|The Crossroads Project
2021 Diverse Voices Playwriting Initiative
The 2021 Diverse Voices Playwriting Initiative welcomes submissions for full-length, unproduced plays by playwrights of color in accordance with the mission statement of the Crossroads Project (see below). A diverse panel of judges comprising of faculty, staff, and students will select one playwright as the winner of the contest.
The winning playwright will receive:
An invitation to Illinois State University in Bloomington-Normal, IL for a one-week new play development workshop, culminating in a public staged reading. The playwright may also be invited to offer guest lectures and colloquia. The Crossroads Project will cover costs for travel, housing, and meals during the workshop.
An honorarium of $500 for the workshop.
To be eligible to win the contest, a playwright must be available for a one-week workshop in late March 2021 (exact dates TBD). Due to funding limitations, the Crossroads Project can only cover costs for travel within the United States.
The deadline for submissions is August 15, 2020, 11:59 p.m. (central daylight time). There is no entry fee. We only accept electronic submissions in PDF format. Because our staff and resources are limited, we can only consider the first 100 submissions.
Please include in your submission:
A sample from your play up to 15 pages. This does not have to be the first 15 pages of the play.
A playwright’s statement (max. 250 words) describing your inspiration for writing the play, as well as how you believe a workshop in a university setting will further your development process.
A synopsis of the play (max. 250 words).
A character list with short descriptions for each character (age, ethnicity, gender, occupation, family relationships, etc.)
Please follow these guidelines when submitting your play:
A playwright may only submit one play per contest. The writer of the play must submit their own work.
Plays that have been previously fully produced or published are ineligible for the contest. Plays that have previously had workshops or staged readings are eligible.
Submissions must be the original work of the playwright, which may include adaptations of fictional or factual material. Translations of other playwrights’ work are not accepted.
The submitting playwright must either be the owner and controller of the copyright or provide written proof that they have acquired the legal right to use copyrighted material in their work.
Submissions must be full-length plays.
Musicals are not accepted. However, plays with limited music requirements are accepted.
The primary language of the play must be English.
There are no other restrictions in subject matter or style.
The Crossroads Project reserves the right to accept or reject any submitted play for any reason.
To submit your play, use the play submission form . Please try the link first to check if the contest is still open.
We will contact semi-finalists by the end of October 2020 and ask them to submit the full play.
The winning playwright will be notified by mid-January 2021.
Inquiries about the Diverse Voices Playwriting Initiative should be directed to:
Kee-Yoon Nahm, D.F.A.
Assistant Professor in Theatre Studies
Chair, The Crossroads Project
About the Crossroads Project
The Crossroads Project was founded in 2000 by Illinois State University (ISU) School of Theatre and Dance (SOTD) faculty member Dr. Leslie Sloan Orr to promote diversity and inclusion in the theatre at ISU and the surrounding communities. The committee consists of faculty members and students in SOTD.
Every other year, the Crossroads Project recommends at least one play to the SOTD production committee that addresses the issues and experiences of underrepresented U.S. ethnic peoples or global cultures. In addition to promoting the work of U.S. playwrights of color such as Elizabeth Wong, Lynn Nottage, Naomi Iizuka, and Suzan Lori-Parks, Crossroads has invited notable international theatre artists to ISU to work with students and engage with the larger community through guest lectures, public talks, and other events. Examples include Ugandan playwright and director Adong Lucy Judith (2018), Delhi-based writer Manjula Padmanabhan (2017), visiting choreographers Jack Gray (Māori) and Dåkot-ta Alcantara-Camacho (Guåhan) (2016), Canadian playwright of Indian descent Rahul Varma (2011), and Kabuki master Shozo Sato (2006).
Crossroads emphasizes community outreach for each theatre production it is involved in, especially seeking ways to promote theatre to underrepresented groups and immigrant communities. In 2013–2014, the Crossroads Project also hosted the Diversity Dialogue Series: Advancing Diversity Consciousness in the Arts, inviting leading artists of color to speak to the campus and community about diversity, inclusion, and equity in the fields of American theatre and dance.