Young Playwrights Contest

2023 CONTEST SUBMISSION – The 2023 Young Playwrights Contest is now closed. We cannot accept additional submissions at this time. Read below for tips for next season. 




Interested in submitting your one-act play to our contest but aren’t quite sure what the scoop is? Here are some frequently asked questions we get from young playwrights: 

    • Who is eligible to submit a one-act play?
    • 7th-12th graders that reside in western Pennsylvania and northern West Virginia are eligible to submit their plays. 
    • How long does my play need to be?
    • We recommend aiming for 25 pages or shorter in length. If your play goes over the recommended amount, that’s fine, but most one-acts that we produce are 20-25 pages long. 
    • How many characters should my play have? 
    • No more than 8, please!  And most of the plays we produce in our festival are around 2-4 characters. Think critically about how many characters you need: are they all really necessary? Can two or three characters actually be combined into one person? Are your characters superfluous or do they actually help drive the plot forward? These are important questions to think about to help determine what makes the most sense for your play. 
    • What kind of plays are you looking for? 
    • We are looking for plays with unique voices, point of views, and interesting stories. No subject or theme is off the table. If the story is important to you, it’s important to us! 
    • What should I write my play about? 
    • That’s entirely up to you! But we understand that sometimes it’s hard to come up with something out of thin air. We encourage you to observe the world around you and use it for inspiration. Is there a piece of art or a photograph that inspires you? What about a particular song that takes you on a journey? Inspiration can be found anywhere! 
    • I’m afraid my play isn’t good enough. Should I still submit it? 
    • We think the words “good enough” should be banned! Most of our young playwrights have never written a play before! Playwriting is a skill, and like every other skill, you have to practice it to get better. We encourage you to submit your play so that you can receive feedback on it. That feedback will help you develop your playwriting skills. 
    • What happens to my play after I submit it? 
    • After you submit your play, it is cataloged and distributed to our Literary Committee. The Literary Committee is made up of theatre professionals around the greater Pittsburgh area and across the nation. Your play will be read by at least two of our Literary Committee. They send their evaluations to us, and we compile it into a summary. Your summary is then emailed to you over the summer. Some playwrights take the feedback and revise their plays to resubmit the following year.
    • How will I know if I won the contest? 
    • Contest winners are chosen in May and will be notified by phone. 
    • Can I submit a play I previously turned in? 
    • Of course! Writing a play is a long process and if you’ve revised a previously submitted play, we’d love to see the work you’ve done! 
    • Does my play need to be formatted a certain way?

      City Theatre prefers play submissions be written in the American Standard Format.We’ve created a guide to help you out!