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This one-act play playwriting competition was designed for Colorado high school students to nurture young writers, develop new plays and inspire creativity through playwriting.

Submissions are judged blindly by DCPA artistic, literary and educational professionals. From a talented pool of entrants, we choose 10 semifinalists, then three finalists who each receive a cash scholarship of $250 and have their plays read at the annual Colorado New Play Summit in February. In addition, each teacher of the three finalists receives a $250 gift certificate for books, supplies or other teaching tools for their classrooms. One play is selected for full production in the summer by the Education department — written, cast with and produced by teens. Finalists/winner will be part of rehearsal process.

The 2017 High School Playwriting Top Four Finalists Reading will be held at the Robert and Judi Newman Center for Theatre Education on Saturday, Feb 25 at 8pm. To attend the reading please RSVP here:

Generously sponsored by Robert and Judi Newman/Newman Family Foundation with matching gifts from an Anonymous donor, The Ross Foundation, June Travis, U.S. Bank and Transamerica.

The semi-finalists and finalists for the 2016/17 Playwriting Competition

Finalists (alphabetical by play title)

The Boy on the Tree by Jasmin Hernandez, Vista Peak Preparatory

Chill Winds by Jessica Wood, Denver Christian School

Counting In Clay by Parker Bennett, Fossil Ridge High School

Spilt Lava by Ryan McCormick, Fort Collins High School


As We Know It by Corinna Donovan and Walker Carroll, Crested Butte Community School

The Boy on the Tree by Jasmin Hernandez, Vista Peak Preparatory

Chill Winds by Jessica Wood, Denver Christian School

Counting in Clay by Parker Bennett, Fossil Ridge High School

Dr. Grumpy Pants by Daniela Villalobos Payan, York International

Imaginary Friends by Abby Meyer and Nic Rhodes, Fossil Ridge High School

The Mistress of Stories by Amelia Middlebrooks, Valor Christian High School

The Sincerest Form of Flattery by Samantha Shapard, Overland High School

Spilt Lava by Ryan McCormick, Fort Collins High School

Waiting by Sarah Shapard, Overland High School

Playwriting Competition FAQs

  • How should I format my play?

  • What is the difference between a screenplay and a play?

  • Can I submit an adaptation?

  • What kind of subject material are you looking for?

  • How many pages can I write?

  • Should I write my name on my manuscript?

Colorado high school drama and language arts teachers can sign up for a free 60-minute playwriting workshop that introduces students to the fundamentals of writing a one-act play. Workshops are taught by industry professionals and are an excellent way to engage students’ interest in the competition and teach them about playwriting and the theatre simultaneously. Schools can book up to 10 workshops. Teachers can book up to five consecutive workshops in a day. Class limit: 35 students per workshop. Subject to availability.

Free workshops available seasonally September-November.

Contact us: 303.446.4824

Past Playwriting Competitions

  • 2013/14 Playwriting Competition

  • 2014/15 Playwriting Competition

  • 2015/16 Playwriting Competition

Submissions must:
  • be an original, unpublished, one-act play.
  • be previously unproduced.
  • be limited to no more than 35 pages.
  • be typed in standard play-style format, 12 point Times New Roman font and page numbered.
  • be submitted online or postmarked no later than Dec 1, 2016.

Submissions must not:

  • be a translation or excerpt.
  • have the playwright’s name anywhere on the manuscript.

Submissions are read blindly. Students submitting online enter contact information on their profile separately from their manuscript. If submitting by mail, please include all of your contact information on a separate sheet of paper.

Playwrights must:

  • be currently enrolled in a Colorado high school or home school.
  • limit submissions to one entry per year.

No revisions will be accepted after submission. Do not send your only copy. Manuscripts will not be returned. No submission fee.

Preferred method:

Alternate method:

   Playwriting Competition
   1101 13th St., Denver, CO 80204

QUESTIONS? Contact us at 303.446.4850

"It doesn’t appear that arts education will ever escape the need for support from the private sector…it’s a need that is not going away. It is very important to us that we can identify how funds will be used, and that they will provide an opportunity for some unknown kids to have a hell of a good time." — Carole & Robert Slosky