Iowa Playwrights Workshop

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It’s Our Mission

One element of Tallgrass Theatre’s mission is to provide an outlet for local talent to explore and develop.
Tallgrass Theatre would like to invite writers, actors, and audience members to experience the process of creating theatre together. Our Iowa Playwrights Workshop (IPW) allows writers and actors to grow in their craft while developing new works of theatre.  It also invites the audience to be part of the process and see how scripts grow and change from the first reading to a staged performance!
The Iowa Playwrights Workshop is dedicated to developing and nurturing the theatre craft in Iowa.

Process    |    Submission Guidelines     |    ’15-’16 Selectected Scripts    |    Past Winners

The Process

For the 2015-2016 Iowa Playwrights Workshop, 3 plays have been selected for a workshop rehearsal process with actors, culminating in public readings at various locations. Of the initially selected scripts, 1 finalist will be chosen for a staged reading at Tallgrass Theatre’s Rex Mathes Auditorium.

Rehearsal Process:
Each selected script will receive approximately 3 rehearsals with actors and 1 expert (an experienced playwright, writer, director, or actor). During this process the playwright is encouraged to make revisions to his/her script before the public reading.

Public Readings:
At the completion of the rehearsal process, selected scripts will be given a public reading at Table 128 Bistro + Bar. Readings are free and open to the public. For the readings, a panel of experts will be invited to provide live feedback on the script. Audience members will also be invited to join the discussion as well as give feedback through comment cards and social media. In addition, the audience will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite script! After all selected scripts for the season have had their public reading, 1 finalist will be chosen for a formal staged reading.

Staged Reading:
The selected finalist will be expected to revise his/her script between the public and staged readings based on the feedback they received from the public reading. Scripts will be given a two-week rehearsal process prior to the staged reading performance. The staged reading will be limited to black boxes and simple clothing; no sets or costumes will be used. The playwright may make revisions during week 1 of rehearsal only.
The Staged Reading will be a ticketed event at Rex Mathes Auditorium.

Submission Guidelines 2015-2016

Who: Any person with ties to Iowa (current or past resident, school, etc.) may submit their work to the Iowa Playwrights Workshop.

What: Your script. Your art. Your story. Your piece of Theatre.

Script submissions do not need to be finished products at the time of submission; however, script submissions should be complete (beginning, middle, end) works in progress. The purpose of the workshop is to provide you, the playwright, with a space to develop your art through interaction with actors and other artists.  The Iowa Playwrights Workshop is an opportunity to receive feedback from experienced writers, directors, and actors, and ultimately present the work to an audience. You should expect and want your piece of theatre to go through a revision process, change, and improve.

When: The deadline for submitting scripts to the Iowa Playwrights Workshop for the 2015-2016 Season is June 1st, 2015.  Workshops and performance will occur though the months of June, July, August and September.  Please indicate on your application if you have time restrictions to certain months.

Where: Selected script submissions will be given approximately 4-5 rehearsals with actors and one expert. Rehearsals will be held at Tallgrass Theatre in the Rex Mathes Auditorium in West Des Moines, Iowa. Public script readings will be held at local venues in the Des Moines area. The staged reading for finalists will be held at Tallgrass Theatre in the Rex Mathes Auditorium. If the playwright is unable to be present in Des Moines for the rehearsal process or readings, technology can be utilized to bring you to us.


-Plays must be e-mailed in Microsoft Word or Adobe PDF format to (Scanned, handwritten scripts will not be accepted).

-Play submission must be accompanied by Iowa Playwrights Workshop Application.  Download, complete, and save the application to send along with your script(s).

Click here to download application.

-Plays may be submitted at any time; however, only plays submitted on or before June 1st, 2015 will be considered for the 2015-16 Workshop.

– One full-length play per playwright will be accepted per submission year. (Playwrights may submit more than one short play if the plays are intended to be produced together.)


If you have questions about the submission limitations please contact

-Playwrights must have a strong Iowa connection; the IPW application allows Playwrights to describe their Iowa connection.

– Plays which have received prior performances will not be considered, and any past use of the script or performances should be indicated on the IPW application. Prior staged readings and academic performances may be acceptable, but should be noted on the application.

– Plays which have been published will not be considered.

– Musicals requiring live music for performance (unless playwright can provide all musicians) will not be considered.

– Cast requirements should be no more than 6.  Plays with more than 6 characters will be accepted if the roles can be double-cast to utilize no more than 6 actors.  Doubling information should be noted within the script or application.

Previous Winning Workshop Scripts

  • 2014-15 Season: Lesser Gods by William Bonfiglio
  • 2013-14 Season: Vaudeville Dreams by Janet Schlapkohl
  • 2012-13 Season: Open House by Craig N. Owens
  • 2011-12 Season: Dancing with the Moon by Tom Deiker
  • 2010-11 Season: Again and Again, and Eventually by Erica Spiller
  • 2009-10 Season: Flutter the Dovecotes by Christine Meinecke
  • 2008-09 Season: Sleeping Dogs by Robert John Ford
  • 2007-08 Season: A Simple Matter of Fear by Kay Rhoads
  • 2006-07 Season: A Light that Burns by Erica Spiller