Student Jane Chambers Playwriting Contest
The Jane Chambers Student Playwriting Award recognizes plays and performance texts created by cis/trans/female-identifying women that present a feminist perspective and contain significant opportunities for female performers. This competition is open to both graduate and undergraduate students. The Jane Chambers Award for emergent playwrights encourages diversity of style and content. All forms of drama are accepted, including solo performance work.
The winning play will receive a staged reading at the annual Women and Theatre Program pre-conference, which will be held in August prior to the Theatre in Higher Education Conference (ATHE). The student winner will receive a $250 cash prize and a year's membership in Women and Theatre.
The 2021 contest is now open!
The deadline for submitting is March 15, 2021. If you have questions, please
ABSENTIA by Olivia Matthews
After living quietly in the secluded Florida woods with only her father and her beloved pet rabbit Robyn, 20-year-old Esther Harris dreams of being reunited with her long-lost mother. When her father kills Robyn, Esther breaks out of their cabin in search of her mother and old life. Though they soon find each other, can the abandoned and abused Esther adjust to her new life while reconciling with her past.
Olivia Matthews is a playwright from Central Florida. Her ten-minute play Home Going was produced by Playwrights’ Round Table in Orlando and is published in The Best 10 Minutes Plays of 2015 by Smith and Kraus. Her other short plays have been seen in Atlanta, Houston, Miami, and New York City. Olivia’s work often explores family dynamics, the complexities of young women and teens, and the oddities and magic of The South. She received her BA in Theatre Arts from Rollins College and her MFA in Playwriting Ohio University. Olivia is currently participating in the Sesame Workshop Writers’ Room Fellowship. Her plays, including Absentia, can be found on New Play Exchange.
2020 Honorable Mentions
BURY THE REST by Skye Robinson Hillis
Following the death of their 17-year-old daughter Lucy in a mass high school shooting, friendly exes Margot and Colin find themselves at a moral impasse. Though deeply reliant on each other during the grieving process, Colin’s position as a Republican U.S. Senator makes it difficult for Margot and the rest of the family to reconcile the root of their grief with his continued support of the NRA. As they navigate the intimacies of their reforged relationship and rebuild themselves as a family, it may in fact be Lucy who decides their fate.
Skye Robinson Hillis is a playwright, director, and dramaturg based in Chicago. Skye is a two time semi-finalist for the Princess Grace Award, and her work has been seen at the Kennedy Center's ACTF, Creede Repertory, The Route 66 Theatre Company, Chicago Dramatists, A Red Orchid Theatre, Piven Theatre Workshop, Artistic Home, Prologue Theatre Company, Polarity Ensemble Theatre, Ohio University, Columbia College, and the City of Chicago’s In the Works Play Lab at the Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park. Her play AND VASTER was awarded a residency at the New Works Lab at Stratford in 2015, winner of the 2015 Ashland New Plays Festival, and winner of the Holland New Voices Award at the Great Plains Theatre Conference in 2017. As a director and dramaturg, she has worked for Hartford Stage, Goodman Theatre, Court Theatre, A Red Orchid, Remy Bumppo, Stage Left, and more. Her other plays include BURY THE REST, ESCAPE VELOCITY, THE ORDINARINESS OF EVERYTHING ELSE, THE RUNNING MATE, INTO PLACE, and SELFISH.
DIGITAL SAPPHISM by Alyssa Sileo
Elise is enjoying her Amazon Alexa while her queerphobic parents are out-of-town. When Alexa discerns Elise’s queer identity and activates Amazon Ally Mode, Alexa offers to help Elise not only respond to a suggestive text from her crush Stella, but to use algorithms to discern if Stella is sapphic too. This exploration of what it possibly means to be digitally sapphic pushes Elise to affirm how identity is the most human thing of all.
Alyssa Sileo is a Theatre Arts Student at Drew University who studies playwriting, dramaturgy, and theatre history, and is fascinated by the arts' intersections with social movements. As a part of the Drew Civic Scholars program (also known as Action Scholars), she has dedicated herself to projects for women's empowerment and local theatres. She will serve as a 2020-2021 Peer Mentor for the incoming class of Action Scholars and enjoy a second year on the Drew Orientation Committee, since first-year students are her biggest inspiration. She is a freelance blogger on Matthew's Place, covering sapphic media. She is a 2019-2020 Winner of the Drew LGBTQ Student Activist Prize and the Robert Fisher Oxnam Ensemble Studio Theatre Award in Playwriting for Digital Sapphism, which will receive a reading at Drew in March 2021 (pending quarantine lifts). She will dramaturg a 2021 Drew University production in collaboration with the Tectonic Theater Project.