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The Kennedy Center

Playwriting Resources

Resources for Teachers and Students

Image of playwright Discovery Guide cover

Playwriting supports core subjects, reinforces 21st century learning skills, and helps students discover their creative potential. This newly revised guide shares teaching strategies and exercises that have proven successful in developing students' playwriting skills. Resources on the topics of disability are also provided. This publication is available online. Download your copy.

Script Format Example
Download an example of how to format your one-act play submission to the VSA Playwright Discovery Award program.

Disability in Literature and Film
Download a list of books, plays, and films that feature a character with a disability or focus on the theme of disability. Students and teachers may access this resource to research the topic of disability or to spark classroom discussion.

Essays on the Disability Experience
Download a series of short essays on the disability experience, written by theater professionals with disabilities.

The Ten-Minute Play
This year we invite Senior Division student playwrights to explore the Ten-Minute play. This style is encouraged for the senior division, but is not required. Please read the following definition and let it be your guide before submitting your ten-minute play. The Kennedy Center defines the ten minute play as follows:

A Ten-Minute Play is a play with at least two characters. It is not a scene, skit, or sketch. Structurally, it should have a beginning, middle, and end, just as any good one-act or full-length play. Reaching beyond the surface, the text should be enriched with subtext. Since we only have ten minutes to bring the story full circle, a dramatic conflict should be posed as quickly as possible. The resolution of that conflict is what plays out across the remaining pages. The true success of a Ten-Minute Play is reliant on the writer’s ability to bring an audience through the same cathartic/entertaining experience that a good one-act or full-length play accomplishes; i.e., sympathetic characters with recognizable needs encompassed within a resolvable dramatic conflict.

Finally: ten-minutes means eight or nine pages, but certainly no more than ten pages. READ YOUR PLAY OUT LOUD to see how it times out using standard playwriting format, 12 pt. Times New Roman font.

Contact Us

If you have questions about these awards or would like to receive a copy of these materials, including the Resource Guide for Teachers, in an alternate format please contact us at (202) 416-8898 (voice) or