Playwriting Contests

7 Upcoming Short Play Contests

Life got busy about three months ago... and I'm only now coming back to blogging again. I feel all the usual emotions about letting this lag -- guilt, frustration, etc. -- even though I have some really good excuses that I'll spare you. But I'm telling myself -- just get back at it. Don't waste valuable resources of energy and time by rehashing it. So, back to blogging: 

I heard from a former student a week ago asking about upcoming contests for short plays. He felt this would give him a goal to write toward. Absolutely! Maybe this will help you too. 

So, I've decided to make a list of upcoming contests part of my blog. Maybe I'll post a new list each month. I am not necessarily familiar with every opportunity that I am posting here. So, you will have to look it up and do your due diligence. But I'm happy to curate a brief list of opportunities as I come across them. One of the main resources I use in finding contests is the Playwrights' Center website (, where I have a membership. I highly recommend membership to this organization. They offer classes (online seminars and on site), contest information, essays written by playwrights, opportunities for readings, and a lot more. 

1. Changing Face (UK)

DEADLINE: 1 / 16 / 2017

FEE: No Fee; RESTRICTIONS: Open to all playwrights.

See opportunity on company website


Changing Face is seeking 10-15 minute short plays for their "Dare to Dream" evening of theatre.


We are looking for short plays / extracts about new adventures, hopes, dreams and our wildest fantasies. We are especially interested in plays about borders, barriers and boundaries; what it means to overcome these and to delve into a world of second chances, courage and wonder. 

Stories can come in any form. This brief is open - it can be a direct response to the society we live in now - our work places, relationships, communities, politics or it can come from a more personal place. It's up to you! 

Please send a 10-15 minute short play/extract to Lucy and Ellie by emailing

The evening of new short plays will take place at the Arcola Theatre Studio 1 on the 26 February 2017.

2. Theatre dArt (Colorado Springs | CO)

DEADLINE: 1 / 15 / 2017

FEE: No Fee; RESTRICTIONS: Open to all playwrights.

DETAILS: Theatregasm will feature a variety of short plays under 10 minutes. 

Two rules:

1. Submissions must be sent before January 15 to be considered for Theatregasm 2017. 

2. Shows should be roughly 10-minutes long or shorter. Now, we're not going to sit there with a timer and calculate length down to the second so there is some flexibility, but please refrain from submitting full lengths. Very short scripts (similar to Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind) are also welcome. 

Please send all submissions to


3. Mississippi University for Women (Columbus | Mississippi)

Ponder Review seeking submissions

DEADLINE: 3 / 6 / 2017

FEE: $2

RESTRICTIONS: Open to all playwrights.

See opportunity on company website


Ponder Review is a new literary magazine, and is currently looking for short play scripts or excerpts for its premiere issue.


The low-residency MFA program in Creative Writing at University of Mississippi is publishing the literary magazine Ponder Review. This is the first issue and we are pondering all of the "FIRSTS" people encounter in their lives...first job, first child, first kiss, etc. 

Our submission period for the Spring issue — FIRSTS — is December 12, 2016- March 6, 2017.

We can't wait to hear from you.

Ponder Review welcomes fiction, nonfiction, poetry, short plays, flash-fiction, new media, and visual art.

For playwrights, please submit either a script excerpt or a one act play. One submission of 10-15 pages. 

Submit online here:


4. Minnesota Shorts Festival (North Mankato | MN)

Minnesota Shorts Festival 2017 accepting submissions

DEADLINE: 2 / 1 / 2017

FEE: No Fee; RESTRICTIONS: Playwrights must be US citizens.

See opportunity on company website


The Minnesota Shorts Festival is seeking submissions of 10 minute plays for its 2017 festival. DEADLINE INFO: The national playwright deadline is Feb. 1, 2017; the deadline for Minnesota playwrights is Mar. 1, 2017.)


Submissions for the 2017 MN Shorts Festival will open Jan. 1st and will be taken through Feb. 1st, 2017. (Minnesota playwrights have until March 1st.) 

To enter, send your 10-minute play in a pdf format to The play MUST have a postal address and name of the author on the title page, along with a phone contact. Keep identifying information to the title page because plays are given to judges blind. Only ONE short play per national author, two for Minnesota authors, with a maximum of 10 pages (if you can't read it out loud in 10 minutes, your play is too long). Previously produced or published shorts are fine, and the topic is wide open. No monologues. NOTE: These are performed for an all-ages audience, so nudity and an abundance of f-bombs will get a script tossed. 

A total of 14 short plays will be chosen -- 7 from national writers and 7 from Minnesota writers. (Minnesota writers are allowed to submit TWO short plays) 

The performance will be Sept. 7 and 8 at the Lincoln Community Center in Mankato, MN. Semi-finalists will be named in May, with finalists chosen in June. 

Each night, the audience will pick a Best of the Fest winner from the seven plays performed. The writer of the winning play will receive a check for $100.


5. Magnolia Arts Center (Greenville | NC)

12th Annual Playwriting Contest seeks 10-minute-play submissions

DEADLINE: 4 / 30 / 2017

FEE: $5 for mailed submissions; $7 for electronic submissions

RESTRICTIONS: Playwrights must be US citizens.

See opportunity on company website


Magnolia Arts Center is accepting submissions of 10-minute-plays for their 12th Annual Playwriting Contest.


First Prize is $50, as voted by a live audience.  For questions or problems, please email us at

Submission Period: January 1 – April 30, 2017

Judging: Three judges will read through all of the submissions and select the top five 10-Minute plays. Each of these will be performed and then the audience will vote on their favorite.

For more info on how to submit, please visit the official website:

6. City Theatre of Independence (Independence | MO)

Playwright Festival 2017 seeking submissions

DEADLINE: 1 / 15 / 2017

FEE: No Fee; RESTRICTIONS: Open to all playwrights.

See opportunity on company website


City Theatre of Independence is seeking short plays that run 10-15 minutes for their 2017 Play Festival.


Theme: Playwright’s Choice

Submission dates for the Playwright Festival are from January 1 to January 15, 2017. A limited number of submissions will be accepted.


The short play must have a run time of 10-15 minutes.
Work must be original and not be published or produced before June 2017.
Maximum of four cast members.
Must be performed on one set: 1 loveseat, 1 side table, 2 straight-backed chairs, 1 ottoman, and 1 hall tree.

Submit plays to email address: Only the first 75 plays received will be accepted.

IMPORTANT:  Please email two copies of each play, one with your full contact information, one without any identification.

No entry fee required.

Awards will be given for Best Overall Production and Best Script.

Performance Dates: July 27th, 28th, 29th, and 30th, 2017


7. Indie Boots Theatre (Chicago | IL)

Indie Boots Theatre seeks submissions of short plays for their 2017 festival: The Zoe Plays

DEADLINE: 2 / 14 / 2017

FEE: No Fee; RESTRICTIONS: Open to all playwrights.

See opportunity on company website


Indie Boots Theatre is seeking submissions of 5-15 minute plays with the name "Zoe" in the title for their 2017 festival, "The Zoe Plays".


Regular Deadline: January 31, 2017
Late Deadline: February 14, 2017
An Audience Award will be presented at our 5th annual theatre festival!
All plays must use the word "Zoe" in the title ("Zoe's Room," "Guitar Lessons with Zoë," etc. To read about the plays from last year's festival, click here.)
Selected plays usually run 5-10 minutes. (No minimum. 15 minute max.)
Cast size: 2-10 actors (3-6 are encouraged). All characters are played by adults.

Writers of selected scripts will be notified via email in March 2017. Finalists will be performed as fully staged plays in spring 2017 in Chicago.

Complete the form ( and email your script (with subject line and file name: Title, Writer) to:

PDF and DOC files are preferred. If you are unable to fill out the online form, please email relevant information.