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New Play Festival



    Over the past 35 seasons, TSC has had the pleasure to read, stage, and produce hundreds of  scripts from playwrights all over the world, including 40 world premiere stage productions. Last  season, we decided to narrow our lens from worldwide to our home region of East Tennessee.  This year, we are focusing on supporting the process of playwrighting and setting a foundation  from which playwrights can build stories for the script up. 

    Playwrights are invited to submit their finished drafts or in-process scripts beginning June 1,  2024. The deadline for submission is July 31, 2024. Program directors H. Caitlin Corbitt and  David Ratliff will carefully select three plays to be part of the New Play Development Series. These three plays will enjoy a 4-month-long development process culminating in a two-week  intensive rehearsal process and staged readings as part of the TSC New Play Festival in 2025. 

    For any questions about the development process or submissions, please contact: David Ratliff – 

    To sponsor or donate to the TSC New Play Development Series, please contact: H. Caitlin Corbitt – 


    The TSC New Play Development Series champions the growth of plays that embrace,  investigate, and confront the varied geographical, philosophical, cultural, aesthetic, and  political dimensions of the Southern American experience—whether past or present, rural or  urban, fact or fiction. Our focus is on engaging with the desires, aspirations, worries, and  dreams of the Southern American authors and audiences. 

    We are on the lookout for plays and playwrights that spark our imagination and ambition. We  are looking for plays that we simply can’t wait to see realized. Submissions across all genres and  styles are welcome. 


    • The submission must be an original, unpublished full-length play or a play in progress  that is at least 50% complete. Previous staged readings and workshops are permissible.

    • Works that have previously been produced or published are ineligible. Additionally,  plays slated for professional production upon submission will not be considered. While  simultaneous submissions are allowed, please inform TSC promptly if your play is  chosen elsewhere for development or production. 

    • The submission should be a play you are interested in actively advancing in a  developmental environment. 

    • The submission must include a title page containing the play’s title, playwright’s details  including name, address, phone number, and email address, along with a character list  and scene breakdown, if applicable.  

    • Manuscripts must be legible, typed in a minimum of 12-point font, and paginated. 

    • The submission must be intended for an English-speaking audience and written  primarily in the English Language. 

    • The submission must be able to be performed by six or fewer cast members. Doubling  /multiple character tracks are welcome. 

    • Playwrights may submit multiple works, but once submitted, no revisions will be  accepted before the selection announcement. Revised plays previously submitted to  TSC are welcome for resubmission. 

    • Critiques will not be provided for submitted scripts. Email notification will be sent to  selected playwrights whose plays are chosen for readings. The three selected plays will  be announced on our website by August 16, 2024. 

    • In order to be considered, the script must be submitted no earlier than June 1, 2024 and  no later than July 31, 2024.  


    Once playwrights are invited to participate, they are paired with a dramaturg and a facilitator.  Playwrights and dramaturgs are required to be present for casting auditions to advise the  facilitators.  

    DRAMATURG: For our purposes, dramaturgs work the closest with the playwright in the  development process. They can serve as personal trainers in keeping the playwright on  schedule with drafts. They can serve as therapists being a sounding board off of which the  playwright can bounce ideas. They can serve as a coach to challenge the playwrights creatively  with questions and observations. They can serve as editors in offering suggestions for re-writes 

    or providing ideas for plot development. Ultimately, our dramaturgs will function as all of the  above in service of the playwright and their individual goals for the script. Dramaturgs are  empowered to offer feedback freely, often, and without solicitation. 

    FACILITATOR: For our purposes, facilitators serve in the role historically held by a director.  Facilitators are directly responsible for interacting with the cast and helping them to interpret  the play as accurately to the playwright’s vision as possible. Their responsibility is to help the  playwright and dramaturg see and hear exactly what is on the page of the script without any  added artistic vision or interpretation. Facilitators are also practiced in the Critical Response  Process and will facilitate all feedback sessions, whether in rehearsal or at public readings.  Facilitators are asked to only offer feedback when solicited by the playwright and dramaturg.  

    Each play will have closed readings with cast, dramaturg, and facilitator in September-October 2024 and will receive at least one public table reading at the Knox County Public Library in  October-November 2024. At each of these readings, the facilitator will lead feedback sessions  with the respondents. Work between playwrights and dramaturgs during the development  process will be ongoing and catered to fit the needs of each playwright. Throughout the  development period, playwrights are encouraged to revise their plays to whatever extent they  desire. 

    Each play will have two weeks of nightly intensive rehearsals facilitated by the Tennessee Stage  Company that will take place in Knoxville, Tennessee with the playwright, dramaturg, actors,  and facilitator. Week 1 will be December 2-5, 2024. Week 2 will be December 16-19, 2024. During these rehearsals, playwrights and dramaturgs have space to further develop the scripts  by trying-out new pages, reworking scenes, having the facilitator conduct discussions with the  cast, hearing full read-throughs, and doing whatever work is needed to prepare the scripts for  the readings at the New Play Festival. Throughout the rehearsal period, playwrights are  encouraged to revise their plays to whatever extent they desire. 

    The 2025 TSC New Play Festival will be held at the Clarence Brown Lab Theatre January 2-12,  2025. Participating playwrights are required to be present for the entire duration of the festival. Each play will receive three public staged readings as part of the festival: the first during the  first weekend and the final two during the second weekend. Throughout the rehearsal process,  playwrights are encouraged to revise their plays to whatever extent they desire; however,  script revisions will be locked 24 hours prior to each festival staged reading in order for actors  and facilitators to adequately prepare. 

    At the TSC New Play Festival, plays are showcased as staged readings. Depending on the needs  of the individual scripts and playwrights, a staged reading can mean anything from actors on  stools with music stands to readings featuring minimal blocking, props, and lighting. It will not,  however, include memorization or full production elements. It’s essential to note that this is a  development-focused series; we do not currently fully produce plays as part of the development series.

    TSC does not seek any rights to the presented plays at any stage. Playwrights selected for this  development series, along with actors, stage managers, dramaturgs, and facilitators, will  receive a modest stipend.


    When are plays selected? 

    Final decisions about which plays we will be developing will be made by August 16, 2024. 

    How many submissions are accepted? 

    Three plays will be selected for the development series. 

    How are the plays selected? 

    All plays are read from beginning to end by both program directors, H. Caitlin Corbitt and David  Ratliff. TSC Artistic Director Tom Parkhill will serve as a tie-breaker if needed. 

    How will I be contacted if my play is chosen? 

    Playwrights will be contacted by email between August 1, 2024 and August 16, 2024 if their  play has been chosen. The three selected plays will be announced on our website by August 16,  2024. 

    I have lots of plays. How do I pick which one to send? 

    Please don’t fret over what you think we’re looking for, what you believe the Knoxville audience  might prefer, or even what seems “marketable”—that’s not our focus here. We’re eager to hear  about the play that currently ignites your passion! Your unique voice and vision are what  captivate us. Our track record demonstrates that we embrace a diverse range of styles, genres,  cast sizes, and more in our developmental journey. 

    Can I submit multiple plays? 

    If absolutely necessary, you may submit multiple plays, but please note that a separate  submission form is required for each play. Keep in mind our primary interests lie in the play that  currently ignites your passion the most. While you might have a couple of projects you’re  fervently passionate about, if that number starts to climb to three, four, or five… we’ll have  some questions… 

    Can I submit a musical? 

    At this time, we are only accepting plays or plays with minimal music. We hope to accept  submissions for musicals in the near future! 

    Can I submit an adaptation?

    Sure, if you have already received the rights to adapt it and can provide the necessary  documentation or if the piece you’re adapting is in the public domain, and if the play meets all  other requirements. 

    Can I submit a one-person play? 

    Yes, you can submit a one person play. That being said, if your play is selected for development,  know that we will ask you to only serve as the playwright of the piece during the development  period and not as the actor or facilitator. 

    Can I submit a play I’ve submitted to TSC before? 

    Certainly, if it is still the play you are most interested in actively developing. 

    I am not from the South, nor do I live there now. Can I submit? 

    At this time, we are only focusing on playwrights who are either native to the East Tennessee  region or who currently reside here. 

    Can I submit a historical play, or a play set somewhere beside the South? Yes, of course! 

    Still have questions? 

    Send an email to David Ratliff. He can help! 

    David Ratliff –

    Thank you to our partners and sponsors

    This season’s projects are being supported in whole or in part by federal award number SLFRP5534, awarded to the State of Tennessee, the City of Knoxville, and Knox County by the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Arts & Culture Alliance.

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