American Stage’s 21st Century Voices: Emerging Plays

We will be accepting submissions for the American Stage’s 21st Century Voices: 2022 New Play Festival July 12 through August 19, 2021.

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.

This year we are seeking submissions of new plays that focus on multicultural storytelling. We are interested in plays which explore a vast landscape of characters, experiences and viewpoints.

Play submissions should align with our 44 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, multicultural plays that excite and challenge a diverse audience. 

Annually American Stage will recognize an outstanding participant playwright in the 21st Century Voices New Play Festival with a cash prize. Former CEO/Producing Artistic Director Stephanie Gularte started the Festival six years ago and the Board of Trustees is extending her impact on the field by establishing the Gularte Prize for Playwriting. The Prize of $2000 will be given to an exceptional writer, which will be determined by the Producing Artistic Director, at the Festival’s conclusion.

Submission guidelines for the American Stage’s 21st Century Voices: 2022 New Play Festival are as follows:

  • Plays must be full-length in any genre: comedy, drama, 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 2022 New Play Festival – you must grant American Stage the right to produce the Florida premiere and one of the first three full productions world-wide if it is selected for production in our 2022-23 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. 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 2021. Finally, American Stage invites four to five playwrights to have their work included in 21st Century Voices: New Play Festival in January 2022.

Playwrights invited to participate in our 21st Century Voices: New Play Festival will receive a $250 fee and will be provided a $200 travel stipend and accommodations during the festival.

The Gularte Prize

Annually American Stage will recognize an outstanding participant playwright in the 21st Century Voices New Play Festival with a cash prize. Former CEO/Producing Artistic Director Stephanie Gularte started the Festival six years ago and the Board of Trustees is extending her impact on the field by establishing the Gularte Prize for Playwriting. The Prize of $2000 will be given to an exceptional writer, which will be determined by the Producing Artistic Director, at the Festival’s conclusion.

How to Apply 

Email your complete submission package to 21stCenturyVoices@americanstage.org between July 12 through August 19, 2021.

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

2022 Deadlines

For consideration in our 21st Century Voices: 2022 New Play Festival, American Stage is accepting submissions from July 12– August 19, 2021. Requests for full manuscripts will be made in September-October 2021.  Festival selections will be made in November 2022.

Only completed submission packages emailed to 21stCenturyVoices@americanstage.org between July 12 and August 19, 2021 will be considered.

Thank you for your interest!

How to Apply

Step 1. Complete the online submission form to provide American Stage with information about the playwright and the play. Submissions will not be considered unless this form is submitted.

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 first pages of 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 2022 American Stage 21st Century Voices’ focus on plays with multicultural storytelling that explore a vast landscape of characters, experiences and viewpoints.
  • 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.

 

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 

 

21st Century Voices: New Play Festival 2020

STRANGE COURTESIES by L. Peter Callender

THE IMPOSSIBLE ESCAPE OF DON MISTERIOSO by Hal Borden

YOU TOO? By Taylor Leigh Lamb

MLM IS FOR MURDER (OR, YOUR SIDE HUSTLE IS KILLING US) by John Bavoso

PREDICTOR by Jennifer Blackmer

 

21st Century Voices: New Play Festival 2021

IN SEARCH OF MOTHMAN by Amber Palmer

SONS OF LIBERTY by Cris Eli Blak

THE POLAR BEAR SOCIETY by Meghan Maugeri

GATED by Arlene Hutton

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.