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Sunday, May 5, 2024

Second Annual Fern Street Play Festival


Deadline: June 1, 2024 11:59 p.m


Send to: LRE@westhartforduu.org

Second Annual Fern Street Play Festival ~ November 1 and 2, 2024


Familiar in the neighborhood as the church on Fern Street, The Universalist Church of West Hartford, Connecticut has a history of using theatre to build connections across our own progressive congregation and the local community. We continue to widen the circle of this tradition by inviting voices from far and wide to be part of our second annual play festival. Our mission is to uplift and examine the human condition through theatre. To that end, we invite playwrights to submit plays, new or old, published or unpublished, to our no-fee juried play festival. 

Our inaugural Festival in 2023 was a grand success, attracting more than 130 submissions from around the United States and several other countries. From those, eight plays were chosen for seated readings and were performed by outstanding actors from the community. The Festival attracted an enthusiastic audience over two nights.

This year, selected plays will receive a $100 honorarium. One grand prize will be awarded in the amount of $250. Each selected play will be professionally produced as a seated reading for a live audience. We plan to make a video recording of each individual play reading and make those available to the playwrights, to be used at their discretion, excluding commercial purposes.


Submit a properly formatted playscript for the stage. For formatting guidance, see: https://www.dramatistsguild.com/.../General-SFI...

Make the script itself “blind” by removing any reference to the playwright’s name, address, bio, past performances, or awards. You may, of course, identify yourself in the body of the cover email. 


The play may be from any genre – drama, comedy, musical, etc. It should be a complete, short play – no longer than 25 pages.

Email your script as a PDF document to lre@westhartforduu.org by 11:59 p.m. on June 1, 2024. No late submissions will be accepted.

Plays will be chosen for performance based on the following criteria:

1. Dramatic literary skill
We will especially appreciate submissions that use drama as the main literary device. Plays that rely too heavily on exposition or are written in a didactic style will not meet the criteria for dramatic literary skill.

2. A performance time of no more than 20 minutes.

3. Illustrative (in any significant way) of at least one of the Unitarian Universalist Seven Principles or Shared Values.1st Principle: The inherent worth and dignity of every person;
2nd Principle: Justice, equity and compassion in human relations;
3rd Principle: Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations;
4th Principle: A free and responsible search for truth and meaning;
5th Principle: The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large;
6th Principle: The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all;
7th Principle: Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.
The Shared Values are: Love, Interdependence, Equity, Transformation, Pluralism, Generosity, and Justice.

Although illustrating these principles or values can be conceived in myriad ways, we will select plays we can discuss with audiences using one or more of the principles or values as a lens for interpretation.

A group of qualified readers will begin a blind review of scripts immediately. We plan to notify all writers of the outcome of the selection process by no later than Oct. 5, 2024.

If selected, your play will be produced as a seated or minimally staged reading for a one or two-night run, depending on the number of plays selected. Performances will be held in the sanctuary of the historic Universalist Church of West Hartford and videorecorded by a state-of-the-art system. Performance dates are slated for November 1 and 2, in the evening.


Productions will use a mix of qualified professional and amateur actors. The director(s) have extensive theatre backgrounds.


The Festival will be marketed and advertised throughout the greater Hartford area.


Playwrights will be invited to attend one rehearsal to collaborate and consult with directors and cast. If traveling from afar, writers will need to cover their own travel and lodging expenses.

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