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This one-act play playwriting competition was designed for Colorado high school students to nurture young writers, develop new plays and inspire creativity through playwriting.

Submissions are judged blindly by DCPA artistic, literary and educational professionals. From a talented pool of entrants, we choose 10 semifinalists, then three finalists who each receive a cash scholarship of $250 and have their plays read at the annual Colorado New Play Summit in February. In addition, each teacher of the three finalists receives a $250 gift certificate for books, supplies or other teaching tools for their classrooms. One play is selected for full production in the summer by the Education department — written, cast with and produced by teens.

Sponsored by the Newman Family Fund and June Travis with additional support from FirstBank and Spencer Ross

The semi-finalists, finalists and top honoree for the 2013 playwriting competition.


One-Sided Fish by Laurain Park, Alexander Dawson High School


Into the Stars by Jack Fletcher, East High School

One-Sided Fish by Laurain Park, Alexander Dawson High School

Sailor’s Knot: A Play in Six Movements by Victoria Capraro, Denver School of the Arts


A Case of the Mondays by Tristan Cunningham, Sand Creek High School, Colorado Springs

Into the Stars by Jack Fletcher, East High School, Denver 

Lost by Thomas J Norton, Discovery Canyon High School, Colorado Springs

Never EvEn Tried by Nicholas Sugarman, Cherry Creek High School, Denver 

One-Sided Fish by Laurain Park, Alexander Dawson High School, Lafayette

Sailor’s Knot: A Play in Six Movements by Victoria Capraro, Denver School of the Arts, Denver

The Adventures of Sammie the Heartless and Cory the Firebreather by Meg Flinders, Heritage High School, Littleton

The Coffee Shop by Kendall Horan, Cheyenne Mountain High School, Colorado Springs

The Story of You by Mateo Correa, Denver School of the Arts, Denver

Yesterdays by Gabriela Gonzales, Denver School of the Arts, Denver

Sponsored by the Newman Family Fund and June Travis with additional support from FirstBank and Spencer Ross

Playwriting Competition FAQs

  • How should I format my play?

  • What is the difference between a screenplay and a play?

  • Can I submit an adaptation?

  • What kind of subject material are you looking for?

  • How many pages can I write?

  • Should I write my name on my manuscript?

Colorado high school drama and language arts teachers can sign up for a free 60-minute playwriting workshop that introduces students to the fundamentals of writing a one-act play. Workshops are taught by industry professionals and are an excellent way to engage students’ interest in the competition and teach them about playwriting and the theatre simultaneously. Teachers can book up to five consecutive workshops. Subject to availability.

Workshops offered: Sep 22-Nov 7, 2014

Student competition deadline: Dec 1, 2014

To book a free playwriting workshop, contact writeaplay@dcpa.org.

Submissions must:
  1. be an original, unpublished, one-act play.
  2. be previously unproduced.
  3. be limited to no more than 30 pages.
  4. be typed in standard play-style format, 12 point Times New Roman font and page numbered.
  5. be submitted online or postmarked no later than Dec 1, 2014.

Submissions must not:

  1. be a translation or excerpt.
  2. have the playwright’s name anywhere on the manuscript.

Submissions are read blindly. Students submitting online enter contact information on their profile separately from their manuscript. If submitting by mail, please include all of your contact information on a separate sheet of paper.

Playwrights must:

  1. be currently enrolled in a Colorado high school or home school.
  2. limit submissions to one entry per year.

No revisions will be accepted after submission. Do not send your only copy. Manuscripts will not be returned. No submission fee.

Submissions will be accepted Oct 1-Dec 1, 2014

Preferred method of submission:


Alternate method:

Playwriting Competition
1101 13th St., Denver, CO 80204

Teen Playwriting Participants:
An Evening with Matthew Lopez, Denver Center Playwriting Fellow


Join internationally acclaimed playwright, Matthew Lopez, in an intimate conversation about playwriting. Gain insights about his creative process and get your playwriting questions answered.

Wed, Nov 19, 6:30-8:30pm
Conservatory Theatre
1101 13th St., 3rd Fl.
Robert and Judi Newman Center for Theatre Education
Denver, CO 80204

For more information contact us at 303.446.4892.


Matthew Lopez
Matthew Lopez
Lopez (Denver Center Playwriting Fellow) is the author of The Legend of Georgia McBride, which premiered last season at the Denver Center and The Whipping Man, also seen last season at Curious Theatre Company. Since its debut at Luna Stage Company and its New York premiere at Manhattan Theatre Club, The Whipping Man has become one of the most widely produced new American plays of the last several years, with productions in over 50 U.S. cities and abroad. His play Somewhere premiered at the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego and recently completed a successful run at Hartford Stage, where his newest work, Reverberation, is set to premiere in the winter of 2015. Other plays include Zoey’s Perfect Wedding and The Sentinels, which premiered in London. Matthew currently holds new play commissions from Hartford Stage, Manhattan Theatre Company, Roundabout Theatre Company, and South Coast Rep. He was a staff writer on the HBO series “The Newsroom” and is currently adapting Javier Marias’ Your Face Tomorrow trilogy for Brad Pitt’s Plan B film company.

"It doesn’t appear that arts education will ever escape the need for support from the private sector…it’s a need that is not going away. It is very important to us that we can identify how funds will be used, and that they will provide an opportunity for some unknown kids to have a hell of a good time." — Carole & Robert Slosky