Theatre BC’s 2017 Canadian Playwriting Competition is officially accepting entries. The annual contest, established in 1989, is one of Canada’s oldest playwriting competitions and winners include many of Canada’s well-known playwrights as well as many emerging writers who are testing the waters for the first time. Many of our winners have gone on to successful productions and even major prizes, including a Governor General’s Award.
Last year the competition returned to a national mandate, provided more feedback for writers, took online submissions, and started a unique and valuable workshop opportunity for one of the winners. Our entry fees have also been reduced, especially for Theatre BC members.
For the past couple of years, the competition has been open only to British Columbia writers. Again this year, we are returning to our roots and expanding the competition to accept English language entries from across the country. Original one act and full length plays will be competing for three major prizes: $1000 for the full length winner, $750 for the one act winner, and $500 for a special merit winner to be chosen by three independent judges.
In addition to the cash prizes, Theatre BC has added a new and exciting wrinkle to the competition. One of the winning plays will be workshopped at Theatre BC’s Mainstage 2018. Mainstage is our annual provincial theatre festival which will be held in Vernon this year, June 29 to July 7. One of the three plays will be recommended to the festival and will be workshopped by a professional director concluding with a staged reading for an audience of theatre practitioners from across the province. This is a fantastic opportunity for the competition winners.
Again this year more feedback will be available to competition entries as they progress through the adjudication process. Theatre BC will engage three independent and anonymous judges, all experienced theatre professionals, to read and evaluate the submitted plays and there are three rounds to the judging process. Writers will be notified at the end of each round of judging and those playwrights whose work has been passed on to the next round will receive short comments from one of the judges.
For a small fee, writers can also request written critiques from the judges. Starting in 2016, the competition has gone digital. All entries will be submitted online only. No more paper trail and no mailing costs. A win/win for both writers and organizers. To read the rules and regulations and to enter the competition, see our website at http://theatrebc.org/playwriting-competition/