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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“l-r Anthony Drewe, Giles Terera (judge), Tom Lees, Georgia Frost (performer), Claire Rivers, Dan Gillespie Sells (judge), George Stiles
2016: The inner of our inaugural Mentorship Award was The Wicker Husband by Rhys Jennings (book) and Darren Clark (music and lyrics).
(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.
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.
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
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.