentorship Award

N.B. Submissions for the MTI Stiles + Drewe Mentorship Award 2021 are now closed. 

Mentorship Award 2021 Timeline

  • Open submissions: Monday 2nd November 2020
  • Close submissions: Sunday 31st January 2021 at 23.59
  • Collation for R1 judges: 1st – 9th February 2021
  • R1 judging: 10th February – 5th March 2021
  • R2 judging: 15th March – 16th April 2021
  • Finalist selection & interview mid-late April 2021
  • Mentorship Award winner announced: :early May 2021
We ask writers or writing teams to ensure they meet the following entry requirements:

  • Whilst there is no entry fee, writers must be a member of Mercury Musical Developments (MMD) - see link below.
  • At least one Entrants must be resident in the UK (i.e. if chosen, you need to be able to attend the one-week writers’ retreat with Stiles and Drewe, prepare and participate in two Progress Labs and the final Industry Showcase during the course of the year-long mentorship). N.B. Overseas Members of MMD may still submit for the Best New Song Prize.
  • Entrants must have written a full first draft of the musical to be entered. Full draft means a complete script, with all songs written.
  • Your musical cannot have had a professional production (defined as a production with professional cast and creatives, mounted for an audience.) We will accept a submission from writers who have had developmental workshops or sharings of their work, either financed privately, by a producer, venue partner or via funding.
  • Writers must declare on the application form if their musical is currently under option or if it is a commission. Please provide details of any creatives (producer, director, venue, licensing organisation etc.) attached to the musical.
Best New Song
Submissions for the Best New Song Prize will open in March 2021 - stay tuned for more information!

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Mentorship Award - Application Process

The application process has three steps –

1. A completed Personal Information Form – on completion you will receive a link to the Equal Opportunities Form.
2. A completed Equal Opportunities Form (anonymous) – on completion you will receive an email containing a link to your personal show upload folder.
3. Mentorship Award Application File Uploads (anonymous) – upload all required files to your personal show folder in the format outlined below.

General notes:

  • Only the Personal Information form should carry any personal details. The Equal Opportunities form, and ALL uploaded show materials should be presented anonymously. Show materials should also be labelled according to the format requested below.
  • You may only enter the same musical for consideration for the Mentorship Award twice. This can be done on consecutive Mentorship years. The judges will not consider a musical a third time.
  • A writer may submit multiple shows in any given Mentorship Award year. Please complete a separate application process for each show.
  • Due to the volume of submissions, neither Stiles and Drewe nor MMD can give individual feedback regarding the final selection.
  • Please read all the entry requirements and instructions carefully before submitting your application and when ready, using the link below follow the three-step process, uploading the following materials as prompted:

1. SHOW INFORMATION (a SINGLE pdf document consisting of) :
  • A synopsis no longer than 500 words
  • A full character list
  • A full track list
  • Song 1 – lyric sheet in the context of the scene from the full first draft of the musical (i.e. include full dialogue leading into the song, song lyrics, and any dialogue following the song).
  • Song 2 – lyric sheet in the context of the scene from the full first draft of the musical (as above).
  • Song 3 – lyric sheet only
Notes: Please label each page of the single pdf you upload starting with your SHOW TITLE_ followed by the key words/information for each section as in the examples below:

  • OKLAHOMA!_Synopsis
  • OKLAHOMA!_Character List
  • OKLAHOMA!_Track List
  • Label Songs 1 & 2 in this format: OKLAHOMA!_People Will Say We’re In Love_Scene
  • Label Song 3 in this format: OKLAHOMA!_I’m Just A Girl Who Can’t Say No_ Lyric Sheet
  • Label the Underlying Rights or Public Domain Letter in this format: OKLAHOMA!_Underlying Rights Letter

The context scenes and song lyrics for Songs 1 and 2 above should total no more than 20 pages of the pdf. The lyric sheet for Song 3 is in addition.

Please DO NOT include details of the composer/lyricist in any file names in your application.

2. THREE SONGS: (MP3 or MP4) demo recordings and piano/vocal sheet music if available (pdf).
The file names of the MP3/4 tracks should be labelled following the same format as above: ”SHOW TITLE_Song 1_MP3 Song Title
(e.g. OKLAHOMA! _Song 1_MP3 I’m Just A Girl Who Can’t Say No)

If available, sheet music (piano and vocal arrangement/pdf format) should be uploaded for all three songs. If songs are scored for instruments other than piano (e.g. guitar charts) you may also submit these in the first instance. Please do not include details of the composer/lyricist in either the file name or on the sheet music pdf itself.

Note: Please note we ask all applicants to confirm that they can notate their own compositions into a Piano/Vocal score, or that they have access to an individual who can do that for them. If shortlisted, a scored version of all three songs would need to be submitted.

3. ADDITIONAL SONGS from the show (optional):
If you have demos for more (or all) of the show’s songs, please upload the relevant MP3 or MP4 files and piano/vocal sheet music if available (pdf) using the same labelling format as for your first three songs.

4. FULL FIRST DRAFT of the musical (pdf):
Again, please use the labelling format as above (e.g. OKLAHOMA!_Full First Draft).

If the musical contains any copyrighted material, please upload proof that the underlying