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Pittsburgh Public Theater Announces 2021-2022 New Play Contest Submissions Now Being Accepted


This season's competition is once again open to writers based in Pennsylvania, Ohio, or West Virginia.

Pittsburgh Public Theater has announced the second year of The Public's New Play Contest. The inaugural year of the contest kicked off in 2020 during the pause of in-person programming at the O'Reilly Theater and the premiere of the Public PlayTime Classics N'at series. The winning play, When We Fall by Emma Gibson, debuted as the Series finale in June of 2020. This season's competition is once again open to writers based in Pennsylvania, Ohio, or West Virginia. The winning playwright will receive a $500 honorarium, and their play will be staged as a digital reading in the Public Playtime online series in June of 2022.

"Pittsburgh Public Theater's new play competition in 2020/2021 was the highlight of a challenging year. When I was contacted by The Public to tell me that I had won the competition, I was euphoric. To have this validation of my work at a time when there was little else going on, was affirming and inspiring. Working with the creative team at The Public as we rehearsed a fully realized zoom recording of the play was deeply satisfying and rewarding. To be able to do all this work on my play, whilst being supported and inspired by so many truly professional Artists has changed the way that I present my work."

- Emma Gibson, Winner of Pittsburgh Public Theater's Inaugural New Play Contest

"This region has long been home to dozens of prolific writers and great dramatists - George Kaufmann, Adrienne Rich, of course August Wilson, to name just a few. At Pittsburgh Public Theater, we want to build upon that legacy by recognizing and investing in the next generation of gifted storytellers in our midst. Last year, our inaugural new play contest introduced us to smart, emerging writers from across Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia, and connected us with Philadelphia playwright Emma Gibson whose brisk, funny, deeply moving play When We Fall touched audiences as the final reading of our digital season in 20/21," shared Public Artistic Director, Marya Sea Kaminski. "This year, we look forward to reading more pages from more playwrights, and continuing to build a path for writers to deepen their work while connecting with the audiences and artists that make up our great theater community in Pittsburgh."

Script submissions will be accepted beginning Friday October 15, 2021. To enter, playwrights should click HERE and complete the online submission form by Wednesday December 15, 2021 at 11:59pm ET. Late submissions or multiple submissions will not be considered.

Submission Guidelines:

· Runtime of 60-120 minutes

· No more than 10 actors

· Not yet received a fully staged physical or digital production

· English should be the primary language

· Musicals will not be accepted

Playwrights of all cultural, racial, and gender identities, and of all abilities are encouraged to submit. Please click HERE to learn more about our theater's ongoing work to promote anti-racism on and off our stage and HERE to read our Land Acknowledgement.

The full text of each submitted play will be adjudicated by a cohort of local readers over three rounds. The criteria for evaluation will include use of theme, effectiveness of plot structure, clarity of playwright's perspective, character development, as well as overall impact of the work. Writers whose plays advance to the Final Round will be notified in February 2022, and will have the option of receiving feedback from the members of Pittsburgh Public Theater's Writers Workshop, who will comprise the final panel of readers. The winning play will be announced in March 2022, and that play will be presented as a part of the online Public Playtime series in June 2022. For details or questions, email

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