One way we access fresh, new work is through the Samuel French Off Off Broadway Short Play Festival. Each year, we receive hundreds of submissions that are narrowed down to roughly forty semi-finalists (the "Final 40"), who are then required to produce their plays in New York City. A panel of judges made up of professional playwrights, literary agents, and Artistic Directors from major theatrical professionals are present each night of performance and determine the finalists, all of whom perform on the final day of the Festival. The editorial staff then selects six winners, who are presented with publishing and licensing contracts, and are published in a compilation.
The Samuel French Off Off Broadway Short Play Festival started in 1975 and is Manhattan's oldest continuous short play festival. Over 400 theatre companies and schools have participated in the Festival's first thirty-six years, including companies from coast to coast as well as abroad from Canada, Singapore, the UK, and Australia. The Festival has served as a doorway to future success for many aspiring writers. The unique aspect of requiring authors to collaborate with a producing organization and present their work in performance, we hope, encourages the collaborative and creative process of playwriting.
Winning plays of the 2012 festival are as follows:
Anniversary by Rachel Bonds
Naked Eyes by Dean Imperial
Forgetting to Remember by Greg Kalleres
Missed Connection by Catya McMullen
Edison/Tesla Brian/Dave by Kevin Mead and Darren Miller
Wolf Play by Claire Kiechel
To access the official Off Off Broadway Short Play Festival Website CLICK HERE!
We regret to announce that the High School Playwriting Competition has been cancelled for 2013 and future years. Internal changes here have made administration of the competition increasingly challenging. Please know this was an enormously difficult decision for our company and one made with heavy hearts. We maintain our deep commitment to young theatre artists as part of our company philosophy, and are presently exploring alternative ways to engage with young dramatists across the nation.
For other, excellent playwriting opportunities for high school students, we recommend reviewing a recent article in our [Breaking Character] online magazine. This article lists national and local opportunities for high school students to submit, develop, and produce their work with the mentorship of well-respected professionals and organizations.
Please also note that we are happy to be continuing our relationship with Thespian Playworks, a writing competition and script-development program for high school students, sponsored by the Educational Theatre Association and run by the staff of Dramatics magazine. For two years we have published annual anthologies of short plays from this competition, and we will continue to do so in future years.
We would like to thank the students and teachers who have participated in and supported our competition over its many years. We have very much enjoyed the opportunity to read the work of so many talented young writers.
We will be releasing the 5th volume of Dramatic Debuts with this year's winners in the early spring. Anthologies of past winners include:
Another competition that we sponsor is open to all playwrights with Canadian citizenship. Samuel French originally established the Canadian Playwrights Contest to encourage awareness and growth of Canadian playwriting. The competition is open to all Canadian playwrights regardless of geographic location. Writers are invited to submit their best full-length stage plays that are original and have never been published. The winning play will receive publication and representation from Samuel French. Please check back for information about submissions for the 2013 contest.
Past Samuel French Canadian Playwrights Contest winners:
Dead Peasants by Leif Oleson-Cormack
Mother of Him by Evan Placey
Kayak by Jordan Hall
Welfarewell by Cat Delaney
Closure by Ron Blicq
Shadows on Oak Island by Garnet Hirst with Deborah L. Preeper
$38,000 For A Friendly Faceby Kristin Shepherd
Bingo Babes by Isabel Duarte
Kitchen Witches by Caroline Smith
Maple Lodge by Colleen Curran
That Darn Plot by David Belke
In addition to the Contest and Festivals we administer, we’ve also partnered with the following National playwriting awards:
Kennedy Center ACTF National New Play Awards
The National Student Playwriting Award, initiated in 1974, is part of the Michael Kanin Playwriting Awards Program. The purpose of this award is to encourage college students to write for the stage by providing the opportunity for them to collaborate with actors, directors, and others through all stages of production, including rehearsals and performances. The playwright and/or institution chosen for the National Student Playwriting Award may receive the following:
Production of the play at the Kennedy Center as part of the KCACTF national festival, with all expenses paid for the production and the playwright.The Kennedy Center will award the playwright a cash prize of $2500.
Dramatists Guild Award. The Dramatists Guild Award provides the playwright with Active membership in the Guild.
Professional Development Fellowship. The Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival will provide the award recipient with an all-expenses paid professional development opportunity.
The Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE) Award. ATHE will present an award of $100 to each theater department producing an original student-written, full-length play at each of the eight KCACTF Regional Festivals. Additionally, ATHE will present a cash award of up to $1000 to the theater department of the school producing the National Student Playwriting Award recipient in a public ceremony during the KCACTF National Festival.
The option to publish and license the play with Samuel French, Inc.
More information on the award can be found at the Kennedy Center website.
The Alliance/Kendeda National Graduate Playwriting Competition
The Alliance/Kendeda National Graduate Playwriting Competition solicits plays from the leading MFA/graduate programs in the United States and then conducts a rigorous selection process to find four finalists and one winning play. The winner receives a full production in Atlanta during the Alliance Theatre's season and is offered the option to be published and licensed by Samuel French.
Past Winners of the Award include:
Carapace by David Robinson
The Ted Schmitt Award
Given by the Los Angeles Theatre Critics Circle(LATCC), the Ted Schmitt Award honors an outstanding world premiere of a new play in the Los Angeles area. By working with the LATCA to publish and license the Ted Schmitt award winner, it is our hopes to expand our presence in the growing Los Angeles-area theatre community.
Past Winners of the Award include: