2020 Playwriting Competition Series

Already know what this is all about?  Click here to jump to this week’s challenge.  Or click the appropriate link to see the past challenges, winners, and their entries:


The COVID-19 pandemic is stressful for everyone, but especially for those whose livelihood have been directly impacted by the constraints of social distancing.  One such sector is the performing arts.

While ICRL is a small organization, we want to help to the extent that we can, and are establishing the 2020 Playwriting Competition Series to put a little extra money in the hands of the actors and playwrights who have been impacted.

Here’s how it works:

By each Sunday at noon (all times are east coast U.S.A. times), although earlier whenever possible, we will post a new writing challenge based on a topic inspired by one of our ICRL Press titles.  Playwrights will have until the following Wednesday to create a short play, up to 10 minutes in length, based on that challenge.  All plays submitted by 9:00 pm on that Wednesday will be judged, with a single winner selected by Friday.  Specific expectations for play formatting and file naming are provided with the week’s challenge.

The winning play will be read by a cast of actors, with the reading recorded and posted online.  The playwright and actors will each receive equal shares of a pot of money.

ICRL will start each pot of money with $100.  Also, all donations made to ICRL (that are not explicitly earmarked by the donor for other uses, e.g. scholarship or research support) during that week will be added to the pot.  Further, for the first $100 of donations made, ICRL will match those funds – so in any week, we will contribute between $100 and $200 directly, as well as all tax-deductible donations made to our organization.

Are you ready to make a donation now? Click here:

Note: You can select either “General Funds” or “Playwriting Competition”.  While this event is happening we’ll use the money for this either way.  If you would like to make a single donation but split it up between several weeks of competition, just mention that in the comments.

As an example, suppose the winning play has three roles plus stage directions (four actors), and during the week, ICRL receives $50 in donations.  The total pot will be $100 (ICRL’s initial contribution) + $50 (donations) + $50 (ICRL’s match to the donations), and that total of $200 will be split five ways (i.e. $40 to the playwright, and $40 to each of the four actors).   If ICRL receives $500 in donations, the total pot would be $100 (initial contribution) + $500 (donations) + $100 (ICRL match), and that $700 would be split five ways for a total of $140 to the playwright and each actor.

If enough donations are received such that an individual would receive more than $1000, the total prize will be capped at $1000 per person, and the remaining funds will be used to have a second winner and second team of readers (and so forth if we are fortunate enough to get a whole lot of donations).

If you would prefer that your share of the prize money be given to someone with greater need than yourself (i.e. you are doing this for the joy of writing/acting), that is fine too; you can indicate that you wish to opt out of receiving money when making your submission.

Make sense?  Ready to participate?  Click here to go to this week’s competition page.

But wait, you say.  What if I want to be one of the actors?  How does that work?  Simple:  Just register below by providing a few simple details.  Note that actors must be fluent in English and over the age of 21.

Age Range

Financial Need
Some additional money would be very helpful right nowI'm doing fine, so please give the money to someone more in need

I am at least 21 years old
I understand that readings could take as long as an hour, and will occur on Saturdays between the hours of 10:00 am and 3:00 pm (east coast time)
I am able to use Zoom for the reading