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Monday, November 1, 2021

Purple Crayon Players 14TH ANNUAL PLAYGROUND plays for young audiences


Deadline: November 5, 2021 11:59 PM CDT


Purple Crayon Players (PCP) is pleased to present the 14th Annual Playground Festival of New Works this upcoming year! We seek to uplift new voices and stories in the theatre for young audiences.

PLAYground is a three-week play development process which culminates in a weekend long festival of staged readings, workshops, and post-show discussions of three new plays for young audiences.

PLAYground fosters the development of each script through partnerships between professional TYA playwrights and Northwestern undergraduate directors and actors, whether it is the work’s first reading or its final workshop before publication or production.

Purple Crayon Players sees PLAYground as an opportunity to empower new works and reexamine theatre-making practices to center care. We aim to help decolonize TYA by supporting artists with fewer layers of protection from oppression (vocabulary courtesy of Nicole Brewer’s Anti-Racist Theatre). Building a more equitable future begins with young people. We seek to expand what representation they can identify with and future worlds they can imagine. We recognize our own limits operating within a predominantly white institution and plan to work collaboratively with our communities to integrate listening and culturally responsive pedagogies into our processes and education. Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions or hopes for this process.


At least 15 hours of script analysis and workshopping by student cast and director before your arrival

Regular contact with your student director regarding the progress of rehearsals, tailored to meet your development goals
  • Assistance funding your trip to Evanston, IL, for the festival weekend
  • 2 days of in-person conversation, workshopping, and events with student directors, actors, and others in the Purple Crayon, Northwestern, and TYA communities during the festival weekend*
  • Staged reading of your script and facilitated post-show discussion with audiences
  • Post-festival feedback from audiences, student directors, and cast members

* At this time, Purple Crayon Players intends to host an in-person festival on the Northwestern University Campus in April 2022. Festival logistics are subject to change based on university, state, and local health guidance. 


Plays must be intended for young audiences (5-18 years old) - a play is not expected to appeal to this whole age range.

Scripts must be unpublished at the time of submission.

Scripts should be full length (at least 30 minutes) or intended to be developed into a full length piece.

Playwrights can submit up to 3 scripts. Each script must be accompanied by its own cover letter.

Musicals will not be accepted. Plays with music are permitted.

Plays will be evaluated blindly for semi-finalist selections.


A PDF cover letter detailing your contact information, production history of your play, your development goals for the play, and any other relevant information.

A blind PDF copy of your unpublished script. We request scripts without the playwright's name to avoid bias in the selection process.

Please fill out this Google Form to submit to the Playground Festival.

The deadline to submit is November 5, 2021 at 11:59 PM CST. Plays submitted after the deadline will not be reviewed.


Purple Crayon Players will narrow our submissions to a group of semi-finalists in mid November. We will alert you by the end of November whether or not your play has been selected for semi-familist standing.

We select our 3 finalists in collaboration with our 3 student directors. Finalists will be chosen in mid-December/early-January. All 3 finalists and the remaining semi-finalists will be notified by the end of January whether or not your play has been selected. 


Please contact PLAYgroundTYAfestival@gmail.com with any questions.

Jonathan Van De Loo, Literary Manager
Arella Flur, Playground Festival Producer

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