Applications sought for third annual playwright competition

Published 8:00 am Thursday, November 5, 2015

Young writers who have a son…err, play, in their hearts are encouraged to let it out — as they may earn some cash for their efforts.

The Beckwith Theatre Company and Dogwood Fines Arts Festival are currently accepting submissions for the third annual Emerging Playwright Award, which will again be held in conjunction with the Dowagiac festival in May. Playwrights living in Michigan or Indiana will again have the opportunity to have their works read on stage at the local community theater during the competition, as well the chance to win more than $2,000 worth of prize money in the process.

The pot of prize money has again been raised from last year, with the top play writer receiving $1,500; second place receiving $500 and third receiving $250.

This is the third year that organizers with Beckwith and Dogwood have assembled to put on the competition, said festival secretary Bobby Jo Hartline.

“I can’t wait until the scripts start to come in,” Hartline said. “It’s a lot of fun to hear from the writers that send scripts in.”

The rules are as follows:

1. Contest is restricted to plays written in the English language.

2. Playwrights from the ages of 18 to 30 may apply.

3. Applicants are limited to playwrights living or studying in Michigan and Indiana only.

4. Submissions must be original, unpublished, full-length plays. Adaptations, translations, musicals, one acts, and children’s plays will not be accepted. Emerging Playwright Awards are intended to support emerging playwrights. Playwrights may win the competition only once.

5. Entries should be in a standard play format and Times Roman 12 pt. font. 6. Playwrights may submit only one manuscript per year.

7. Plays that have been professionally produced or published are not eligible. Plays that have had a workshop, reading, non-professional production or that have been published as an actor’s edition will be considered.

8. Plays may not be under option or scheduled for professional production or publication at the time of submission.

9. The manuscript must begin with a title page, list of characters and a list of acts and scenes. Plays must be typed/word-processed and page-numbered.

9. Omit your name and contact information from your manuscript.

10. The Emerging Playwright Award reserves the right to reject any manuscript for any reason.

11. For 12 consecutive months after award, the winning script must be acknowledged in future press as Winner of the Dogwood/Beckwith Emerging Playwright Award.

12. Applications may be submitted in PDF form by email at or by hard copy to Dowagiac Dogwood Fine Arts Festival, Emerging Playwright Award, PO Box 526, Dowagiac, MI 49047.

A panel of three judges will evaluate the initial batch of entries, narrowing the field down to 10. From there, five judges will choose the top three manuscripts, which will be read on stage at Beckwith on April 15, 16 and 17.

Using input from the judges and members of the audience at these three readings, the competition will pick out the winning play, which will be read again onstage during the Dogwood Festival, on May 9.

Submissions are open from now until Feb. 1.

“We know there are creative stories in your head,” Hartline said. “Put one down in paper and give it a voice. Who knows — you might get a check for it.”

For more information, contact the Dogwood office at (269) 782-1115.