One-Act Play Festival Submission Guidelines


Short play competition open to U.S. playwrights

100 entries have been received — no additional entries can be accepted. Plays selected as semifinalists will be announced in mid-August.

The Festival will begin with readings of plays selected as semifinalists in September, with the finalists receiving full productions in early November. Three experienced theatre professionals will adjudicate the finalists, with a $1,000 prize for Best Play and $500 prize for Runner-Up. Scripts may be submitted beginning May 1.


1. Eligibility | Plays must be the original work of persons who are residents of the U.S. In the case of collaborations, the residency requirement pertains to all authors.

2. Script Requirements:

  • Length: The play must run no less than 20 minutes and no more than 45 minutes.
  • Cast: No more than 6 actors. (More characters are allowed if actors may double.) A list of characters with a brief physical description of each should be included on the Entry Form.
  • Genre: Comedy, drama, mystery, thriller or monologue — but no musicals or plays for children.
  • Technical Limitation: Play settings should be simple, suitable for small stage or black box theatre, requiring minimal furniture or set pieces and limited technical effects.
  • Format: PDF or Microsoft Word, prepared using standard formatting for a stage play*.
  • Anonymity: The author’s name must not appear on any of the pages, allowing the script to be initially evaluated anonymously. Pages should be numbered.

3. Originality | We seek plays that are new, inventive, fresh, and not an adaptation of work by another author. The play may have been workshopped or presented as an unstaged reading prior to entry in the competition, but must be unpublished and not previously performed before a paying audience. The on-line Entry Form includes the following:

Confirmation of Originality; by submitting the form to upload your script, you are confirming agreement with this statement:

I agree to Theatre Odyssey’s submission requirements and understand that Theatre Odyssey will only consider original work. Plays which are based on any other published work, including but not limited to novels, short stories, films, teleplays, other theatrical scripts, etc., unless also written by the submitting author(s), are ineligible. By submitting this form, I declare that the attached script is my original work and conforms to Theatre Odyssey’s requirements for the One-Act Play Festival. I understand Theatre Odyssey will make final production decisions based on the quality of the work and practicality of production, and such decisions shall be final. If my play is selected for inclusion in the One-Act Play Festival, I will provide a brief biography (150-word), a JPG high-resolution photo, and a one-sentence description of the submitted play.

4. Submission Fee | $20, payable via PayPal. More than one play may be submitted as a separate entry (along with the requisite fee) but no playwright will have more than one entry selected for production.

5. Deadline | Completed Entry Form, uploaded script and submission fee must be received by July 31, 2018.

No more than 100 scripts will be accepted. With our receipt of the one hundredth script, no further entries will be considered so we urge you to submit your script early.

6. Uploading | Plays may only be submitted electronically via the online Entry Form which will be available after payment is made.

7. Selection | The play selection process begins with evaluation by our team of readers, who will independently score each play according to their assessment of plot, character, dialogue, language, theatricality and their own emotional response.

8. Performance:

Part 1, September: Up to a dozen plays selected as semifinalists will be presented as unstaged readings, evaluated by theatre professionals to determine up to five finalists. Playwright attendance is welcomed but not required. 
Part 2, November 1-4: Plays selected as finalists will be staged as full productions at the Glenridge Performing Arts Center in Sarasota, Florida, and will be adjudicated by three theatre professionals. Winners will be announced following the final performance. Playwright attendance is welcomed but not required.

We suggest you read “How to format your script” by Sam Graber on the website of The Playwrights’ Center: — a correctly formatted script is easier to read and evaluate. A Word template which you may find helpful is available for download.

For questions about submission guidelines or the Festival, please contact us here