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Notre Dame Performing Arts 2021

New Play Festival




2021 New Play Festival Semi-Finalists

Coming Soon

Congratulations to all our finalists! Festival finalists will be announced on November 15. Visit this page often for additional updates.

About the Notre Dame College New Play Festival

Notre Dame College Performing Arts will host its annual National Playwriting Festival in December 2021, showcasing unproduced plays and musicals for young adults and children. A national search has begun, looking for the best and most promising theatrical works relevant to young audiences today.

The two-day festival will consist of 3-5 staged readings of previously unseen theatrical works and will take place in the Regina Auditorium on the Notre Dame College campus. A winner will be chosen through committee/audience voting and will receive a $500 prize, as well as the opportunity to present fully-staged production during the subsequent NDC Spring Semester.

The Notre Dame Performing Arts New Play Festival is generously supported through a grant from Cuyahoga Arts and Culture.

The winner of the 2019 Notre Dame Performing Arts New Play Festival, “MIDNITE” by Rory Leahy and Rena Hardy, received its world premiere production February 2020 and the 2020 winning work, “Alice In Neverland” by Maggie Rader premiered at Notre Dame College in April 2021.

Hosting such a festival allows Notre Dame College Performing Arts to fulfill and enhance its mission of enriching the community and the appreciation of the arts through live performance. By utilizing the talents of the Notre Dame College students, Mercury Theatre Company professional actors, and additional regional artists, the festival furthers our efforts of utilizing the stage as a platform to educate, enlighten and entertain the Greater Cleveland Community.

The Notre Dame College New Play Festival will join the ranks of Penn State, the University of Iowa and the Yale School of Drama as platforms for unproduced works while maintaining the distinction of hosting the only New Play Festival in the Mid-West solely dedicated to new theatrical works for children and young adult audiences. Finally, utilizing the annual festival as a launch-pad for such unproduced theatrical works will distinguish NDC from other area organizations and promote the programming at Notre Dame College to a nationally recognized level.

Notre Dame College 2021 New Play Festival Timeline

September 1 – Begin accepting submissions

October 8   – EXTENDED Submission deadline

October 15 – semi-Finalists announced

November 15 – Festival Finalists announced

December 6 – 7, 2021 – Annual Notre Dame New Play Festival

March 3-4, 2022 – Premiere production of winning work at Notre Dame College

The Process

Beginning September 1 of each year, the Notre Dame College New Play Festival will begin taking digital-copy submissions of new plays and musicals.

The Director of Theatre will ensure the submitted materials follow specified criteria (see below) and will pass the play to a 7-person panel who will judge the merits of each work. Panel members will include the NDC Director of Theatre, a member of the NDC Performing Arts Faculty, a member of the NDC English Department, a playwriting scholar, and 3 NDC Theatre Entrepreneurship majors. Through individualized and joint adjudication, the submissions will be narrowed down to a selection of 3-5 plays and musicals deemed ready for a reading. 

Playwrights will be notified of the status of their submission in mid-October and promotion about the chosen material will begin thereafter.

The festival will take place in early December. The productions will be showcased in a reader’s theatre format open to the public. The winner will be chosen by the selection panel, with consideration given to an audience vote, and announced at a reception upon conclusion of the festival. The winner of each season’s new Playwriting Festival will have the option to receive a fully-developed and produced show as part of the NDC Spring Semester.

A cash prize of $500 will be awarded to the winner dependent upon funding.



There is no submission fee for the Notre Dame College New Play Festival


Submission deadline for 2021 is October 8. Scripts received after that date will be considered the following year.


3-5 finalists will be selected on October 15 of that year and their names will be posted to the Notre Dame College website and social media platforms at that time.


Must be a full-length play/musical for children or young adults without a prior production


A brief synopsis must be sent together with a complete digital manuscript. Submission must include a contact phone number and email address on the play’s title page. No hard-copy submissions will be accepted.


The play must be at least 1 hour and no longer than 90 minutes.


The play must be appropriate for audiences of all ages.


Dramas, comedies and farces (with or without music) are welcome.


Only ONE work per author may be submitted each year.


Cast size limited to no less than 4 or more than 22.


The plays selected will be acted by our student actors with a mix of regional artists where necessary. Plays that can be effectively cast within our market will be considered favorably.


Playwrights who are questioning whether or not their play is a good match for the Notre Dame New Play Festival are strongly encouraged to contact Director of Theatre Pierre Brault at theatre@ndc.edu before submitting.


All plays that are not selected for the current festival can be resubmitted for up to two consecutive festivals, granted no production of the material has occurred.


All qualifying submissions will be read by five to seven readers.

Be advised that the following are not considered qualifying submissions:


Screenplays submitted as theatrical plays


Plays with excessive profanity or violence or are inappropriate for youth audience members

Submit Your New Play

Fill out the form below to submit your original work and be considered for the Notre Dame College 2021 New Play Festival.

Contact Information


Submission Information

Max. file size: 50 MB.
Manuscripts must include your contact phone number and email address on the cover. No hard-copy submissions will be accepted.