Young writers with disabilities (generally, ages 14-19) enrolled in high school are invited to submit a 'ten-minute script'. Entries may be the work of an individual student or a collaboration of two students that includes at least one student with a disability. A panel of theater professionals selects division winners.
Writers are encouraged to craft short (10 minute) works from their own experiences and observations through the creation of fictional characters and settings, writing realistically, metaphorically or abstractly about any topic, including the disability experience.
Writers must be enrolled in high school (generally, ages 14-19) and must have a disability. Please read the eligibility for participation.
Multiple winners will receive exclusive access to participate in professional development activities provided by the Kennedy Center. Winners will work with industry professionals in further development of their own script, as well as participating in networking opportunities.
To be eligible to enter the VSA Playwright Discovery Program applicants must meet the following criteria:
- The competition is open to U.S. and international applicants. However, all pieces must be submitted in English or ASL; pieces submitted in other languages will not be accepted.
- Can be either an individual or co-author. Co-authorships of up to two students are accepted, but both authors must fulfill eligibility requirements and at least one must be a student with a disability. Co-authors do not have to be in the same grade level. The application must include information for both authors.
- Entrants must be a student with a disability or a co-authorship that includes a student with a disability.
- Authors must be students enrolled in senior high school (generally, ages 14-19) on Wednesday, January 4, 2023 in order to apply.
- Previous applicants are eligible to reapply in subsequent years until they win or age out of the competition. Any applicant may win only once.
- Winners must be present for the VSA Playwright Discovery Program professional development events (virtual dates TBD, in-person dates April 19-23, 2023) in order to be eligible for the award.
If selected as a finalist, applicants are required to provide proof of age and disability, and must be willing to publicly disclose that they have a disability for all materials and public appearances associated with the VSA Playwright Discovery Program.
An advisory panel of distinguished professionals and educators will assist with the selection process.
- All applications must be submitted through the online application form.
- Provide a synopsis of your script (up to 250 words) in the provided text box.
- To request application materials in a different format, please email email@example.com
- Pieces must be submitted in English or ASL; pieces submitted in other languages will not be accepted.
- All entries that are scripts must be in the ten-minute play format. A ten-minute play is a play with at least two characters. It is not a scene, skit, or sketch. Structurally, it should have a beginning, middle, and end, just as any good one-act or full-length play. Since we only have ten minutes to bring the story full circle, a dramatic conflict should be posed as quickly as possible. The resolution of that conflict is what plays out across the remaining pages. The true success of a ten-minute play is reliant on the writer’s ability to bring an audience through the same cathartic/entertaining experience that a good one-act or full-length play accomplishes. Ten-minutes means eight or nine pages, but certainly no more than ten pages. Read your play out loud to see how long it takes.
- Pieces may be submitted as written scripts, video, or audio files (if applicable).
- Authors may submit only one script, whether under their name, a pseudonym, or as a co-author.
- Entries must be original, unproduced, and unpublished at the time of submission. Pieces with previous readings or workshops are acceptable, as long as they were not produced for a paying audience and have not been publicly reviewed.
- If an entry includes any material that is copyrighted or otherwise owned or controlled by someone other than the authors (including but not limited to, poetry, music and/or lyrics, characters originally created by others in any medium, and/or stories based on real people and/or other people’s lives) the author must provide proof of written permission to include such material in the script.