Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati

Skip to main content Skip to search


Our annual collegiate competition nurtures local aspiring dramatists who are helping to shape the future of American theatre.

Write on.

PLAY/write: The Jackie Demaline Regional Collegiate Playwriting Competition is a juried cash award given annually to support the early work and career of an emerging playwright. Depending upon the pool of submissions received, up to three winners will be chosen; each winner will receive $2,500 along with a professionally staged reading of the winning script.

Entrants must be currently enrolled either full- or part-time at a university or college in the Cincinnati tristate region and submit an original full-length play. There is no entry fee. Three finalists will be chosen by a panel of judges.

The competition commemorates the life and work of writer, critic, and theatre enthusiast, Jackie Demaline. A passionate arts advocate, Ms. Demaline served as an important catalyst for change in the theater community and was an entertainment writer and editor for numerous publications. Her legacy lives on through this competition, providing professional development for emerging writers, amplifying new voices and perspectives, and kick-starting arts careers.

Rules and submission guidelines

This year’s submission deadline has been extended to May 31, 2024.

If you have questions about the competition or submission process, please email Jared D. Doren, Programming & Events Manager.

Competition rules

There is no entry fee. This competition is limited to full- and part-time students currently enrolled at a university or college in the Cincinnati tri-state region. Scripts must be submitted electronically.


Where indicated on the electronic submission form, you will need to include:

    • the title of your play along with your name and contact information
    • biography and/or author’s history of the play
    • 2-3 sentence keynote description of the play
    • a list of characters and a list of acts and scenes


Submit script


This competition is restricted to original, unpublished full-length plays (minimum of 50 pages) written in English. Translations, musicals, adaptations, and children’s plays are not accepted.

Plays must be typed and page-numbered.

Subject matter is open, however, the play should address some of the characteristics Jackie considered when critiquing theatre:

    • Does it tell me something I didn’t know about myself or the world in which I Iive?
    • Does it hold up a mirror at an angle I’ve never tried so that the things I do know now possess new meaning?
    • Does it move me? Excite me? Provoke me?
    • Does it make me laugh or cry? Make me uncomfortable? Make me think?

Photo credits | Apprentice Program, Molly Israel & Kadeem Ali Harris in Love and Information (Mikki Schaffner); Volunteer, Cast of Ripcord (Ryan Kurtz)