BBC Radio Manchester and the Royal Exchange Theatre have joined forces to launch a talent search for writers to mark 100 years since the first women got the vote.

Helen Pankhurst, the great-granddaughter of Manchester suffragette leader Emmeline Pankhurst and Jo Bell, the UK’s first Canal Laureate, will judge the entries written on the theme of women and the future.

Accomplished or aspiring writers are asked to submit a Manchester monologue – a single voice piece written for performance, be it a script, spoken word or poetry – that looks to the future for women. The monologues should have a Greater Manchester connection.

From the entries received, around 12 will be shortlisted with a small number selected to be performed at the Royal Exchange Theatre on Sunday 30 September. BBC Radio Manchester listeners will be able to apply for tickets to the performance, which includes a performance by Jo Bell of her poem written especially for the radio station’s Suffragette City project.

Kate Squire, Managing Editor of BBC Radio Manchester, said: “We are proud to be launching this talent search with the Royal Exchange Theatre, culminating with a public performance for many to enjoy. I’m confident we will receive some highly creative and unique pieces of original writing which will aptly reflect the centenary of the women’s vote. We are looking for the strength of the character’s voice in the monologues based on the themes of women and the future. Anyone with a passion for storytelling and for women’s rights should give it a go – I’m already looking forward to reading the entries.”

Sarah Frankcom, Artistic Director of the Royal Exchange Theatre said; “Supporting new writing and championing the power of women’s voices sits at the heart of what we do here at the Exchange, so I’m thrilled that we are joining BBC Radio Manchester to search for a ‘Manchester Monologue’ inspired by the daring determination of Emmeline Pankhurst. I’m looking forward to seeing how writers across Manchester choose to interpret the theme of Women and the Future and cannot wait to hear the five winning entries performed on our stage.”

Entries open on Friday 15 June 2018 and close on Sunday 15 July 2018 at 23:00, and should be emailed to

All entries must be original and not previously published or performed and no longer than three minutes when read aloud. The talent search is open to entrants aged 18. Full details and terms and conditions can be found on


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