Wentworth has featured in many productions, including the Oscar-winning blockbuster Darkest Hour, ITV’s Victoria, Gentleman Jack and Netflix’s The Irregulars. Now we are looking for an original story from a screenwriting star of the future.

The project is being funded by a grant Wentworth Woodhouse Preservation Trust recently received from the National Lottery Heritage Fund Culture Recovery 2021 pot.

We are running a screenwriting competition, with a unique prize – a chance to have your winning screenplay turned into a short film and shot in a location that has been used in both major film and TV productions.

“This exciting new competition at Wentworth Woodhouse is an exceptional opportunity for any aspiring screenwriter,” Paul Hutchinson


Scripts of up to five pages, telling a unique storyline from beginning to end, are being sought. They can be from any genre – rom-coms to thrillers – but the storyline must be inspired by some of the diverse range of locations at Wentworth Woodhouse.

“Wentworth Woodhouse has been chosen as a location by some of the biggest names in the industry. The winner will have our entire site to choose from. There is huge scope – from grand period rooms to decaying splendour, servants’ quarters and stables to acres of gardens.”

The competition will run from 4th June to 31st July, and entry costs just £5 per screenplay (to cover administration costs).

How to enter

All screenplays should be written to industry standard format and supplied as a PDF. For a guide on what “industry standard formatting” looks like, see the BBC Writersroom’s Film screenplay example.

The screenplay must not contain the writer’s name or contact details on any page, including the title page, to ensure the integrity of the judging.

After purchasing your entry, you will be contacted with information explaining where to submit your screenplay.

First prize

The short film will be produced by South Yorkshire film-maker and director James Lockey on location at Wentworth Woodhouse. Filming will take place in autumn and the finished film will debut as part of a major event in March 2022.

The winner will also receive a screenplay coverage report, a winner’s trophy, and an invitation to the We Wonder Noir event in March 2022, where the short film will receive its premiere.

Runner-up prize

Runners-up will each receive a screenplay coverage report, a runner-up trophy, and an invitation to the We Wonder Noir event in March 2022.

Judging panel

Justin Lockey

Justin is a director, producer, musician and writer with his first series in pre-production for a major platform.

James Lockey

Together with brother Justin, James is a co-director of the HandHeldCineClub, a South Yorkshire production company acclaimed worldwide for its music videos created for major music labels. Artists worked with include Editors, Dua Lipa, Mogwai and Lana Del Rey.

Paul Hutchinson

Paul runs The Script Reader and is an experienced script-reader and screenwriter whose high-profile clients include a New York Times best-seller and an Academy Nicholl winner, will also be on the panel and will edit the winning script with its author.

Sarah McLeod

Sarah is the CEO at Wentworth Woodhouse and oversees the cultural offer.


Can I enter more than one screenplay to the competition?
Yes, each entry costs £5 and a separate submission form will be required for each entry.

Can I revise a screenplay I have already entered?
No. Once we receive your screenplay, it cannot be altered. If you wish to resubmit an amended screenplay, you will be obliged to pay the £5 entry fee again. In other words, make sure it’s ready before you send it.

Will my screenplay receive a coverage report?
Only screenplays that reach the final round of the competition will receive a screenplay coverage report. The number of screenplays in the final round will be based on the judges’ discretion.

Can I enter if I am under the age of 18?
No, sorry. The competition is only open to people aged 18 and over.

Can I enter the competition if I live outside of the UK?
Yes, the competition is open to anyone over the age of 18, regardless of where they are based. Please bear in mind that both the winner and the runners-up receive tickets to the We Wonder Noir event in March 2022 at Wentworth Woodhouse. No costs will be covered by Wentworth Woodhouse Preservation Trust.

I am part of a writing team, is this allowed?
Yes, provided all writers are named on the application form.

Is the competition open to Professional Screenwriters?
Although we understand that the last 18 months have affected the livelihoods of many members of the film industry, this contest was created for emerging screenwriters. To be eligible, your total earnings for film and TV, produced or un-produced, must not exceed £10,000 in the past 18 months. This excludes any competition wins and/or grants.

Can I submit my work to other competitions?
Yes, you can.

Can I enter a screenplay that has already been optioned or produced?
No. The screenplay cannot have been produced or be currently under option at the time of entry. Which leads us nicely to the final FAQ…

What if my screenplay gets optioned or produced after entry?
The writer has an obligation to inform Wentworth Woodhouse Preservation Trust of this and the script will be removed from the judging process at that time.