By Randi Bjornstad

The folks at Oregon Contemporary Theatre have dubbed this year’s Northwest Ten Festival competition— so-called because it presents new plays that take no more than 10 minutes to perform — the NW 10: Sweet 16, because it’s the 16th year that OCT has sponsored the project.

The contest is open to playwrights from Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and British Columbia, and finished submissions must be received at OCT by the Oct. 31 deadline in order to qualify for judging. The festival itself, where the winning plays are performed at OCT, will be in April 2024.

But there’s a deadline-within-a-deadline also that needs to be observed, because the judging will be restricted to the first 100 scripts that arrive over the transom, so to speak. (For those who aren’t familiar with the term, it harks back to pre-air-conditioning days when would-be authors would drop their manuscripts through the open window above the door to publishing houses, hoping to be discovered.)

There’s a lot more information about the festival and the guidelines at, but they also are outlined here:

Northwest 10 Festival 10 submission guidelines

  • Open to residents of Idaho, Oregon, Washington state and British Columbia.
  • Submissions are open to the first 100 scripts received from September 1, 2023, through October 31, 2023.
  • Scripts must be original, unpublished and not produced or scheduled for production in the Pacific Northwest (ID, OR, WA, or BC) at the time of submission.
  • Plays with small casts, simple sets and minimal technical requirements are strongly preferred.
  • Scripts must have a running time of approximately 10 minutes—this should total about 10 pages or fewer (exclusive of title and cast pages) in a 12-point font. Plays that are estimated to run less than 8 minutes or longer than 11 minutes will not be considered.
Please note: large monologues can cause a play to run long, even when within the proper page limits. Read your play aloud at a regular speaking pace for accurate time estimate.
  • Plays must be in their final, ready-to-produce draft upon submission.
  • Scripts will be considered only if they follow submission guidelines; NW10 may ask writers for an updated submission if guidelines are not followed.
  • Limited to one submission per playwright per festival.
  • Selected playwrights will be notified by January 1, 2024.
  • Playwrights consent, if selected, to permit NW10 and Oregon Contemporary Theatre to produce their play in 2024.
  • All selected playwrights will receive an honorarium and retain copyright and full ownership of their play.
  • Plays will be presented live during a two-weekend run in 2024; playwrights will be contacted regarding any digital presentation or update to production scheduling.
  • Playwrights are asked to participate in an audience talk-back following the closing matinee.

Northwest 10 submission guidelines

  • Email entries with the subject “NW10 Submission – [Play Title]” to
  • In the body of the email, include the following: play title; playwright’s name, address, phone number(s) and email address.
  • Attach two PDFs: A “blind copy” of the play that contains no identification or contact information and a “complete copy” that includes contact information, to be used by actors and directors of selected scripts.
  • Submissions must be sent as PDF attachments only; hard copies or other formats will not be accepted.
  • Present submissions in a standard professional play format: first page includes title, character list, and basic setting; each page must include the title and page number at the top.
  • Submissions must be received no later than Oct. 31, 2023.
  • Only the first 100 received submissions will be considered; playwrights will be notified immediately if their submissions arrive after the cutoff date or after the submission cap has been reached.