Ensemble Theatre kicks off annual playwriting contest

Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati has launched its annual playwriting competition for local college students.

Now in its sixth cycle, PLAY/write: The Jackie Demaline Regional Collegiate Playwriting Competition is open to students currently enrolled full- or part-time at any regional college or university.

The contest got its name from Jackie Demaline, a longtime arts and theater reporter for the Cincinnati Enquirer. She passed away on June 17, 2018. As her final gift to the community, she arranged for her estate to fund the PLAY/write competition.

The Ensemble Theatre described her as an “important catalyst for change and growth” during a time when theaters and companies were popping up across Greater Cincinnati.

There will be up three winners this year. Each winner will receive $2,500 from the Jackie Demaline Fund and a professionally staged reading of their script.

“Through this, her legacy lives on—providing new voice development, kick-starting arts careers, and caring for the community through thoughtful programming,” the Ensemble Theatre wrote in a release.

About the contest

Submissions must be original, unpublished full-length plays of at least 50 pages. They must be in English. Translations, musicals, adapted works and children’s plays aren’t eligible.

The subject matter for submissions is open. However, the play should address some of the characteristics Demaline considered when critiquing theater for the Enquirer for more than 20 years.

Questions the Ensemble staff suggests writers consider follow:

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

Entries are due by 11:59 p.m. on April 30. To submit a play, visit the competition’s website.

Send questions about the competition or the submission process to Jared D. Doren, Ensemble Theatre’s programming and events manager.

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