Do you write plays? 7 upcoming deadlines you should know about

You'll probably use a laptop, but, you know. via flickr user Tim Hamilton
You’ll probably use a laptop, but, you know. via flickr user Tim Hamilton

Mercury is in retrograde and Jonas is coming to swallow us all, which means that if you write plays, it’s the perfect time to cozy up in your apartment and get some work done. “Work” doesn’t mean binge-watching Transparent and ordering Seamless, by the way. It means sitting down at your computer and finishing your newest script, or editing the draft of an old one, or even jotting down some ideas for your next big project.

In that spirit, we’ve rounded up seven exciting programs that are currently accepting submissions from playwrights. Deadlines are upcoming, if not imminent, so take a look at the opportunities below and decide which one, or how many, are right for you. 


Spaceworks artists at work, in space. via website
Spaceworks artists at work, in space. via website


What it is: This artist organization — in a new permanent residence at the Williamsburgh Library — is currently accepting applications for its first-ever artist showcase that will feature the talents of up to 20 theater and interdisciplinary artists at The Tank (151 W. 46th St.) in late February. Ticket sales for the event will also cover cost of a photographer, so you can have promotional material for future use.

Who it’s good for: Playwrights at any point in their careers, looking to produce written work that is mid-process but ready to present, since the time between acceptance and presentation is so short. You’ve also got to be registered as a Spaceworks artist in order to apply, but that’s also a very simple process that simply involves providing some basic information about you and your work.

Deadline: Sunday, Jan. 24 at 11:59pm
How to apply: Submit a proposal, a work sample and tech requirements here.


That could be YOUR play the FGP crowd is enjoying so much
Hey, that could be YOUR comedic masterpiece the audience is enjoying. via Fresh Ground Pepper


What it is: Last year we told you about Fresh Ground Pepper, a company that produces your works-in-progress so long as they related to a themed challenge of the month. Well, in addition to their rotating roster of themed submissions, FGP runs a year-long playwriting residency called Playground Playgroup, where emerging theater creators can develop their script with the supportive feedback of other playwrights, and finally present the mid-process work as a staged reading at the end of the year.

Who it’s good for: Emerging playwrights at any point along the process of developing a new script for the stage, individually or as a writer/director team if desired. The proposed work should not have been produced elsewhere, but can have past incarnations. It should have enough of a backbone that you can pitch some goals you’d like to accomplish for it to the FGP team. Especially well-suited to off-off Broadway and downtown theatre enthusiasts.

Deadline: Sunday, Jan. 31 at 11:59pm
How to apply: Fill short and long-form application questions about the project, and your artistic background, here.


Those kind old Brits will make your radio play sing! via flickr user George Redgrave
Those kind old Brits will make your radio play sing! via flickr user George Redgrave


What it is: We wouldn’t normally tell you to apply for something halfway across the world, but this oppor-tune-ity is too good to pass up . The BBC is accepting submission for its 25th International Radio Playwriting Competition! Selected playwrights will have their work produced and broadcast to millions of listeners worldwide. The BBC is one of public radio’s few remaining OGs and

Who it’s good for: Playwrights with an arguably British sense of humor; fans of public radio; writers who already have or can adapt a script for an aural audience. There are tight guidelines for play submission: they can’t be longer than 53 minutes, or have more than six central characters. You might want to have a keen awareness of how long it is by reading it aloud before you submit.

Deadline: Sunday, Jan. 31 at 11:59pm
How to apply:
Submission rules available here. Submit a script, 400-word synopsis and accompanying entry form (download here) to radioplay[at], or to your local British Council Office, or by snail mail (address provided on the downloadable form).


Just don't submit a send-up of Lena Dunham, because it's been done. via Stephanie Levin
Just don’t submit a send-up of Lena Dunham, because it’s been done. via Stephanie Levin


What it is: Ars Nova produces this annual month-long festival in midtown Manhattan, presenting wacky, wild works by emerging theatermakers. Selected solo artists and production teams will have their work produced at the festival — for a one-night-only run — on a small stage in their intimate cabaret-like venue, which draws an enthusiastic audience of downtown theatergoers.

Who it’s good for: Emerging playwrights who already have a mid-process or finished script and a creative team, either as part of a writer/director duo or a collective ensemble. AntFest looks favorably on work by small companies with a name, so it’s a good idea to package your script with a team of lead artists before you submit. One-acts, cabaret nights, musical comedies and other variety show-esque hybrids are all fair game.

Deadline: Sunday, Jan. 31 at 11:59pm
How to apply: 
Fill out the online application form here, and send any additional materials to artistic[at]


Stage your next play in a subway car, why don't you? via MTA
Stage your next play in a subway car, why don’t you? via MTA Youtube


What it is: The Brooklyn outpost of the city’s Transit Museum hosts PLATFORM, a series of interdisciplinary creative programs ranging from staged historical lectures to immersive art installations, and unified by the common denominator of public transit. It may seem like a pretty broad description, but you can have a look at past years of PLATFORM artists’ work to see how it can take shape.

Who it’s good for: Writers with a penchant for the interdisciplinary or the written hybrid: theatre meets academia, theatre meets public policy, etc. You could adapt your already-written works to the theme of transit, or propose to create an entirely new piece. Great for early-career playwrights looking to make new work, or mid-career playwrights looking to shake things up.

Deadline: Monday, Feb. 8 at 5pm
How to apply: Submission guidelines can be found here. Send all materials to programs[at]


Maybe your play will have dancing in it! Who knows? via Restoration Arts
Maybe your play will have dancing in it! Who knows? via Restoration Arts


What it is: The Center for Arts & Culture is a hub for creatives housed inside the Bed-Stuy Restoration Corporation, and it’s partnering with the Frank Silvera Writers’ Workshop to offer up a playwriting residency for three women playwrights, to take place over two consecutive weekends in April 2016. Inspired by film production bootcamps, this program is a crash-course in theatre-making that will pair playwrights with actors and directors and, under the tutelage of a “master playwright,” culminating in a staged reading of their work on the first weekend, and a fully staged production on the second.

Who it’s good for: Community-minded women playwrights looking forge professional relationships and kickstart a new project through a structured and goal-oriented process. This residency condenses the entire playwriting and production process into essentially five days, so it’s especially well-suited to anyone who suffers from lazy self-imposed writing deadlines or a lack of creative inspiration.

Deadline: Monday, Feb. 15 at 11:59pm
How to apply: Submit resumé, essay and writing sample here 


At this point, your diary is probably a full-length play. via Scrap Mettle
At this point, your diary is probably a full-length play. via Scrap Mettle


What it is: Scrap Mettle Arts is a new company dedicated exclusively to the development of innovative works by artists who might not have a sizable resumé, and it currently seeking works of theatre for a unique festival of staged readings in April 2016 that will be narrowed down nightly based on audience votes. In addition to the staged reading, playwrights who move on to the final round will have their work produced fully by Scrap Mettle.

Who it’s good for: Early career playwrights with a finished, but as-yet-unproduced, full length play; mid-process passion projects that have a year or two of incubation and a complete draft to offer up. This call for submissions marks Scrap Mettle’s inaugural season as a company, so you can expect a great deal of personal attention, too.

Deadline: Monday, February 29 at 11:59pm
How to apply: Fill out the application form and upload a 10-page work sample here.

With this many applications, your chances for having a fun project to work on in the spring are way, way better than the Powerball. And don’t forget to check out our other artist resources: we wrote a guide to Brooklyn’s theatre scene, gave you an artists’ starter kit for getting your name out there, told you where you could find cheap artist studio space, and where you can cowork to finish your next script.

Follow Sam on Twitter for more artist savvy at @ahoysamantha 

Leave a Reply