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2024 Staged Reading Contest Rules

Drake University Theatre seeks new, original plays by local playwrights as part of the 2024 Neighborhood Playwrights Series. Entries will be read by a committee of Drake Theatre students and faculty. The writer of the winning entry for this year’s Series will receive a prize of $500 and have their work produced as a public reading for two performances as part of Drake Theatre’s Main Stage Season.

Rules for entry are as follows - please read carefully:

o Playwrights must reside within 40 miles of downtown Des Moines. Eligibility extends to Drake students, staff and alumni as well as any member of the Des Moines metropolitan community. Current Drake faculty, however, are ineligible to participate.

o The winning entry will be:

§ A full-length play only (one hour or more reading/production time). Musicals will not be accepted.

§ Conducive to a Reader’s Theatre style production.

§ Any style/genre (comedy, tragedy, farce, docu-drama, etc.)

§ Wholly original work on the part of the playwright (i.e. no translations or adaptations of existing plays, movies or television programs). Use of any AI program or service is strictly prohibited.

§ A play that embraces a variety of characters. There are no restrictions on the type or number, with the understanding that the work will be performed by Drake Theatre students.

All attempts will be made in casting to preserve the integrity and representation of characters as written, but compromises may be necessary.

o Criteria for submissions:

§ One play only, please.

§ Your play must be submitted attached to an e-mail. The body of that e-mail must contain current contact information for the playwright (i.e. name, address, phone number, e-mail address).

§ The attached play must be formatted as either a .pdf or .docx file and must have all references to the playwright (i.e. name, contact info, etc.) removed. Only the title of the play itself should be visible on the attached manuscript. This is so that the selection committee can judge each play anonymously based solely on the merits of the work.

§ The e-mail, with the play attached, should be sent to Michael Rothmayer: Print/hard copies will not be accepted.

o Participation opportunities for the winning writer:

§ The winning playwright will have the option (if they choose) of attending any rehearsal during the first week of the rehearsal period. During this period, they will have the opportunity to make any relevant changes to their text they wish to make.

§ Playwrights will also have the option (if they choose) of attending one (or both) of the performances of their play and participate in a talk-back session immediately following the reading to receive feedback from actors, director and audience.

§ Participation in these opportunities is not mandatory.

Please note that if your work is selected you are giving Drake University Department of Theatre Arts permission to rehearse and perform two public readings of your play, free from royalty restrictions.

The deadline for submissions is Friday, March 8th, 2024.

The winning entry will be announced on or before Monday, June 3rd, 2024.

Rehearsals will begin Monday, August 26th, 2024 with performances on Friday, September 13th and Saturday, September 14th, 2024.

If you have any questions, you can e-mail Michael Rothmayer at the address listed above, or contact Jacob Lemons, Administrative Assistant for the Department of Theatre Arts at (515) 271-2018 or

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