Roots of the Bluegrass New Play Festival

2017 Rules and Regulations

The 9th annual Roots of the Bluegrass New Play Award competition is open to all Kentucky playwrights. The contest is free to all Kentuckians, including out-of-state residents, who resided in Commonwealth for a minimum of three years. Submission deadline is August 31, 2017.

To be considered, plays should have received no previous full production. Previous staged readings and development sessions are acceptable and encouraged.

Complete the form found here.

After you have completed the form, send an electronic copy of your script completed in the industry standard format (please submit title page with contact information and cast of characters separately) to You may make all additional inquires at this address as well.

The Kentucky Theatre Association’s “Roots of the Bluegrass” playwriting contest is to recognize new works by Kentucky playwrights.

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.

Roots of the Bluegrass Playwriting Contest Judging Criteria

Plot Strength – Does the script provide a solid structure that moves the story forward in a plausible and engaging manner? Do all the elements of the plot serve the story?

Character Development
– Does the script convey strong dimension in its characters? Does the script offer characters in which you become invested? Do all of the characters in the play contribute to the story in an engaging and well-balanced manner?

– Does the dialogue successfully reveal actions, characters and establish the overall style of the play? Is the dialogue engaging and plausible?  Does it contribute to the overall style of the play?

Stage-worthiness – Does this script provide for a play that will function effectively in the time and space of the stage? Does the action move forward based on the needs and desires of all of the characters? Are there dynamic staging opportunities or does the script read like a static dialogue between characters? Does this script offer opportunities for all members of a production team (directing, acting, designers, etc) to significantly contribute to the story of the play?

Audience-worthiness – Does the action develop in an engaging manner for a prospective audience?  Does the action provokes thought and/or insight in a way that makes the investment of time spent with the play worthwhile?  Is there a significant pay-off for an audience?

3 full length finalists and the ten minute play winner will be announced October 2016. Finalists will be invited to attend the 2016 conference November 17-19th, 2017 at the Jenny Whiley Theatre, Pikeville, KY, with a staged reading presented for each finalist. The winning play will be announced at the conference.

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 in Lexington, KY, as well as free registration to the conference.

Proper Format: 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.

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.

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