September 15-16, 2017
Lexington, Kentucky

Playwriting Prize

As of July 25, 2017, we are so pleased to announce that the 2017 winner of the Prize for Women Playwrights is:

Timeless: A Scientific Comedy, by Raegan Payne

Raegan currently resides in Corona del Mar, CA, but is a native of Louisville, KY, and she is thrilled to have her play premiering in her home state. Timeless will have its world premiere in 4 performances on November 2-4, 2017, directed by Eric Seale at the Farish Theatre in Lexington, KY, as follows:

Thursday, Nov. 2, 7:30 p.m.

Friday, Nov. 3, 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, Nov. 4, 2:30 p.m. matinee, followed by an audience conversation with the playwright

Saturday, Nov. 4, 7:30 p.m.

Farish Theatre, Lexington Public Library

140 East Main Street

Lexington, KY 40507

Stay tuned for more details about casting and ticketing.


As of June 6, 2017, we're thrilled to congratulate these 5 finalists:

  • Sin Cycle, by May Donnet-Johnson, of Nashville
  • Ghost Walks into a Bar, by Mora V. Harris, of Pittsburgh
  • Beautiful Savage, by Kathleen McDonnell, of Toronto
  • Timeless, by Raegan Payne, of Corona del Mar, CA
  • The Impracticality of Modern-Day Mastodons, by Rachel Teagle, of Saint Paul, MN

The judging panel debates its finalists. May 25, 2017, at Nick Ryan's Saloon. Left to right: Eric Seale, Alana Ghent, Julie Wrinn, Deborah Sharpe, and Jessica York. (Robin Kunkel not pictured.)

Thanks to everyone who submitted to our biennial Prize for Women Playwrights during the most recent submission period of December 15, 2016 through January 15, 2017. We received over 180 scripts from all of the world. These were reviewed and finalists selected by a panel of Lexington-area theater professionals: Alana Ghent, Robin Kunkel, Debbie Sharp, Eric Seale, and Jessica York. Guest judge Martyna Majok will choose a winner from those finalists. Eric Seale will produce and direct the winning script, with assistant producer Jessica York, for a world premiere performance at the Farish Theatre in Lexington on November 2-4, 2017.


The Kentucky Women Writers Conference awards a biennial Prize for Women Playwrights to bring more scripts by women to the stage, through a collaboration among our program, a partnering theater, and a guest judge. The winner receives a world premier production for a paying audience, with royalties, plus a cash prize of $500. The winning script may be workshopped prior to its production. If you would like to receive our bi-monthly listserv with updates about this contest and our other programming, please send your request to

Producer and Director

Eric Seale, artistic managing director of Central Kentucky Community Theatre in Springfield, KY, and former director of Actors Guild of Lexington, will independently produce and direct the winning script, with Jessica York as assistant producer. You can read more about Eric here and here

Guest Judge

Martyna Majok

Eligible Playwrights

The competition is open to all women playwrights living anywhere on Planet Earth. There are no restrictions on age, experience, or residence. Co-authored scripts are eligible if at least 50 percent of co-authors are female.

Eligible Plays

One-act or full-length scripts in English, with a running time between 45 and 90 minutes, that have not been published or commercially produced as of the entry deadline or before the release of the KWWC production. We are seeking a new play that can be produced as a world premiere. Many kinds of preliminary productions, even those charging admission, do not disqualify your script, including:

  • an Equity or other showcase
  • a workshop production
  • a script-in-hand staged reading
  • a student lab performance

We place no limitations on subject matter. Scripts may be based on factual events, purely fictional, or adaptations. We are not seeking musicals or children's plays.To ensure an equitable judging process, please submit only a "blind" script, with all personal identifying information removed.  Limitations:

  • Reading time must be in the range of 45-90 minutes.
  • Casts must be limited to 8 actors (1 actor may play multiple roles).
  • The production will be in a small theater. Set, lighting, sound, costume, and prop requirements should be kept to a minimum.


Deadline and Timeline

  • Entries must be electronically submitted by 11:59 p.m. on January 15, 2017
  • Winner will be posted on our Web site in July 2017
  • Winning script may be workshopped.
  • Production will occur November 2-4, 2017, at the Farish Theatre, Lexington Public Library, 141 East Main Street, Lexington, KY


Judging Process and Criteria

All entries will be screened by KWWC staff for completeness and adherence to contest guidelines. Judging will consist of two rounds. In round 1, a diverse panel of theater professionals and educators will choose 5-10 finalists. In round 2 a guest judge will choose 1 winner. Judging will be guided by literary merit and theatrical potential.


Past Winners & Guest Judges

Naomi Wallace was our first judge in 2011 and chose Keliher Walsh’s play, Year of the Rabbit, produced by Balagula Theatre in Lexington. Kia Corthron was our next judge in 2013 and chose Jo Morello’s E.G.O.: The Passions of Eugene Gladstone O’Neill, also produced by Balagula. Carson Kreitzer selected in The Silent Woman by Lydia Blaisdell, independently produced by Eric Seale in 2015. The Silent Woman tells the strange, true tale of a painter living with an effigy of his ex-lover in 1919. It had its world premiere in Lexington, KY on Nov. 5 - 7, 2015 (press release).