Roots of the Bluegrass New Play Festival


Each year, KTA celebrates the stellar work of KY area playwrights during the Annual Roots of the Bluegrass New Play Festival. This festival is an exciting opportunity for Kentucky playwrights (including out-of-state residents) to submit their work to a panel of readers tasked with recognizing outstanding 10-minute and full length playwriting.

In October of each year, three full length finalist and the ten minute play winner will be announced. Finalists will be invited to attend the annual State Theatre Conference and will present their work as a staged reading to an audience of theatre artists and producers. Following the reading, awards will be presented to the competitors and the winner of the full length competition will be announced. The winner of the full length category will receive a $250 cash prize. The winner of the ten minute contest will receive a $50 cash prize. All finalists will be offered a free hotel night at the conference site as well as free registration to the conference.

To submit your work to the Roots of the Bluegrass New Play Festival, click register and fill out the registration form on the resulting page. After registering for the festival, you will receive a confirmation email with instructions about where to send your play. The deadline to submit is September 15, 2018. Winners will be announced at the Annual State Conference, November 16th @ Glema Mahr Center for the Arts.


  • Eligible playwrights must be KY residents (or out-of-state residents) for a minimum of three years.
  • To be considered, plays should have received no previous full production. Previous staged readings and development sessions are acceptable and encouraged.
  • Categories of Entry:
    • Full-length/One Act – Plays exceeding 10 minutes in length. (Script written in the standard format exceeding 9 pages.)
    • Ten Minute – Plays that target a ten minute running time. (Script in the standard format between 6 and 8 pages in length.)

KTA reserves the right to inquire in depth about your association with the state of Kentucky if necessary and has the right to deny any play submitted if the aforementioned criteria are not met. We further reserve the right to consider works that don’t fit strictly into the criteria.



  • Font– 12pt either Courier or New Times Roman fonts only.
  • Margins – Left margin at 1.5” All others at 1”.
  • Title Page – Separate from the body of the work. No page number included. Title of the play, Name of the playwright, contact information in the lower corner of the title page.
  • Cast of Characters – Also provided separately with no page number included. List of characters in the order they appear and necessary descriptions.
  • Script – Beginning with page one.
  • Action – Inset consistently at between 1.5 inches and 2.5 inches. No parentheses.
  • Character’s Name – Each character’s named centered over their dialogue.
  • Dialogue – Directly below the character’s name with no space between. No inset.
  • Parentheticals – (Action of a single character set inside parentheses, just before or during the character’s dialogue.) Inset consistently at between 1.5 or 2.5 inches to both the right and the left. Use parentheses. No space between.

A properly formatted stage script will provide a rough sense of running time of your play. Typically, one page of a playscript should equal about one and a half minutes of running time. If you are using playwriting software, this problem is taken care of for you. There are a few free formatting software programs available online. However, if you don’t utilize playwriting software there are a few consistencies that you will need to follow when formatting your playscript.




  • Dependent upon number of contest submissions, submitted plays will be read by two judges each. Only one judge is required for a play to pass on to round two.
  • All judges will have a 15-page minimum reading requirement in addition to reading the included play synopsis for each play. Judges will read full 10-minute play submissions unless over 15 pages.
  • The plays read and judged will be tracked as shown in the following example, with the play title listed, and the judges providing a Y (yes) or N (no) for moving on to the next round of judging.


  • Judges will not adjudicate the same play twice.
  • First round rules remain in place, although extending the required 15-page read is encouraged.
  • In addition to the plays being given a Y (yes) or N (no) pass to the next round, Plays receiving a Y (yes) will be scored according to the system below, giving a 1-5 rating in each category:
      • Plot Strength
      • Character Strength/Development
      • Overall Score (would you read again or like to see it onstage)
  • After the second round, the top 10 plays with the highest ratings will move on to the final round. The selection process will look like the example below, with plays receiving Y (yes) from two judges and highest scoring first. Plays receiving a N (no) from both judges will be automatically eliminated.


  • The third round will consist of the top ten plays in BOTH the full-length and 10-minute play category.
  • Judges will be assigned to a particular play category, and all judges in that category will read all finalist plays.
  • There is no minimum page requirement as judges will be required to read the full play no matter what category they are judging.
  • Plays will again be given a Y (yes) or N (no) rating and should only be given a Y (yes) if the judge feels the play has good overall quality and should be produced at the festival.
  • In addition to the plays being given a Y (yes) or N (no), Plays receiving a Y (yes) will be scored according to the system below, giving a 1-5 rating in each category:
    • Plot Strength
    • Character Strength/Development
    • Relevancy/Relatability
    • Overall Score (would you read again or like to see it onstage)
  • The top three plays in each play category will be selected to perform at the Roots of the Bluegrass New Play Festival.