Thursday, December 24, 2015

Tiny Plays for Ireland and America Playwriting Challenge

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Part of the 2016-2017 John F. Kennedy Centennial Celebration

Part of IRELAND 100: Celebrating a Century of Irish Arts and Culture

In collaboration with Fishamble: The New Play Company and the Irish Arts Center

"Ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country."
- From John F. Kennedy’s Inaugural address, January 20, 1961

As President Kennedy’s 100th birthday approaches on May 29, 2017, the Kennedy Center encourages everyone living in the United States to write an original play of 500 words or less examining his legacy as it lives on in the country today and responding to the call, “Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.”

We want stories from across the United States, from people from all walks of life and all backgrounds, from writers young and old, from those who have written many times, to those who have never written a play before.

John F. Kennedy, 35th President of the United States and America’s first Irish-Catholic president, served in office from January 1961 until his assassination in November 1963, a total of just over 1000 days. His presidency, while shortened due to his untimely death, is notable due to the significant social and political events that occurred including the Bay of Pigs Invasion, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, Police Week, the establishment of the Peace Corps, the Space Race, the building of the Berlin Wall, the African-American Civil Rights Movement, and increased U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War.

Kennedy’s legacy, ultimately, is that he coached our character as citizens of this great country. His presidency remains tied to, and identified with themes of exploration, innovation, creativity, courage, freedom, justice, and service.


Submission categories - one play will be selected for performance from each category:


· Middle school (grade 6-8 or equivalents) or ages 11-13

· High school (grade 9-12 or equivalents) or ages 14-17

· Adults ages 18-26

· Adults ages 27-59

· Adults ages 60 and over

· Kennedy Center Family (staff, volunteers, and their immediate family members)


Submission Criteria:

· All submissions must be 500 words or less, in English, and performable by a cast of no more than 3 actors.

· Playwrights are encouraged to write multi-character dialogue, not a monologue, although monologues will be accepted.

· All submissions should be complete plays which can stand on their own; structurally, each play should have a beginning, middle and end and not be an excerpt from a longer work. Excerpts from a longer work will not be accepted.

· Playwrights must live in the United States.
· Playwrights should submit a headshot that may be used publicly, including via social media.

· By submitting a play, playwrights (and/or their parents and/or guardians) agree that the Kennedy Center, Fishamble, the Irish Arts Center, and any sponsors or other supporters of the Tiny Plays project may use the playwright’s name, image and all or a portion of the submitted play to promote the Challenge, regardless of whether the play submitted is selected for performance.

Important: Please read the complete Official Submission Guidelines and Rules before submitting an entry in the Tiny Plays for Ireland and America Playwriting Challenge (the “Challenge”). By submitting an entry, you agree to be bound by the Official Submission Guidelines and Rules and represent that you have read and understood all requirements set forth [HERE].

How do I submit a Tiny Play and what are the deadlines?
All submissions must be received by the Kennedy Center by February 19, 2016. 

Plays may be submitted online through the application below (note, the first step of the submission process requires creation of a free Submittable account) or by mailing the paper application and script to:


Kennedy Center Education Division
ATTN: Tiny Plays
P.O. Box 101510
Washington, DC 20566

If you wish to download a paper application rather than submitting online, click [HERE]