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Wednesday, June 27, 2018

The James Stevenson Prize for Short Plays

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The James Stevenson Prize for Short Plays In Honor of the Famed New Yorker Cartoonist and Writer

Submissions are now open for Playing on Air’s inaugural James Stevenson Prize for Short Plays.  In his editorial cartoons for The New Yorker, James Stevenson told stories about the human comedy with energy and economy. Playing on Air, a theater podcast and public radio show, will award three major prizes for short comedies that perpetuate Mr. Stevenson's spirit and wit, bringing the finest new American plays to a national audience - for free.

The Prize’s sponsor is James Stevenson's wife, Josie Merck.  For submission details, read on below.

$7,500 award, plus a Playing on Air recording of the winning play for radio and podcast distribution

 $2,000 award

 $1,000 award

What to Submit:

- Playing on Air invites writers to submit a short comedic play of 10-25 pages (not counting title page).

- All entries must be original, unproduced plays. Scripts may not be adapted from the playwright’s published or previously-produced work.

- Submissions will be judged for literary merit, originality, and regard for the spirit of James Stevenson. (editor's note: Slideshow of sample work of Stevenson here)

- Special consideration will be given to the script’s suitability for audio recording, as well as public radio broadcast.  Single-character monologues and plays that rely on the extensive use of a chorus, cast doubling, stage directions, or visual elements are discouraged.

- Please do not include sound design cues or instructions beyond standard stage directions.

Formatting requirements: title page (with no author information), 12pt font, 1 inch margins on every side, and numbered pages


  • One submission will be accepted per entrant. Additional entries will disqualify the writer. 
  • No fee is required for entry. 
  • All submissions will be judged "blind."  Again, uploaded scripts should not include the author's name, representation, or any identifying information. All author information should be provided via submission form, linked below. 
  • Submissions will be accepted from April 1, 2018 to noon on July 1, 2018.  We strongly encourage playwrights to submit their work early, as no exceptions will be made.
  • Due to number of entries, Playing on Air cannot provide feedback on any individual script.
  • Entrants must be at least 21 years of age by July 1, 2018. 

Entries can be submitted here, with scripts uploaded to the form as PDFs.   Please note: use the exact title of the play as your PDF filename.  Do not include author's name in the filename.

For samples of previous Playing on Air episodes, subscribe to the Playing on Air podcast on your favorite podcast app.

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