2021 VSA Playwright Discovery Competition
Young writers with disabilities are invited to submit a 'ten-minute script' of any genre. Scripts may be for theater scripts, musicals, multimedia, video, film, or TV scripts, non-linear scripts, or other writing for performance. Entries may be the work of an individual student or a collaboration by a group of up to five students that includes at least one student with a disability. A panel of theater professionals selects division winners.
Writers are encouraged to craft short (10 minute) works from their own experiences and observations through the creation of fictional characters and settings, writing realistically, metaphorically or abstractly about any topic, including the disability experience.
Writers in the U.S. must be in grades 6-12 (or equivalents) or ages 11-18 for non-U.S. writers and must have a disability. Please read the eligibility for participation.
One winning piece is chosen in the Primary Division (ages 11-13) and the Junior Divisions (ages 13-15). Winners in these divisions will be featured in press releases and on the Kennedy Center website.
Multiple winners in the Senior Division (grades 10-12 / ages 15-18) will receive exclusive access to participate in professional development activities provided by the Kennedy Center. Professional development opportunities will take place virtually and/or in-person as conditions allow. Winners will have the opportunity to work with industry professionals in further development of their own script, as well as participating in networking opportunities.
DEADLINE: The application deadline is Wednesday, March 10, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time.
*PLEASE READ ALL INFORMATION AND GUIDELINES COMPLETELY BEFORE BEGINNING THE APPLICATION PROCESS*
To be eligible to enter the VSA Playwright Discovery Competition applicants must meet the following criteria:
The competition is open to U.S. and international applicants. However, all pieces must be submitted in English; pieces submitted in other languages will not be accepted.
Can be either an individual or group. Co-authorships of up to five students are accepted, but all authors must fulfill eligibility requirements and at least one must be a student with a disability. Co-authors of a piece must be eligible for the same division (i.e. authors of a Primary Division piece must all be enrolled in grades 6-7 or ages 11-13), but do not have to be in the same grade level. The application must include information for all authors.
Entrants must be a student with a disability or an ensemble that includes a student with a disability.
Authors must be students in U.S. grades 6-12 (or equivalent) or ages 11-18 for non-U.S. students. Students in grades 6-7 (ages 11-13) apply to the Primary Division, students in grades 8-9 (ages 13-15) apply to the Junior Division, and students in grades 10-12 (ages 15-18) apply to the Senior Division.
Previous applicants are eligible to reapply in subsequent years until they win or age out of the competition. Any applicant (applying as an individual or with a group) may win once in either the Primary or Junior Division, and once in the Senior Division. This means:
Primary Division winners may submit a new piece for consideration to the Senior Division when of age, but may not apply to the Junior Division.
Junior Division winners may submit a new piece for consideration to the Senior Division.
Senior Division winners are not eligible to reapply to the competition.
Senior Division winners must be present for the VSA Playwright Discovery Program professional development events (virtually and/or in-person as conditions allow - specific schedule TBA) in order to be eligible for the award.
If selected as a finalist, applicants are required to provide proof of age and disability, and must be willing to publicly disclose that they have a disability for all materials and public appearances associated with the VSA Playwright Discovery Competition.
An advisory panel of distinguished professionals and educators will assist with the selection process.
All applications must be submitted through the online application form.
Provide a synopsis of your script (up to 250 words) in the provided text box.
To request application materials in a different format, please email email@example.com
Pieces must be submitted in English; pieces submitted in other languages will not be accepted.
All entries that are scripts must be in the ten-minute play format. A ten-minute play is a play with at least two characters. It is not a scene, skit, or sketch. Structurally, it should have a beginning, middle, and end, just as any good one-act or full-length play. Since we only have ten minutes to bring the story full circle, a dramatic conflict should be posed as quickly as possible. The resolution of that conflict is what plays out across the remaining pages. The true success of a ten-minute play is reliant on the writer’s ability to bring an audience through the same cathartic/entertaining experience that a good one-act or full-length play accomplishes. Ten-minutes means eight or nine pages, but certainly no more than ten pages. Read your play out loud to see how long it takes.
Entries may include theater scripts, video, film, or TV scripts, non-linear scripts, writing for performance that does not rely on spoken language, and/or writing that emphasize the use of music, multimedia, puppetry, or audience participation. Since non-verbal entries are accepted, pieces may be submitted as video or audio files if applicable.
Authors may submit only one script, whether under their name, a pseudonym, or as a co-author.
Entries must be original, unproduced, and unpublished at the time of submission. Pieces with previous readings or workshops are acceptable, as long as they were not produced for a paying audience and have not been publicly reviewed.
If an entry includes any material that is copyrighted or otherwise owned or controlled by someone other than the authors (including but not limited to, poetry, music and/or lyrics, characters originally created by others in any medium, and/or stories based on real people and/or other people’s lives) the author shall provide proof of written permission to include such material in the script.
All entries should follow these formatting guidelines:
Include a cover sheet listing the title of the piece and the cast/character list. IMPORTANT: Do not show your name, address, or any identifying information on the cover or any page of your entry.
Typed in 12 point Arial font.
List page numbers on each page of the piece (not counting the cover sheet).
Set the page layout to portrait (no landscape, please)
Before uploading your file, please re-name the file as the TITLE OF YOUR SCRIPT
The application deadline is Wednesday, March 10, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time.
We will receive your application the day that you submit it and you will receive verification of your submission and you will receive a confirmation email within 24 hours of submitting your online application; please check your junk mail folder for this email. If you have not received a confirmation email after 24 hours, please contact us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.