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Scripts Sought for PLAYground Festival of Fresh Works

Playwrights are invited to submit a script to Purple Crayon Players’ PLAYground Festival of Fresh Works,

an exciting development opportunity for new work by TYA playwrights. We are currently seeking submissions for our 8th annual festival, to be held on Northwestern University’s campus in Spring 2016.

International writers as well as US writers are encouraged to submit.  International playwrights should note that the scripts must be in English and limited travel funding is available.

Purple Crayon Players is Northwestern University's award-winning, student-run theatre and community service organization that focuses on producing professionally written Theatre for Young Audiences. Alongside our main stage season, we work throughout the year on a variety of special projects and events by, with, and for, youth in our local Chicagoland area.

PLAYground is Purple Crayon Players’s annual festival of 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 workshops before publication or production. After a collaborative rehearsal process focused on the playwright’s development goals, we present these fresh works in a dynamic weekend of public staged readings and post-show discussions. 

In the past 8 years, the festival has featured 20 playwrights in all stages of their careers, from nationally-known faces to emerging new talents in the TYA field. Sandra Fenichel Asher’s Jesse and Grace: A Best Friends Story (a 2011 AATE Distinguished Play Award-winner) and Ramon Esquivel’s Nasty have both received publication following their participation in PLAYground, and Anne Negri’s With Two Wings received its world premiere production at Tempe, Arizona’s Childsplay in Winter 2012 and became a part of our season in 2013! PLAYground has also been featured in the national publication Incite/Insight.

Selected playwrights receive:

- At least 3 weeks 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

- 1-2 days of in-person conversation, workshopping, and events with student directors, actors, and others in the Purple Crayon, Northwestern, and TYA communities on the festival weekend

- Staged reading of your script and facilitated post-show discussion with audiences

- Dynamic post-festival feedback from audiences, student directors, and cast members

In considering submissions, Purple Crayon Players looks for scripts that show diversity of voice, originality of content and style, and that will enrich and challenge our directors and our audiences. Your development goals are important to us, and we match plays with student directors who are excited by and committed to these goals. Finally, we aim to find three works that complement one another, as well as our main stage productions, by catering to different target audiences and providing variety of theme and form to our festival and our season.

To submit, please email up to three unpublished, original scripts to by Sunday, November 1st.  Each script should be accompanied by a cover letter that includes your contact information, the production history of the script, and your current goals for development.

We hope you will consider submitting a script to PLAYground this year. If you do not currently have a piece you'd like to submit, we hope you shall forward this message out to colleagues and business contacts that you believe would be interested in this unique opportunity for play development. If you have any suggestions of others who may be interested, please let us know. See the attached flyer for a breakdown of the details, and be sure to check our website, for updates.

And, of course, do not hesitate to email us at with any questions

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