Matriarch Productions & Birdie Pictures Establish Grass Routes Prize


The Grass Routes Prize has been created by Matriarch Productions and Birdie Pictures to help writers from disadvantaged backgrounds kickstart their careers.

The winner of the Grass Routes writing competition will receive a prize of £5,000 ($6,100), with a further amount paid by the studios to option the script. The writer will then develop their project with Matriarch and Birdie before pitching it to different buyers.

As part of the initiative, Matriarch and Birdie will help the winning writer obtain an agent and arrange meetings with other leading industry writers, directors, producers, script executives and commissioners.

The deadline for submissions is January 8, 2024.

Matriarch’s Stephen Graham and Hannah Walters and Birdie’s Phil Temple said, “We are driven by a passion to reform the system which holds back many talented, working-class writers. This will be a scheme that hopes not just to raise awareness of the issues, but to help in a practical way to change it and to also challenge others in the industry to take steps themselves to address them.

“Matriarch and Birdie want to help provide fairer access to the TV industry, and whilst there have been great strides in reaching different underrepresented groups recently, we think that socio-economic background still remains a key barrier to entry, and that becoming a successful writer shouldn’t be less achievable for those from lower income families.”

“I have bemoaned the lack of working-class voices in TV for a long time, so now is a good time to do something about it with brilliant, like-minded people,” said Temple. “I can’t wait to work with this team to find untapped talent. Many industries are unrepresentative of wider society in regard to socio-economic background. Nowhere is this truer than in creative professions, including television, where writers work on a freelance basis with no job security and no guarantee of income.”

Walters and Graham added, “What an incredible opportunity to be able to give an undiscovered writer a platform to showcase their work. We feel this project is imperative to help move our industry forward and give voices a chance to truly be heard. So excited to see the wealth of talent that’s out there.”