New South Young Playwrights Festival

Students—high school through college—are invited to submit completed one act plays for consideration in Horizon Theatre Company’s New South Young Playwrights Festival Contest. 20-25 playwrights are selected to participate in the New South Young Playwrights Festival (in non-virtual years, at Horizon Theatre in the trendy Little Five Points area of Atlanta). This week-long festival is free and includes playwriting workshops, seminars, and rehearsals with professional theatre actors, directors, and playwrights.

The Annual NSYP Short Play Festival is a public reading and (in 2020 and 2021) virtual showcase of the writers’ short plays that were created over their intensive week.

This showcase will be presented LIVE on our Facebook and YouTube pages as well as our website.

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How to Apply

Applications for 2021 are closed. Visit us in the winter/spring of 2022 to submit to next year’s festival!

The choice of subject, style and form is up to you. High school scripts must be no longer than 20 minutes reading time (approximately 15 pages). College scripts may be up to 60 minutes in length (approximately 50 pages), although shorter scripts are acceptable and encouraged. Co-written plays with no more than 2 writers are eligible. 


  • Include 2 copies of your script: One copy should include a title page with your name, permanent residence home address (not your school address), your phone, e-mail, DOB, year in school, and your school name/address/phone. The other copy should have NO IDENTIFYING INFORMATION on the title page: only include the title.
  • High school student submissions are limited to 20 minutes total reading time (15 pages max!). College undergraduate student submissions are limited to 60 minutes total reading time (50 pages max!), though shorter plays are accepted and encouraged.
  • Film scripts, screenplays, or adaptations of other authors’ works are not eligible.
  • Please also provide the name, phone number, and email for your primary writing/theatre advisor or instructor.
  • Please also send in a headshot or photo of yourself, printed or digital.

We also recruit 2-4 current MFA Playwriting candidates as mentors and teaching assistants during the festival week. Current MFA candidates in playwriting are encouraged to apply. FOR IN-PERSON FESTIVAL YEARS: Housing, meals, and travel stipend provided.


1. Why do I have to submit 2 copies of my script? We prefer to score all submissions blindly, without looking at the playwright’s identifying information. Scores are based solely on the writing, rather than any identifying information that could provide a bias.

2. How many winners are selected? We host between 20 and 25 writers from all over the country. We usually receive 7-10 dozen submissions each year. Participants are primarily college undergraduates with a few exceptional high school students.

3. When will I hear if my play has been selected? We begin a rolling notification process at the beginning of April. It may take several weeks for you to receive an update.

4. What will I be doing during the festival week? In our in-person Festival years, a typical day lasted from 9am to 10pm. During last year’s first virtual Festival, our day was from Noon to 10 or 11pm EST to accommodate students and mentors in multiple time zones. We have daily classes, seminars, and writing workshops. Monday – Thursday evenings, we present readings of all the winning submitted plays performed by professional actors. We also attend theater productions 2 evenings during the week.  Each participant is also commissioned to write a new 5-minute play for the mission of the theatre that will be rehearsed with a professional director and cast and then performed for the public on the closing day of the festival. FOR 2021’s VIRTUAL FESTIVAL, ALL FESTIVAL ACTIVITIES WILL BE HELD ONLINE. 

5. What do you mean by ‘housing and travel stipend are provided?’ Since we are all virtual in 2021, this is not relevant this year.  During our in-person Festival, we arrange housing for non-local participants (people who live more than 60 minutes outside of metro-Atlanta) in the area surrounding our theater, the Inman Park neighborhood in Atlanta. Housing is usually a mix of private residences and a local inn. We arrange daily carpools to and from any location that is not within walking distance to the theater. We also arrange transport to and from the airport/train/bus stations for those coming from out of town. Housing and meals are provided Monday evening through Saturday afternoon. Out of town participants will receive a partial travel stipend reimbursement by the last day of the festival to help offset the cost of traveling to and from Atlanta.

6. I have a conflict on one or more of the festival dates. Can I still participate? No. We ask that all participants be fully available to the festival Monday afternoon through Saturday afternoon.

For more information contact or 404.523.1477 x113.