High School Playwrights

Art and Science

PlayFest Santa Barbara invites all high school student authors and playwrights from Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, and Ventura Counties to submit One Act plays with a scientific bent, meaning any subject or setting that touches on how science and technology affects our lives. Broadly, this means plays could be set on the NASA space station, or in a biological laboratory. Or it could take place in an ordinary house if what the characters are concerned about has something to do with science.


Honorariums of $350 and $150 will be granted to the top two high school playwrights, with the top awardee also receiving a public reading of their play. Both awardees will receive writing mentorships from a professional playwright.

These awards are made possible through the support of PlayFest’s 2019 Honoree Playwright, A. R. Nicholas, whose play Out There Right Here explores the intersection of science and religion.

Playwriting Instructions

Submitted One Act plays must be between 10 and 50 pages in length, utilizing 12pt type, and with attention paid to a standard playwriting format (listed at the bottom of this page).

The author’s name and contact information must be listed on the title page. Plays should be emailed to rmgros@playfestsantabarbara.org and must be received by May 15,  2019.  

All students interested in science and theatre are encouraged to apply. Awardees will be notified by May 20th and will be publicly announced at the reading of Out There Right Here on May 25th at the Santa Barbara Main Library.

For more information contact R. Michael Gros, Co-Artistic Director of PlayFest Santa Barbara via rmgros@playfestsantabarbara.org

Instructions for Standard Playwriting Format

-Use 12-point font throughout the manuscript. 

-Avoid italics (except for occasional word emphasis).

-Use an ordinary serif face type such as Times New Roman or Palatino.

-Dialogue pages are formatted with a top margin of 0.75” – 1.0”, and a bottom margin of 1.0” – 1.5”. The left and right margins are set at around 1.0”.

-The first letter of each character name is centered, with the name then continuing out toward the right margin. Use tab settings for the alignment of character names rather than the center alignment function.

-Dialogue is single-spaced.

-Opening stage directions are centered on the page.

-Character stage directions and general stage directions occur within acts or scenes.

-They stand alone in the manuscript with parentheses and are single-spaced.

Guidelines for pagination:

-Numbering begins with the first page of dialogue.

-Numbers are always in the upper right-hand corner of the page.

-Each act is numbered consecutively through the end of an act: I-1 I-2 I-3