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Playwriting Contest Status Update

In case you’ve been wondering or had any doubts, rest assured that our 2020 playwriting contest will proceed as planned, with the same deadlines (April 23 for the regular contest, May 22 for the school categories). It’s too early to say whether or how the pandemic might affect this summer’s NotaBle Acts Summer Theatre Festival, but the contest will operate as per normal and we’re confident there will be a festival this summer, even if it ends up looking a bit different than usual. But let’s keep our collective fingers crossed, stay home (and write those plays! Shakespeare and King Lear and all that!) and hope for the best. Looking forward to receiving a bumper crop of pandemic-and non-pandemic-inspired plays in a month’s time!

Full contest rules and details below, or click the button above.

Photo from Jake Martin’s post-apocalyptic one act Wasters (2016)waster donovan

NotaBle Acts 2020 Playwriting Competition Now Open!

It’s that time of year again! The NotaBle Acts Theatre Company is seeking submissions for our nineteenth annual province-wide playwriting competition. Contest winners will have their work featured as part of the 2020 NotaBle Acts Summer Theatre Festival, to be held in Fredericton, July 22nd- August 1st.

New Brunswick playwrights have the opportunity to submit work in three categories, one for 15-30 minute site-specific plays, one for 7-10 minute short plays and another for 30-60 minute one-act plays. Two additional categories of the contest are specifically for young playwrights in New Brunswick Middle and High schools.

Winning playwrights will receive a cash prize and script mentoring from a professional playwright.

Read on below or click on the button above to view the contest rules and guidelines, as well as instructions on how to submit.

Please note that we have made some exciting changes to our call for Site-Specific scripts this year!

Questions about the contest can be directed to lfalken@unb.ca or (506) 458-7406. The deadline for the main contest is April 23rd, 2020. The Middle and High and school contest closes on May 22nd.

NotaBle Acts 2020 Playwriting Competition

Rules and Regulations

As part of its commitment to developing home-grown theatre in New Brunswick, The NotaBle Acts Theatre Company is sponsoring its nineteenth annual province-wide English-language playwriting competition. Contest winners will have their work featured as part of our 2020 festival, July 22nd – August 1st, in Fredericton, NB.

This year’s competition features five categories: Taking it to the Streets, Acting Out, our Site-Specific Series, and our Middle School and High School Playwriting Competitions. It is permissible for eligible writers to submit a maximum of one play per category. Please read and follow the detailed regulations for each category below.

This contest is open to all current residents of New Brunswick. All plays will be blind-juried (names of writers will not be known to the jurors and jurors names will not be released prior to completion of the competition) and winners will be selected and notified within 2 months of the competition deadline. The NotaBle Acts Theatre Company reserves the right to award fewer than the maximum number of prizes allotted in each category should jury members feel that the quality of submissions does not meet a minimum standard or that the festival would not be able to stage certain submitted scripts for logistical, financial, or legal reasons.

A Note on Full Length Play Submissions

Extra to our call for contest plays, please note that NotaBle Acts is happy to receive submissions of full length plays by New Brunswick playwrights at any time for consideration for mainstage productions. Full length submissions can include works in any genre, including theatre for young audiences and musicals. Main stage submissions should be made to the same email as contest plays.

Contest submission format:

Submissions can be sent by surface mail (preferred) or email. Each submission must be accompanied by one (1) cover sheet indicating the following:

-name of playwright

-full contact information (surface mail, email, and phone number)

-title of each play

-the category (Taking it to the Street, Acting Out, Site-Specific, Middle School, or High School) to which it is being submitted.

The play(s) should contain no reference to the name of the playwright (please be sure to not include names in headers or footers or on the title page). The first page of the play should provide the title, and a cast list. Subsequent pages should have the title of the play (only) at the top of each page and pages should be numbered.

How to submit:

Surface Mail (Preferred)

Three hard copies of each play (accompanied by one cover sheet) should be submitted to:

The NotaBle Acts Theatre Company

717 Aberdeen Street

Fredericton, NB, E3B 1S7

Email

Send your cover sheet and each script as a separate document to nbacts@unb.ca.

Documents should be titled in the following format:

Cover Sheet: FirstAndLastName_CoverSheet/PlayTitle.extension

Play: FirstAndLastName_/PlayTitle.extension

Documents should be in .doc, .docx, or .pdf format.

Contest deadline (Taking it to the Streets, Acting Out and Site-Specific Series): April 23rd, 2020 (Shakespeare’s Birthday). Entries must be received or postmarked no later than this date.

Questions about the contest can be directed to company Artistic Director Len Falkenstein at lfalken@unb.ca or (506) 458-7406.

Taking it to the Streets

Taking it to the Streets is our festival’s way of bringing short new plays by New Brunswickers to outdoor, public venues in downtown Fredericton. This category for 10-minute scripts is a great way to try your hand at playwriting if you’re new to it! The winning plays will be produced during the daytime free of charge in the heart of the city.

Maximum # of winners to be selected: 4

Each winning playwright will receive:

  • $125 cash prize
  • Script support (dramaturgy) from an experienced and established Canadian playwright.
  • Active involvement in the production process (mandatory–see note below)*
  • Production of the play at the 2020 summer festival

Length of plays: 7-10 minutes maximum

Maximum # of actors: 4

Staging comments: All plays must be suited to outdoor daytime performance: props and staging must be simple, such that the stage can be set up or struck in one minute or less. Lighting cues will not be possible, but sound cues and music are permissible. Because performances will be free and the venue open to all passersby, the plays must be suitable for all ages (limiting allowable language and content).

Playwrights are encouraged to take the particular staging realities of outdoor theatre into consideration when writing scripts for Taking it to the Streets. Works that demand a high degree of realism and subtlety in performance style, for example, are not always best suited to outdoor conditions. Similarly, scripts that call for multiple scenes and locations are also not best suited for our simple staging conditions.

As part of their editing process before submitting, playwrights are strongly encouraged to time their plays by reading them out loud at the pace they expect them to be performed, allowing pauses where appropriate and for necessary stage action, to ensure their scripts fall within the ten minute maximum allowed time.

Site-Specific Series

Our Site-Specific Series, Street Scenes, stages new plays that are written about and staged at unique locations in downtown Fredericton. Typically we will select 2-3 scripts to be produced, with the plays staged back to back and the audience moving between locations to watch each show. Playwrights are encouraged to investigate a space they are interested in and tell a story that is uniquely suitable to and/or about that place. Scripts will be judged for both their content and the creativity brought to their use of location. While not feeling bound by them, playwrights should take into consideration challenges involved in their choice of location (ie. noise, sufficient space and adequate sightlines for audience members, etc.) and NotaBle Acts advises some worthy scripts may not be possible to stage or may need to be modified due to technical, safety, or legal concerns.

NEW for this year, NotaBle Acts has been given preapproval to stage site-specific scripts for Street Scenes at a select number of indoor spaces, and therefore encourages submissions set in these locations:

  • Bellwether Thrift and Consignment Store, 384 Queen St.
  • The Cap bar 362 Queen St.
  • Jungle House Dance Company, 82 Regent St.

In addition, playwrights may consider outdoor locations that are freely accessible to the public, such as (but not limited to) the following

  • The Green
  • The Sculpture Garden beside the Beaverbrook Art Gallery
  • Parking lots in the downtown core

Maximum # of winners to be selected: 3

Each winning playwright will receive:

  • $150 prize
  • Script support (dramaturgy) from an experienced and established Canadian playwright.
  • Active involvement in the production process (mandatory—see note below)*
  • Production of the play at the 2020 summer festival: this includes venue space, publicity, director, actors, and technical support

Length of plays: 15 minutes minimum to 30 minutes maximum

Maximum # of actors: 3

Additonal Staging Notes: Submitted scripts may indicate some flexibility in terms of performance location or be adaptable for different locations, but ultimately the work should “use” the location in an artistically interesting way and be “about” that place in some way. Since the feasibility of certain locations may not be knowable until various issues can be investigated, our play choices for this category may not be determined until after other contest winners are announced.

Plays for Street Scenes will need to be simple in terms of staging requirements, relying on minimal technical support. Any works proposed for busy public locations must be suitable for all ages (limiting allowable language and content).

Acting Out

Acting Out builds on the festival’s mandate to develop promising new English-language playwrights in the province. This competition seeks one-act plays to be presented at the festival as workshop productions.

Maximum # of winners to be selected: 2

Each winning playwright will receive:

  • $300 cash prize
  • Script support (dramaturgy) from an experienced and established Canadian playwright.
  • Active involvement in the production process (mandatory—see note below)*
  • A workshop production of the play at the 2020 summer festival

*Note: Up to 4 runners-up may be selected from scripts submitted to this category to receive public readings as part of this year’s festival lineup.

Length of plays: 30-60 minutes

Maximum # of actors: 4

Staging Comments: The winning plays will be presented as workshop productions, part of the festival’s main stage offerings. The winners will be featured as a double-bill, with each show being presented in a single evening of theatre with the other winner. Accordingly, required staging for the plays should be relatively simple and take into account the need for quick set-up and strike. Keep in mind that many rehearsals will take place in alternate spaces, and not only in the venue where the plays will be performed, meaning that the plays must not be overly dependent upon venue. Also keep in mind that technical requirements for set, sound, and lighting design should be kept minimal and flexible.

* In the case of every play chosen for presentation at the festival, it is essential that winning playwrights be accessible in May and June for early revisions and able to attend at least some rehearsals in Fredericton in July, and able to attend the festival to see their play produced. Playwrights need not be in Fredericton or the province for this entire time period but should be accessible via phone or email when they are not.

Middle School Competition

NotaBle Acts is proud to reach out to our province’s youngest aspiring writers through our playwriting competition for students in New Brunswick Middle Schools.

Maximum # of winners to be selected: 2

Each winning playwright will receive:

  • $100 cash prize
  • Free tickets to the 2020 NotaBle Acts Summer Theatre Festival
  • Script support (dramaturgy) from an established Canadian playwright
  • Active involvement in the production process
  • A public reading of your play at the 2020 summer festival

Length of plays: 5-15 minutes

Maximum # of actors: 4

Script Guidelines: The content in the winning plays must be school appropriate and cannot feature any copyrighted material such as full songs, etc. Set and lighting demands should be simple. Plays can be on any topic and in any style.

* To be eligible to win the contest, playwrights be available to attend the theatre festival, July 22-August 1 in Fredericton. 

Deadline and submission procedures:

See below following High School contest details.

High School Competition

This category is open to New Brunswick high school student playwrights.

Maximum # of winners to be selected: 2

Each winning playwright will receive:

  • $100 cast prize
  • Free tickets to the 2020 NotaBle Acts Summer Theatre Festival
  • Script support (dramaturgy) from an established Canadian playwright
  • Active involvement in the production process
  • A public reading of your play at the 2020 summer festival.

Length of plays: 10-30 minutes

Maximum # of actors: 4

Script Guidelines: The content in the winning plays must be school appropriate and cannot feature any copyrighted material such as full songs, etc. Set and lighting demands should be simple. Plays can be on any topic and in any style.

* To be eligible to win the contest, playwrights be available to attend the theatre festival, July 22-August 1 in Fredericton. 

Contest submission format:

Submissions can be sent by surface mail (preferred) or email. Each submission must be accompanied by one (1) cover sheet indicating the following:

-name of playwright

-full contact information (surface mail, email, and phone number)

-title of each play

-the category (Taking it to the Street, Acting Out, Site-Specific, Middle School, or High School) to which it is being submitted.

The play(s) should contain no reference to the name of the playwright (please be sure to not include names in headers or footers or on the title page). The first page of the play should provide the title, and a cast list. Subsequent pages should have the title of the play (only) at the top of each page and pages should be numbered.

Deadline and submission procedures for Middle and High School Contests:

Surface Mail (Preferred)

Three hard copies of each play (accompanied by one cover sheet) should be submitted to:

The NotaBle Acts Theatre Company

717 Aberdeen Street

Fredericton, NB, E3B 1S7

Email

Send your cover sheet and each script as a separate document to nbacts@unb.ca.

Documents should be titled in the following format:

Cover Sheet: FirstAndLastName_CoverSheet/PlayTitle.extension

Play: FirstAndLastName_/PlayTitle.extension

Documents should be in .doc, .docx, or .pdf format.

Contest deadline (Middle and High School Contests): May 22, 2020. Entries must be received or postmarked no later than this date.

Questions about the contest can be directed to company Artistic Director Len Falkenstein at lfalken@unb.ca or (506) 458-7406.