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Notre Dame Performing Arts New Play Festival

Deadline: July 15
Award: $500, staged production
Fee: None

Notre Dame College Performing Arts will host its annual National Playwriting Festival in November 2020, showcasing unproduced plays and musicals for young adults and children.

A national search has begun, looking for the best and most promising theatrical works relevant to young audiences today. The two-day festival will consist of 3-5 staged readings of previously unseen theatrical works, and will take place in the Regina Auditorium on the Notre Dame College campus.

A winner will be chosen through committee/audience voting and will receive a $500 prize, as well as the opportunity to present fully-staged production during the subsequent NDC Spring Semester.

The winner of the 2019 Notre Dame Performing Arts New Play Festival, “MIDNITE” by Rory Leahy and Rena Hardy, received its world premiere production February 2020.

Beginning March 15 of each year, the Notre Dame College New Play Festival will begin taking digital-copy submissions of new plays and musicals. The Director of Theatre will ensure the submitted materials follow specified criteria (see below) and will pass the play to 7-person panel who will judge the merits of each work.

All playwrights will be notified of the status of their submission in September and promotion about the chosen material will begin thereafter.

The festival will take place in late November.

The productions will be showcased in a reader’s theatre format open to the public. The winner will be chosen by the selection panel, with consideration given to an audience vote, and announced at a reception upon conclusion of the festival.

The winner of each season’s new Playwriting Festival will receive a fully-developed and produced show as part of the NDC Spring Semester.

A cash prize of $500 will be awarded to the winner dependent upon funding.


  • There is no submission fee for the Notre Dame College New Play Festival
  • Submission deadline is July 15 of each year. Scripts received after that date will be considered the following year.
  • 3-5 finalists will be selected on October 1 of that year and their names will be posted to the Notre Dame College website and social media platforms at that time.
  • Must be a full-length play/musical for children or young adults without a prior production
  • A brief synopsis must be sent together with a complete digital manuscript. Submission must include a contact phone number and e-mail address on the play’s title page. No hard-copy submissions will be accepted.
  • The play must be at least 1 hour and no longer than 90 minutes.
  • The play must be appropriate for audiences of all ages.
  • Dramas, comedies and farces (with or without music) are welcome.
  • Only ONE work per author may be submitted each year.
  • Cast size limited to no less than 4 or more than 22.
  • The plays selected will be acted by our student actors with a mix of regional artists where necessary. Plays that can be effectively cast within our market will be considered favorably.
  • Playwrights who are questioning whether or not their play is a good match for the Notre Dame New Play Festival are strongly encouraged to contact Director of Theatre Pierre Brault at before submitting.
  • All plays that are not selected for the festival will be held on file for 2 years.
  • All qualifying submissions will be read by five to seven readers.

Be advised that the following are not considered qualifying submissions:

Screenplays submitted as theatrical plays

Plays with excessive profanity or violence or are inappropriate for youth audience members

Notre Dame College 2020 New Play Festival Timeline

October 15 – Finalists announced

November – Annual Notre Dame New Play Festival

Length: 60-90 minutes

Cast Size: 4–24

Age Appropriateness: all ages

Unproduced Work Only?: Yes