Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati

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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. The winner will receive $2,500 along with a professionally-staged reading of their script.

Submissions for 2021 are now closed. 2022 submission dates will be announced in autumn 2021. Typically submissions are accepted starting in late fall through winter.

Entrants must be currently enrolled at a university in the Greater Cincinnati/tri-state 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.

2022 Submission Dates TBA

Rules and submission guidelines

2022 Submission Dates TBA

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 Greater Cincinnati/tri-state region.

Submit your script electronically; submission form and file upload will be available on this page during the acceptance window.


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


This competition is restricted to original, unpublished full-length plays written in English.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)