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I really appreciate Playscripts and their work toward creating better theater and theater experiences for all. Jay Muldoon Theater Teacher, Fairfield, OH
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5 Ingredients of a Perfect One-Act Play

Photo courtesy of Kristian D.

As of this writing, the one-act powerhouse Check Please  is four productions shy of hitting the 2,000 mark! That’s 2,000 productions, over 3,600 performances, and more than 25,000 scripts sold.  Not only is it the most-produced play (of any length) in the Playscripts, Inc. catalog, but more importantly the most produced high school short play for the past six consecutive seasons in North America, according to the Educational Theatre Association’s annual play survey .

With all these productions to be had, and the economy as it is, it’s no surprise that many people try their hand at writing a one-act play – particularly teachers. Teachers can make excellent one-act playwrights, and we’ve found that they often write plays for their students when they can’t seem to find a play that matches their class’s casting needs. Some of them, such as Alan Haehnel, Ed Monk and Don Zolidis squeeze even more life out of their plays by submitting them for possible publication at playscripts.com/submit. Alan, Ed and Don must be doing something right, because they are some of our most-produced playwrights!

To get you on your way, here the 5 magic ingredients that we look for when we read a one-act play:

  1. School-appropriateness. G/PG material. Anything too racy just doesn’t fly with most schools.
  2. Cast size. The bigger, the better.
  3. Gender breakdown. It’s no surprise that when auditions for the school play roll around, most of the hopeful faces are usually female. The more female roles in your play, the more attractive it will be to us and to schools (especially all-girl schools!).
  4. Prior productions. Not necessary, but certainly helpful.
  5. Quality. You might have all of the above ingredients, but it’s also got to have that special something! Will actors clamor to star? Will audiences beg for more?

Side note: If you decide to submit your play and we decline, take solace in knowing that only a tiny percentage of submitted plays are selected for publication by Playscripts.

Good luck, and happy writing!

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