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     |    ’14-’15 Selectected Scripts    |    Past Winners

The Process

For the 2014-2015 Iowa Playwrights Workshop, 3-5 plays will be selected for a workshop rehearsal process with actors, culminating in public readings at various locations. Of the initially selected scripts, 1-2 finalists will be chosen for a staged reading at Tallgrass Theatre’s Rex Mathes Auditorium.

Rehearsal Process:
Each selected script will receive approximately 4-5 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 a local venue.* This reading will be free and open to the public. For the reading, a panel of experts will be invited to provide live feedback on the script. Live discussion with the playwright at this event is optional, and not required.
Audience members will also be invited to 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- 2 finalists will be chosen for a formal staged reading.

*Venues to be announced.

Staged Reading:
The selected finalists will be expected to revise their scripts 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. Each script will be performed twice.

Submission Guidelines 2014-2015

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 2014-2015 Season is September 21, 2014.  If your script is selected for the Iowa Playwrights Workshop, you will be notified by October 1, 2014.  The workshop process for selected scripts will occur in October, November, and January of 2014/2015.  The selected finalist(s) for the staged reading will be announced on February 1, 2015 with performances to be held on February 27-28, 2015.

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 possibly 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 September 21, 2014 will be considered for the 2014-15 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.

-Plays with cast requirements of more than 8 people should be avoided (plays with more than 8 characters will be accepted if roles can be double-cast to utilize 8 actors or fewer; double-casting info should be noted on application)

Previous Winners

Recent Winning Scripts

2013-14 Season:

  • Vaudeville Dreams by Janet Schlapkohl

Previous Workshop Productions