Worldwide Plays Festival Competition 2020

Immersive Theater

We invite playwrights in grades 1 through 12 around the world to submit their plays to the Worldwide Plays Festival Competition. All plays will be read by working theater professionals. Winning playwrights receive scholarship awards and will have their work produced at an off-Broadway theater by New York City theater professionals.

This Year’s Theme:

Heroes and Monsters: PLAYS AGAINST FEAR

Now in our 11th Season of the Writopia Lab Worldwide Plays Festival, we challenge our playwrights to write towards the monsters — be they internal, external, systemic, real or imaginary — and vanquish them. A monster can be a voice inside your head that tells you something negative about yourself, the bully at school, a negative feeling that pervades the air inside your home or neighborhood, the politician on TV, the pollution in the water, or a made-up creature causing havoc. In these 9-minute plays, we also want to challenge our playwrights to understand the monsters as well as the heroes, unpacking the fear that creeps at the edges. What does this ‘monster’ really want, and why? What do I learn by trying to understand them?

A Note on the Setting

Your play can take place anywhere! We encourage your play to take place in one location over a sustained period of time.

Come production time, we will be building these “anywheres” out of wooden chairs and wooden cubes, so the words coming out of your characters mouths will be what helps the actors and audience imagine the setting in its entirety.

For example:

SHEILA and GREG are in a snowfilled cavern in the North Pole.


I want to go home! It is so cold in here, I think my nose is going to fall off!



But it’s so sparkley. Isn’t it?


But Greg, I’m freezing! Can we go home?


Let’s just stay here for one more minute. Smell that? Smells like snow!


That’s because it IS snow!

Remember that it takes time for the audience and the characters to imagine the space together, which is why so many wonderful short plays take place in the same location for the entirety of the play.

But if you are going to change locations or jump forward or backward in time within a short play, do so only if it’s completely neccesasry to the story, and remember to build the setting with your words, so that we can all go along for the ride.


Who can submit?

The competition is open to playwrights in 1st through 12th grade around the world. There are two different categories of competition: internal and external.

Entering the Competition

Current Writopia Workshoppers

If you are currently enrolled in a Writopia workshop, please do not submit your play to the competition. Your workshop instructor will help you submit your play.

All Other Playwrights

You can submit your play by filling out the online form and sending a PDF of your play to Judging is completely blind, so please make sure that your name and contact information do NOT appear in your submission document.

Due Date

Submissions will be accepted through February 3rd.


Plays must be no more than eight minutes long (this is roughly eight pages, but all plays must be nine minutes or shorter, no matter the page count).


Plays must use a maximum of 3 actors.


Plays can be any genre — comedy, drama, horror, polemic, tragedy, historical, docu-drama, solo-play, interactive, sci-fi, musical, or any other you dream up.

Number of Submissions

Writers may submit more than one piece.


While there is no standard playwriting format, we encourage you to use Writopia Lab’s Playwriting Format, which you can find online here.


There can be NO narrator in the play who is not emotionally invested in the story (i.e. Ramona can tell her story to the audience, but an unnamed narrator cannot tell the audience the story of Ramona)

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