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Saturday, October 17, 2020

Joining Sword & Pen Seeking Playwrights of Marginalized Genders

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Deadline: February 18, 2021
Chicago

Babes With Blades Theatre Company’s Joining Sword & Pen (JS&P) competition is live and underway! Since 2005, JS&P has challenged playwrights to write a full-length play based on the story they see in our contest image. The winner receives a full production and the Margaret Woolley Martin Award, which carries a cash prize of $1000.

This year’s image and competition rules may be found here:
babeswithblades.org/jsp-how-to-submit/

We’re seeking submissions from playwrights of underrepresented genders. This includes cis women, trans women, trans men, non-binary people, and those who are otherwise marginalized based on gender.

What We’re Looking For

1. The moment depicted in the inspirational image at the bottom of this page must be physically dramatized/incorporated into the play. We want to (literally) perform that moment on stage. Include the page number of your script where the contest’s image is depicted in your submission email.

2. Scripts must be inclusive of the BIPOC community. Whether the script lends itself to characters being played by actors of any race/ethnicity or whether it includes stories that are race-specific, BIPOC characters must not be limited to secondary or background characters.

3. Submissions are due NO LATER than midnight February 18, 2021.

4. All JS&P submissions must be new, full length, original works, inspired by the artwork that is the focus of the contest. Previously written, workshopped, published or performed submissions will not be considered and we will not contact you. Please do not insert the contest image into an existing script.

5. Please email your JS&P submission in a PDF file to swordandpen@babeswithblades.org. The filename must start with the title of the play (ex. “Patchwork Drifter.pdf”). If the title of the play begins with “the,” “a,” or “an,” please place that article at the end of the title (ex. “Last Daughter of Oedipus, The.pdf”).


IMPORTANT: This will be a BLIND SUBMISSION PROCESS.

Script submissions for JS&P accepted between August 5, 2020 and February 18, 2021. Want more info? Contact swordandpen@babeswithblades.org.

Joining Sword & Pen winners receive full productions with the Babes.

Check out the full list of Joining Sword & Pen winners.

Your email submission should contain two separate attachments:

 a) Your cover page. INCLUDE:
  • The play’s title
  • Playwright’s name and full contact information (phone numbers, email, mailing address).

 b) Your script. INCLUDE:
  • The page number on which the contest’s image is incorporated.
  • A synopsis.
  • A character list specifying the gender of each character. “Open gender” is an option. If it’s important that a character is cisgender or transgender, please specify this.
  • If it’s important that a character is of a particular racial/ethnic background (including white), please specify this. Characters of unspecified racial/ethnic background will not be automatically assumed to be white.

DO NOT INCLUDE ANY contact information, of any kind, in the body of your script. An author’s identity will only be revealed to the ensemble once a selection has been made.


6. The winner of the contest agrees to participation in the Fighting Words new plays program (workshops and festival reading – dates TBD), and grants Babes With Blades Theatre Company rights to produce the world premiere production of the winning play. Production dates are TBD for Spring 2023 (subject to change).


Things to consider:
  • Our mission statement: Babes With Blades Theatre Company uses stage combat to tell stories that elevate the voices of underrepresented communities and dismantle the patriarchy. Through performance, script development, training and outreach, our ensemble creates theatre that explores the wide range of the human experience, and cultivates broader perspectives in the arts community and in society as a whole.
  • We do not accept or produce musical scripts.
  • Both our venues and our budgets tend to be small.
  • If your play does not pass the Bechdel Test, it is unlikely to fit our mission.
  • If your play does not include stage combat, it does not fit our mission.
  • Characters fight as a realization of high narrative stakes. Scenes of characters training to fight are usually lacking in stakes.
  • If your script includes sexualized violence, consider whether the sexualization is truly necessary to the story. Sometimes it is; often it’s not.
Click here to learn more about Joining Sword & Pen

Our Mission Statement: Babes With Blades Theatre Company uses stage combat to tell stories that elevate the voices of underrepresented communities and dismantle the patriarchy. Through performance, script development, training and outreach, our ensemble creates theatre that explores the wide range of the human experience, and cultivates broader perspectives in the arts community and in society as a whole.

We look forward to hearing your stories!!

PLEASE NOTE: The image for the competition can be found on our website. Please do not select your own prompts.

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