2021 ONE-ACT PLAY FESTIVAL
Short play competition open to U.S. playwrights
Production dates for the Third Annual One-Act Play Festival will be announced soon. New plays submitted to this competition may come from playwrights anywhere in the U.S. No more than 100 scripts will be accepted for consideration. Plays selected for production will be judged by three experienced theatre professionals, with a $500 prize for Best Play. Entries may be submitted beginning May 1 and the deadline is June 30 — during that period, a link at the bottom of this page will activate the online entry form.
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: We are looking for plays that run approximately 20-35 minutes. Exceptions may be made by the Festival Committee for works deemed exceptionally creative or original.
- Structure: Although not a requirement, preferential consideration will be given to plays in one scene and/or a single setting.
- 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 must 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 very minimal furniture and limited technical effects. Our productions will use large wooden cubes where possible in place of most tables and chairs, simplifying the stage picture to emphasize the playwright’s work and facilitate set changes between plays.
- 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 The play may have been workshopped or presented as a reading prior to entry in the competition, but must be unpublished and not previously performed before a paying audience in Florida. The online Entry Form requires your agreement to each of the following points before a script can be submitted:
- I affirm that the attached script is my original work and is not based on or adapted from any other work, including but not limited to novels, short stories, screenplays, teleplays, other theatrical scripts, or from musical forms such as opera, contemporary music or musical theater
- I affirm that my play has not been published and has never been performed before a paying audience in Florida.
- I understand that if my play is selected I will be interviewed by Theatre Odyssey to confirm the originality of the work and that other steps will be taken to confirm my statements.
- I understand that violation of these rules will disqualify my play for consideration and entry fee will not be returned.
- 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.
4. Submission Limit: One play per playwright.
5. Submission Fee: Entry fee is $10, payable via PayPal. (The fee is waived for members of Dramatists Guild of America — member number required.) If your play is selected for production, you will be expected to provide a brief (150-word) biography, a JPG high-resolution photo, and a brief synopsis of the play which may be used in marketing and promotion.
6. Deadline: Completed Entry Form, uploaded script and submission fee must be received by June 30. No more than 100 scripts will be accepted. With our receipt of the one hundredth script, no further entries will be considered.
7. Uploading: Plays may only be submitted electronically via the online Entry Form.
8. 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.
9. Performance: Plays selected as finalists will be staged as full productions at the Manatee Performing Arts Center in Bradenton, 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: https://pwcenter.org/playwriting-toolkit/how-format-your-script — a correctly formatted script is easier to read and evaluate. A Word template which you may find helpful is available for download.