Living with Disabilities

The VSA Playwright Discovery Program


Part of the New Jersey Young Playwrights Contest, and inspired by its contract with VSA to teach playwriting to people with disabilities, we are looking for plays written by people with disabilities.  This category is intended to encourage the creation of plays that can be sent to the National VSA Playwright Discovery Program.

The three divisions in this category correspond to the national contest submission guidelines: Primary (grades 6-7), Junior (Grades 8-9) and Senior (grades 9-12).

This is not an exclusive category, students can submit to both the NJ Young Playwrights Contest and the Living With Disabilities Category.

Criteria (as posted on the VSA Playwright Discovery Program website):

  • “Young writers with disabilities and collaborative groups that include students with disabilities, in U.S. grades 6-12 (or equivalents) or ages 11-18 for non-U.S. students, are invited to explore the disability experience through the art of writing for performance: plays, screenplays, spoken word poetry (for single performer or a group), or music theater. Writers are encouraged to craft short works from their own experiences and observations, create fictional characters and settings, or choose to write metaphorically or abstractly about the disability experience.
  • “Young writers with disabilities are encouraged to submit a ‘ten-minute script’ of any genre. Entries may be the work of an individual student or a collaboration by a group of up to five students. The competition has three divisions: grades 6-7, grades 8-9, and grades 10-12 (or equivalents). A panel of theater professionals selects division winners.
  • “One winning piece is chosen in the Primary and Junior Divisions (grades 6-7 / ages 11-13 and 8-9 / ages 13-15 respectively). Winners will be featured in the press and on the Kennedy Center website.
  • “Selected winners in the Senior Division (grades 10-12 / ages 15-18) will receive exclusive access to participate in the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival in Washington, D.C., and the opportunity to participate in staged readings and workshops alongside the nation’s premier collegiate playwrights as well as participate in the festival’s award ceremony.

If your play qualifies for this category, please check the appropriate box in the NJ Young Playwrights Application form.

Writers Theatre will facilitate entry into the National VSA Playwright Discovery Program for the maximum number of submissions allowed by VSA.