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Welcome to

The Write to be Heard©

A one-act playwriting competition for grade 8-12 students
Within a 60-mile radius of Buffalo, NY

Click on topics below to learn more

Competition guidelines and prizes flyer
Frequently asked questions
Letter to educators
Suggested morning announcement and newsletter article
How do I start?
Physical Layout of a Script
Workshop information
Past winners
How winners are chosen
Dramaturgy: Getting involved in choosing and performing


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Competition, guidelines, and flyer

The Write to Be Heard©

A one-act playwriting competition for grade 8-12 students

within a 60-mile radius of Buffalo, NY

(Canadian entries are most welcome.)

$1,000 Scholarship for the Winning Playwright!

Plus your play performed at a downtown Buffalo public theatre with a staged reading at Barnes & Noble Booksellers, Amherst. You will also receive gifts, recognition, and involvement in the rehearsal process.


  • Submit it yourself; no counselors, teachers, or parents. No collaborations.
  • Not previously produced.
  • Must be an original one act. No screenplays, adaptations or musicals.
  • Must be received by the  annual January 7 deadline.
  • Typed 12 pt., double-spaced, single sided.
  • Number all pages and staple.
  • Title page must have your name, complete home mailing address & phone number, e-mail address (if you have one) Sponsoring Teacher's name & title, school mailing address & phone number.
  • Your identification information mus not appear anywhere else on the script.
  • Include a character list at the beginning of the play.
  • 4 copies of each play. Sorry, no returns!
  • Submit as many original scripts as you want.
  • 25 minutes or shorter preferred.
  • The subject matter is totally up to you. Past winners have included themes of humor, social justice, family conflict, love and hate, and absurdity. The sky is the limit.
  • The winning play becomes the property of The Write to Be Heard.


Send to:

The Write to Be Heard©

3842 Harlem Road

Suite 400- # 204

Cheektowaga, NY14215


Western Region

proudly endorses THE WRITE TO BE HEARD

For more information contact Margo Davis at

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Frequently asked questions

The Write to Be Heard©



Can I write it with someone else?

Sorry. Only single author scripts.

Can I submit more than one play?

Of course. Submit as many unpresented plays as you like, as long as they have been written within 365 days of the current January 7th deadline.

When will I know if I won?

You should know by March.

Who decides the winner?

Students nominated from throughout the region volunteer as dramaturges to read all of the plays aloud as a group, discuss them, individually rank them and choose a winner to be performed. If you are interested in becoming a dramaturg, please visit the Dramaturgy section of or email us.

If I don't win, will I receive feedback on my play?

Because the competition is growing, it is becoming increasingly more difficult to provide individual feedback. However, if you do request it at the time of your submission and provide a stamped, self-addressed envelope, we'll make every effort to share feedback. Historically,If time and logistics (volunteers/interns) haveallowed, we have provided feedback for all participants. We will do our best to continue this.

Is there a 2nd and 3rd prize?

Yes. Barnes and Noble Booksellers generously donates items, and you receive free tickets to the premiere of the grand prize winning play, where a portion of your play may be presented as a staged reading. You may also be eligible for a scholarship and a production of your play.

What makes a good play?

Many things. The Web will be able to help. Ensemble pieces have historically been highly successful. Winners have included comedy, drama, absurd, fantasy, science fiction, etc. Other elements include interesting, well-developed characters with something that makes you want to understand them; worthwhile topic and theme; cleverness and originality. We also offer workshops for interested groups. Visit for more information.

If I entered last year, may I enter again?

Of course you can! Just be sure your script was written within 365 dys of the current deadline.

How much do I pay to enter?

Entry is free. No money.

When can I enter?

You may send in your script any time before the current January 7th deadline . Just make sure that the post mark is that day or earlier. Sorry, no on-line submissions.

How do I get more information?

See the flyers posted at your school, contact

 Or visit

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Letter to educators

The Write to Be Heard©


Dear Educator,

Celebrating over a dozen years of success for student writers and actors, The Write To Be Heard© Student Playwriting Competition offers all students in grades 8 through 12 within a 60-mile radius of Buffalo the opportunity to write a one-act play and have a public performance at a downtown Buffalo public theatre.

The winning playwright will:

  • Receive a $1,000 scholarship from the Laura L. Adams Foundation
  • Have his/her play performed at a downtown Buffalo public theatre
  • Receive a staged reading of his/her play at Barnes and Noble Booksellers, Amherst
  • Be actively involved in the production and rehearsal process

Additional awards, recognition and involvement are granted to finalists as well.

If you think that an introductoryplay writing workshop would benefit your students, either within the academic day or as part of an extra-curricular activity, please contact us.

Please spread the word to your students and share the information with interested faculty. Enclosed you will find:

  • a flyer for duplication, posting and distribution to interested students (may also be included in your school's show playbill)
  • A list of Frequently Asked Questions
  • suggestions for a morning announcement and a student newspaper article

For more information Margo Davis at

or visit

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Suggested morning announcements and newsletter article

The Write to Be Heard©


Suggested Morning Announcement:

"Hey! You have something to say! Right? Write it! Do you want a $1,000 scholarship? Any student in grades 8 through 12 interested in writing a one-act play and submitting it to The Write To Be Heard© Playwriting Competition has a chance to win a $1,000 scholarship and a production of their play presented at a downtown Buffalo public theatre and more. Please see (insert school contact name) for details. Or go to THE WRITE TO BE HEARD dot com."

Suggested Short Newsletter Article:





If you have written a play recently or have wanted to, you can enter it for a chance to win a $1,000 scholarship. In addition to receiving the scholarship, your play will be produced and performed by area students at your school, and at a downtown Buffalo public theatre in the spring. Your play will also receive a staged reading at Barnes and Noble Booksellers, Amherst and you will also be a part of the entire rehearsal process.

The second and third place winners will also receive awards, recognition and involvement.

For a chance to win a $1,000 scholarship, just get your play mailed before January 7th and be sure to follow the guidelines. For more information, please see (insert school contact name), or visit

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How to I start?

The Write to Be Heard©

(If you are interested, we can also provide a workshop for you. Just contact us.)

Do you have a gem of an idea?

Get a cup of something, sit, and let your mind wander.

Who is it about? Where does it happen? What causes it? What bugs you? What makes you laugh? What did you just discover?

Jot down your ideas. Rome wasn't built in a day. If you have lots of ideas, write all of them down. One will float higher than the others.

Write a poem or a monologue or a stream of consciousness.

A poem is often an internal voice at a crossroads.

Include/imagine a character saying it. What makes the character say it?

Reread your poem to dig into the thoughts, feelings, or issue without worrying about "the poetry"

What happened just before it was said? What happened just before that? Others involved? Allow yourself to "write all over the place" You can pare down later. (The poem or monologue usually becomes the scaffold for the climax of the play.

Is there a photograph or painting that moves you?

Why? Write about it. What brings the people in the photo to where they are- physically, emotionally, intellectually, etc? What are they saying, feeling, not saying? What happened the moment before?

What makes a play a play?

Someone (or something) can't get something, tries; either does or does not succeed. That "something" need not be tangible. A wants something. B wants something. Push comes to shove. Result is either win/win, win/lose, or win/lose.


Single locations work best for one-act plays.

Be sure that all the characters don't sound the same.

Keep your main focus/theme idea in sight.

Make it happen in the now, rather than people talking about what happened last week, year, century.

Write on a computer and save everything. Labeling each as draft 1, 2, 9, etc.

When printing drafts and reading them, print one and a half or double space and write all over them

Always adhere to guidelines and deadlines or you risk disqualification. Sad after such hard work.

Final Words

It's not about the destination; it's about the ride. So hop on and enjoy. Nobody's watching. If you come to a standstill, just get off, take in other scenery, when you're ready, get back on. You may find yourself going in an entirely new direction and that's fine. Just go.

Margo Davis

Executive Director

The Write To Be Heard©

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Physical Layout of a Script

The Write to Be Heard©

Sam:    I don't know how to actually format a script of a play I want to write and I don't know where to find out.

Pam:    Well, for one thing, the name of person who is speaking is on the left, (or sometimes centered above) the words they say. But it takes more paper the second way.

Sam:    O.K.

Pam:    There's usually a colon after their names too.

Sam:    (opening up a note book) What else?

Pam:    When the playwright wants to add a stage direction, he or she puts the stage direction in parentheses and italics.

Sam:    Is there more?

Pam:    Not that I can think of…..except that pages should be numbered, typed on only one side, and a cast list should have its own page at the beginning of the play after the title page.

Sam:    Hmm…..that doesn't sound so difficult.

Pam:    NOPE! Oh, wait. It should be at least one and a half spaced between lines.

Sam:    Got it.

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Workshop information

The Write to Be Heard©

We understand that it is sometimes difficult to find the time during a busy school day to introduce students to the joys, techniques, and other specifics of play writing. Margo Davis, actor, director, educatio, and Executive Director of THE WRITE TO BE HEARD, along with several professional playwrights and writing educators, are available to present custom workshops at your school, either during the school day or after school as part of your drama club or other extra-curricular activity. Just contact us at

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Past winners

The Write to Be Heard©

Past The Write To Be Heard Grand Prize Winners:

THE MESS I MADE by Maria Patnella

Mount Saint Mary Academy


WHEELS TO COURT by Christopher Shipman

Buffalo School 84


BEING WHAT WE ARE by Meredith Jones

Hamburg High School


HOW DID WE GET HERE by Kate Boswell

Kenmore East High School


THEN AND NOW by Fredrica Germany

Buffalo Academy for Visual and Performing Arts


A TIME FOR MERCY, by Elizabeth Norwich

Niagara Falls High School


HE SAYS, SHE SAYS, by Claire Armstrong

Welland Centennial Secondary School, Ontario


MIA, by Tearra Rhodes

Buffalo Academy of the Sacred Heart


PROCEED WITH CAUTION, by Jennifer Graham

Niagara Falls High School


AN ACT IN ONE PLAY, by Paul Gradowski

Niagara Falls High School


A QUARTER, by Gretchen Graham

Buffalo Seminary


POST, by Rachael Brody

Williamsville South High School


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How winners are chosen...

The Write to Be Heard©

Students in grades 8 through 12 from schools who have teachers who are members in good standing of the New York State Theatre Education Association are the first eligible to take part in the selection process. If you are interested, just contact us.

For information about how to get involved, see Getting involved in choosing and performing

Students meet for one day, read all plays aloud together, taking character roles, comment both in writing and through discussion, pick the few best, reread, and decide on winners. Playwright's identities are anonymous.

Whenever possible, all entrants are sent written response to their submissions based on student dramaturge reaction.

Dramaturges consider these main ideas:

Stage worthiness

    Concept - is the idea worth putting on stage..

    logistics(dramaturgs usually perceive multi-scene pieces  as film, not theatre)

Theme relevance


Characterization Clarity

Mechanics, following the rules , readability



Audience/stage appropriate

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Getting involved in choosing and performing (or even directing)

The Write to Be Heard©

Choosing the winner - Dramaturgy

To join the group that reads the plays together and decides the winner, just email and we will get you an interest forms. The Dramaturgy committee is usually limited to 20 participants.

We meet one Saturday in late January or early February to read the plays and decide the winners. We love to get a group together from different backgrounds, schools, ages, etc. So you are very welcome to contact w2bh. But do so early, as it is first come first served. (It looks great on college apps too)

Performing - Becoming a member of THE WRITE TO BE HEARD© company

Teachers and the media receive information regarding audition location, date, and requirements in February or March.

If a student is interested in becoming involved in the play selection process or auditioning to perform in a winning play, their school may want to affiliate with NYSTEA, teachers may join by contacting or emailing Directors usually handle casting directly.

If you are interested in directing, please contact us. We’d love to hear from you!

Annual play submission deadline is January 7.

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The Write to Be Heard

Click here to contact t, or...

Mail play submissions to:


3842 Harlem Road

Suite 400-204

Cheektowaga, NY 14215

Plays are accepted in hard copy only.

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The Write to Be Heard

August,'10: It's not too early to think about writing a play for this year's comptetion.

July,'10: We are THRILLED that LKPro has offered to host, bringing us into the 21st century! If you have any suggestions regarding making this site more helpful, please feel free to email us! Thank you, LKPro! You are awesome! (They really are!)

2010 Winner Announced
Congratulations to this year's winner, Maria Patnella of Mount St Mary Academy for her winning play, THE MESS I MADE.   Her play was premiered at The New Phoenix Theatre on the Park in April for over 75 audience members.  Dealing with alienation and boundries, and cleverly directed by Tilke Hill, the play launched a lively post performance inter-generational discussion about communication, music, texting, and their social effects on youth and adults.

This the first play that Maria, a 10th grader, has written.  "It was amazing to watch my words come off the page and into human beings.  From the first audition to the final performance, it was awesome!" states Maria.  Keep writing!

SHARPEN YOUR PENCIL, squeek your mouse, kick up your keyboard and get the juices flowing.  The next Competition for $1,000. is on!  Write Brain, Write On...


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A one-act playwriting competition for grade 8-12 students
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