Calling young aspiring writers! A Monster Calls on stage inspires creative writing challenge

The touring show calls for stories from young people aged 10-25 ahead of its run at the Belgrade Theatre

“Stories are important. Stories can be more important than anything. If they carry the truth.” – Patrick Ness, A Monster Calls

Calling young aspiring writers! This spring, Sally Cookson’s critically acclaimed stage production of A Monster Calls heads to Coventry as part of a brand new UK tour, and to celebrate, the company has launched a creative writing competition open to young people aged 10-25.

Based on the award-winning children’s novel by Patrick Ness and Siobhan Dowd, A Monster Calls tells the story of 13-year-old Conor O’Malley, who is visited by a monster while struggling to cope with his mother’s illness. Over the course of several nights, the monster tells Conor stories that help him to face up to his fears.

As well as being the only book to have won both the Carnegie and Greenaway Medals for children’s literature, it has since been adapted into a major film starring Liam Neeson, Sigourney Weaver and Felicity Jones.

Following its successful London opening in 2018, the play sets out on a tour of the UK in 2020, hitting the Belgrade Theatre in early March. To coincide with the tour, the company is calling on aspiring writers to enter The Monster Challenge by submitting their own short stories.

Submissions should be no more than 500 words long, and inspired by one of the following themes central to A Monster Calls: Family, Grief, Hidden emotions, Truth, People are complicated, Bereavement and Friendship.

Selected stories from each region across the tour will be narrated by members of the cast for a series of short films that will appear online. They’re looking for the boldest, bravest and most creative short stories, so if you’re a young person with a passion for telling stories, then let your imagination run wild!

Offering a dazzling insight into love, life and healing, A Monster Calls won the 2019 Olivier Award for Best Entertainment and Family Show, and is suitable for ages 10+. It is an Old Vic production in association with Bristol Old Vic, produced by Global Creatures, Jonathan Church Productions and Chichester Festival Theatre.

Supported by Arts Council England through a National Lottery Project Grant and The Touring Partnership, the UK tour will be accompanied by an extensive outreach and education programme, including discussions, workshops, an education pack and participatory events and activities for local community groups, addressing the widespread resonance of the story’s themes.

The company will also be working with Kooth, a free and anonymous online counselling and emotional wellbeing support service for children and young people.

To submit your story, you’ll need to visit and download the Monster Challenge pack.

Aged 10-25? Itching to get started? Then pick up a pen and go. Run with it. Make trouble…


The deadline to get your stories in before the show arrives at the Belgrade Theatre is Thursday 27 February, so you don’t have long!

A Monster Calls shows at the Belgrade Theatre Coventry from 3-7 March 2020. Tickets are available to book now by calling the box office on 024 7655 3055

Find out more: where prices are cheaper. Book for 3 or 4 shows in the Spring 2020 Season to enjoy 15% off your tickets, or get a massive 25% off bookings for 5 or more.
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