American Stage’s 21st Century Voices: Emerging Plays

We are no longer accepting submissions for the American Stage’s 21st Century Voices: 2020 New Play Festival.
Check back in spring of 2020 for information on how to submit for the 2021 New Play Festival.

American Stage is committed to producing powerful and relevant professional live theatre. Our 21st Century Voices is an initiative dedicated to developing and presenting new works for the stage that speak to a contemporary audience in fresh and compelling ways. 21st Century Voices programming includes an annual staged reading festival, workshopping of new scripts, playwriting residencies and fully produced new plays receiving one of their first three professional productions at American Stage.

21st Century Voices: New Play Festival Submissions

This year we are seeking submissions of new plays that promote the exploration of themes relevant to our world today, featuring characters who inspire us.  

Play submissions should align with our 40-year history of productions that celebrate the most powerful stories of the moment, the most defining stories from our past and our mission to reinforce the power of live theatre with high-quality productions of compelling plays that excite and challenge a diverse audience.

Submission guidelines for the American Stage’s 21st Century Voices: 2019 New Play Festival are as follows:

  • Plays must be full-length in any genre: comedy, drama, musical, etc.
  • Translations, collections of one-acts, children’s plays, or any play that has received more than two full-scale, professional productions prior to submission are not eligible.
  • Plays that have had a full production in the state of Florida are not eligible.
  • In order to be eligible as a finalist for our 2020 New Play Festival – you must grant American Stage the right to produce the Florida premiere and one of the first three full productions worldwide if it is selected for production in our 2020-21 Season.
  • Plays that have had workshops or readings in the state of Florida or worldwide are still eligible.
  • Only one submission per playwright is allowed each year.
  • Plays that have been submitted to 21st Century Voices in the past two years are not eligible.
  • Local, national, and international playwrights are encouraged to submit.

The Selection Process

American Stage’s competitive selection process consists of two rounds of selection. All 10-page play excerpts submitted during the first round are reviewed by a committee of theatre artists and arts advocates. Requests for full manuscripts will be submitted in August 2019. In the second round, selected playwrights are asked to provide a full manuscript of their play for consideration by the committee. Selections will be made by November 2019. Finally, American Stage invites four to five playwrights to have their work included in 21st Century Voices: New Play Festival in January 2020.

Playwrights invited to participate in our 21st Century Voices: New Play Festival will receive a $250 fee and will be provided a $250 travel stipend and accommodations during the festival.

How to Apply

Email your complete submission package to 21stCenturyVoices@americanstage.org between April 15 through June 15, 2019.

Important Submission Information: Full manuscripts and incomplete submission packages will not be considered.  We cannot accept submissions that do not fulfill the above requirements.

Step 1. Complete the online submission form to provide American Stage with information about the playwright and the play.

Step 2. Email your submission package to 21stCenturyVoices@americanstage.org. In order to be accepted, your submission package must be submitted as a single PDF file that meets the following requirements.

File name must be “Title of Play_Author Last Name”   
The file must include:

  • Title of the play;
  • Character breakdown and description; please include total number of characters
  • Time and place of the play;
  • Synopsis of the play that helps to provide context for the 10 page sample (no longer than 1 page);
  • A concise paragraph (no longer than 1 page) describing the development history of the play you are submitting;
  • A statement describing how your play is a good fit for the 2020 American Stage 21st Century Voices’ focus on plays that promote the exploration of themes relevant to our world today, featuring characters who inspire us
  • A 10-page sample of the play.

Please only include the last name of the author in the submission. DO NOT include the full name of the author on any of the pages.
Please note: Agents submitting on behalf of a playwright may submit following these same instructions.

Some Recommendations

Make sure that your synopsis sets the reader up to understand what is going on in your sample. Remember that the reader only has this synopsis and the ten pages that you provide to get to know your work, and that is difficult to do if they are confused about the plot. Also, make sure you are submitting the best ten pages of your work! The sample does not need to be the first ten pages of the play; you should select whichever 10-page section you think presents the best argument for why we should want to read the whole thing.

21st Century Voices: New Play Festival 2019

Playwright-in-Residence (NEW)

Our playwright-in-residence spends a season developing a new play in collaboration with American Stage leadership and artists. Beginning with a series of private readings with professional actors over the course of the season, the play will be presented to an audience in a staged reading and ultimately, through an American Stage workshop production.

Natalie Symons

2018-19 American Stage Playwright-in-Residence

Playwright of LARK EDEN, THE BUFFALO KINGS, & NAMING TRUE

Visit www.americanstage.org/18-19 for additional Season Announcement Media

I’m thrilled to have an ‘artistic home’ for the 2018/19 season, LIFE. OUT LOUD where with the support of the entire American Stage community I will have the opportunity to develop my new play. It’s through these collaborative efforts that never-before-produced work transitions from the page to the stage and ultimately finds its legs.” – Natalie Symons, Playwright-in-Residence

Natalie’s play THE PEOPLE DOWNSTAIRS will make its world premiere in our 2019-2020 Season.

 

21st Century Voices Past Festivals

21st Century Voices: New Play Festival 2017

STRAIT OF GIBRALTAR by Andrea Lepcio – Selected for American Stage’s 2017-2018 mainstage season

FLYING by Sheila Cowley

RISE OF THE PRICKLY PEAR by Radha S. Menon

PRUDENCE by Stefan Lanfer

 

21st Century Voices: New Play Festival 2018

LENI AND JOSEPH by Jacob Marx Rice

IF NOW WERE HENCE by Tess Light

POSTLINGUAL by Brooke Downs

GROUP by Alex Rubin

GOOD BAD PEOPLE by Rachel Lynett

 

21st Century Voices: New Play Festival 2019

THE COLONY by Gina Stevensen

SHRUTI GUPTA CAN TOTALLY DEAL by J.Stephen Brantley

THE FLORA AND FAUNA by Alyson Mead

THE DIARY OF ANNIE MAE FRANKLIN by Crystal V. Rhodes

THE PEOPLE DOWNSTAIRS by Playwright-In-Residence Natalie Symons – Selected for our 2019-2020 Season.

Playwrights Welcome Logo

Playwrights Welcome
Playwrights Welcome is a new program developed for Dramatists Guild of America Members by Samuel French along with Dramatists Play Service, Dramatic Publishing, Music Theatre International, Playscripts and Rodgers and Hammerstein. The goal is simple: to provide free access to theatre for playwrights, composers and lyricists. We are invested in the success and artistic health of our industry’s writers, and by extension the vibrancy of the American theatre. We’re also aware that attending theatre is an integral part to how writers learn their craft and grow as artists.

We are proud to take part in Playwrights Welcome, which offers available tickets to professional playwrights on the day of a performance, free of charge. To receive a ticket through Playwrights Welcome at American Stage, call or come to the box office on the day of the show. You must present your current valid DGA membership card to pick up your ticket, one ticket per member.

For more information on this national program, and to learn which theaters around the country are involved, please visit samuelfrench.com/playwrightswelcome.