Playwrights 2017-08-17T13:37:36+00:00

The Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival’s National Playwriting Program (NPP) seeks to identify student playwrights whose work is creative, dynamic, and above all promising.  NPP’s central mission is to develop young playwrights and their work at Region 2’s January Festival.  Playwrights who are chosen receive a 1) concert reading of their work and 2) feedback that can lead to subsequent development.  Both of these are achieved through the support of the NPP’s team of professional writers, directors, and dramaturgs, who bring their expertise to festival every year.  Region 2‘s NPP goals for Festival are the following:

  1. The student playwright will see the potential in his/her own work, presented before an informed and supportive audience;
  2. The student will develop his/her creative vision with the guidance of talented professionals in the field and receive sensitive and thought-provoking feedback that will help the writer further sculpt the work;
  3. The student will learn and practice the process and etiquette of new play development.

NPP exists for you the playwright and your development as a dramatist: it exists so that you can have your voice heard.  Take advantage of the many opportunities NPP offers to both undergraduate and graduate playwrights. Remember that the more you write, the better your chances of developing your voice and making an impact on the theatre.  To that end, we invite you to join us in our passion: the development of new plays.

We look forward to meeting you at Region 2’s Festival from January 3-7, 2017, at Montclair University in Montclair, NJ


Festival 49 is an opportunity for you the playwright to hear your play in a formal concert reading before a knowledgeable audience.  Yes, there are award opportunities, but what you playwrights can take from the reading process is 1) a clearer understanding of your work, 2) a chance to hear professional playwrights talk about your work, and 3) a shared sense of community that develops among the writers, actors and, directors over the five intensive days of development. You will meet and work with faculty and students from around the region. You will have your play responded to by professionals from across the county. And hundreds of people will celebrate your play.

A concert reading is a reading of your script with actors using music stands. Actors are allowed to have one entrance and exit and to stand or sit, but no other blocking (no crossing to answer a telephone, for instance) is permitted. With script in hand or on the music stand, the actors and directors are able to focus on the text so that you, the writer, can hear what appears on the page. All NPP scripts are given their concert reading at the end of the festival week.  NPP follows the Actors’ Equity Staged Reading Guidelines, which are the same rules followed by the KCACTF National Festival in Washington, DC, each spring.

Casting for your play is done on the second day of Festival, during which time you and your director see about 130 actors audition with your work; you cast your play from that group.

Rehearsals are built into NPP’s festival schedule.  Writers and directors are expected to stick to the rehearsal hours scheduled for each play. Each NPP play is assigned a designated rehearsal space.

Awards are based on the text itself, not on the readings that take place at Festival. No award is decided after the scripts receive the public concert reading. The respondents (from outside of the region are not affiliated with a Region 2 school) plus a professional reader from outside of Region 2 (a total of three people) will select the award winners. All winners are announced at Festival’s closing ceremonies.

SELECTION PROCESS FOR 10-Minute and One-Act Plays

All scripts are read by at least three readers from outside Region 2, who read all scripts blind; that is, without knowing the writer’s name, university, or other contact information. The readers then rank the plays and send the results to the Regional Chair, who extends invitations to the selected writers around December 10.  Writers who are selected are given director contact information by December 23.


Region 2 of the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival is pleased to sponsor a series of playwriting awards and readings for new 10-minute, one-act plays, and full-length plays.

Regional Festival 49: Every year Region 2 invites a number of 10-minute, one-act and sometimes a full-length play to be performed in concert readings at its Regional Festival. Two 10-minute and two one-act plays will then be selected as National Semi-finalists to be considered for an invitation to the National Festival in Washington, D.C. in April. To be considered for the David Mark Cohen and National Student Playwriting Awards, the plays must be Participating Entries, which means in part that they must be produced on some level in association with your college or university.

A playwright who has been graduated is still eligible to submit his/her work during the 12 months after the date of graduation or if his/her plays is entered as a participating production within 24 months of said graduation.

Play scripts may be submitted to Region 2 between October 1-November 1, 2016.  For submission guidelines refer to KCACTF’s national website at and click on Kanin Playwriting.

Festival 49 runs from Tuesday, January 3, through Saturday, January 7, 2017 at Montclair University, Montclair, NJ

John Gresh
John GreshCo-Chairs: National Playwriting Program
Slippery Rock University
Laura Smiley
Laura SmileyCo-Chairs: National Playwriting Program
Slippery Rock University