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New Voices for the Theater

Playwriting Competition

Photo by Tom Topinka


Celebrating 30 Years!

New Voices for the Theater is the nationally acclaimed statewide high school playwriting competition for Virginia students in grades 9-12 that celebrates and cultivates young writing talent from across Virginia.  This program provides a life-changing opportunity for high school writers to work with professional playwrights, actors, and other theatre artists.

SUBMIT YOUR PLAY – Original plays written by Virginia students in grades 9-12 will be accepted through February 15, 2019

New Voices for the Theater is made possible by a grant from the
E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation

Watch the video
to learn more!

How It Works

The New Voices for the Theater playwriting competition provides an opportunity for Virginia students to work closely with professional theatre artists during a two-week residency designed to help them bring their original one-act plays to life on the stage.

The Residency is an intensive workshop experience geared towards enhancing and developing the writing talents of the chosen playwrights. The program requires attention to detail, a willingness to work hard, and a commitment to daily homework writing and reading assignments. Students are guided by a nationally recognized Playwright-in-Residence and other theatre professionals. They spend the two weeks taking classes and revising their winning play as well as taking trips to theater productions, museums, and other activities of interest.

2019 New Voices Timeline

February 15, 2019 Script Submission Deadline
Spring 2019 Winners Announced
June 29 – July 14, 2019 New Voices Residency in Richmond
July 12 & 13, 2019  Festival of New Works

Submission Guidelines

Submit Your Play

Original plays written by Virginia students in grades 9-12 will be accepted through
February 15, 2019.

Please complete the application form and include it with your play submission to newvoices@sparcrichmond.org 


Plays are submitted and eight winners are chosen by a Script Evaluation Committee. The plays are premiered as staged readings at a professional venue.

For More Information

Contact Andrew Ballard, at aballard@sparcrichmond.org

Support New Voices

To sustain this program, SPARC relies on generous contributions from individuals, corporations, and foundations. Donations aid in promoting the program to high schools statewide, supporting the participation of highly sought-after professional playwrights and theatre artists, and promoting the program and its Festival within the Richmond community. Support New Voices today by making a gift to SPARC!

“Having been able to see my play performed, and hearing the reaction of the audience was amazing. This program has made me want to write more, to write everyday and to succeed. This program changed my life.”

2012 Playwright Annalee Marguerite Weeks