Photo:  Jason Wighton

Playwriting Rules

The Newmarket National Ten Minute Play Festival is seeking 24 short original plays to produce for our fourth annual festival,

July 20-26, 2020.  The competition is open to all playwrights living in Canada or from Canadian citizens living abroad.

All entrants must follow the Submission Instructions.


Submission window is now closed.  Thank you.


1. We only accept electronic submissions in Microsoft Word. Please note that we do not accept pdfs.  Word allows us to make notes in the margins should we wish to discuss revisions with you before or as a condition of production.  If you produce your work on a Mac, please be sure that your document will open on a PC.   


2. When formatting your play, you may use any of the “Stage Play” or “Play Script” formats available on line.  Many offer templates in Microsoft Word where you merely have to fill in the blanks…so away you go!

3. We are looking for NEW plays. Please do not send us anything that has previously been produced or published. 


4. Your play must contain at least two (2) characters, but no more than four (4).


5.  If you are new to the ten minute play format, there are excellent resources available on line or to purchase in print.  Simplest point to keep in mind is that your play should focus more on dialogue than monologues.  You only have ten minutes to make a lot happen.

6. Because plays are adjudicated “blind,” please place your name ONLY on the title page (along with all your contact information), and be sure your play title appears as a header on each script page. 


7.  Play rehearsals and/or performances may be recorded or photographed for archival purposes. 

8. Submitting your play grants the Newmarket National Ten-Minute Play Festival all performance rights for the duration of the festival.  The 24 playwrights (finalists) whose plays are produced, will receive an honorarium through our Playwrights Progress Program.  In addition, the 24 finalists qualify for the grand prize of $350 for best play, second place prize of $100, and third place prize of $50. 


9.  Submitting your play also grants the Newmarket National Ten Minute Play Festival the right to use your name, play title, video excerpts from your play, or photographs from your play for promotional purposes for the current festival, and in the promotion of future festivals.


10. Playwrights may submit up to THREE plays in any festival year, but may not resubmit any play that has been previously entered in the NNTMPF contest.  No more than one play by any playwright will be produced, regardless of the number of scripts submitted.  Play selections will be finalized sometime around mid-April.  Everyone who has made a submission will receive an email announcing whose work will be produced in the 2020 festival.  Winners of the playwriting awards will be announced after the final performance of the festival.  


11.  Keep your play to no more than ten minutes in length, approximately eight-ten pages when using proper script format.  Read it aloud and time it before submitting it! Scripts should have minimal set and technical requirements.  

12.  Playwrights should note that the NNPF reserves the right to use gender-neutral casting.

If you have any questions concerning the above rules, or wish further information, please contact