Call for Submissions: Occupy the Stage 22

Call for Submissions: Occupy the Stage 22 Festival

Get your work out there! A great way is through festivals and the National Women’s Theatre just announced submissions for playwrights and directors for Occupy the Stage 22. More details and info below on how to apply!

Good luck!


Submissions Call:

The National Women’s Theatre Festival seeks script submissions from women, TGNC, and underrepresented gender playwrights for the 6th annual Occupy The Stage staged reading festival. Submissions will be accepted from November 1-7, 2021. 

Occupy The Stage 22: The Remix! will be presented as a livestream festival of new plays mixed in with encore readings of fan favorites from previous years. Occupy began as a performance-as-protest to the lack of plays being produced by women playwrights across U.S. stages and has become an annual affirmation of the multitudes of brilliant, diverse work being written by women and underrepresented gender playwrights. Through this annual showcase and community celebration, Occupy advocates for intersectionality in our industry and increased visibility to both audiences and collaborators across the globe. 

The National Women’s Theatre Festival (NWTF) is a community of artists who seek to address gender parity, diversity, & inclusion in the theatre community. In our ever-changing theatrical world, we recognize the need for accountability and intention. We acknowledge the institutionalized and systemic racist, sexist, ableist, and otherwise discriminatory practices often found in theatre. We acknowledge that racism is deeply rooted in our society and its existence and execution can be both unconscious and unintentional. We will purposefully identify, address, and discuss issues of race, color, and ethnicity within our organization, and challenge ourselves to correct any inequities that we discover or are brought to our attention.


  • Scripts must be between 10-95 minutes performance length
  • Scripts should be showcase & production ready
  • At least 50% of roles must be available for women, TGNC, non-binary, or other underrepresented genders
  • At least 50% of roles must be able to be cast with performers of the racial global majority
  • Playwrights may only submit 1 script for consideration
  • Scripts cannot be changed or rewritten after submission


Any playwright who identifies as a woman, TGNC, non-binary, or underrepresented gender may submit. Playwrights of all ages, races, ethnicities, abilities, nationalities, and backgrounds are encouraged to submit. Works that have previously been submitted to NWTF will not be considered for this opportunity. Due to high submissions volume, no late submissions will be considered, and only one script per playwright may be submitted.

The Opportunity:

Occupy 22 will showcase 22 virtual livestream staged readings. 17 of the programmed scripts will be selected through this submissions call. 5 will be reprises of favorite readings from previous years. Each script will be matched with a director and cast (determined through a separate selection process). Directors may hold up to 3 rehearsals with their cast via Zoom. The readings will be scheduled and recorded with an NWTF Livestream Production Designer. Each play will receive at least 2 airings as part of the OCCUPY 22 festival from February 18-20 & 25-27, 2022.


All selected playwrights will receive a royalty for the performance of their work. A $100 royalty will be awarded for all works 30 minutes or longer; and a $50 royalty will be awarded for all works shorter than 30 minutes.

Selection Process:

Each submission will be read and scored by at least one volunteer reader from the Occupy 22 Selection Committee. Final selections will be made by the Executive Artistic Director in consultation with members of the NWTF Core Leadership Team and Selection Committee. In addition to compelling, high-quality scripts that meet all eligibility criteria, the final line-up of works will prioritize a program with the most diverse range of voices, stories, experiences, and opportunities possible. Our goal in presenting Occupy 22 is to amplify the most intersectional, underrepresented, and historically marginalized artists as possible. Each playwright, whether selected or not, will receive notification from us. Additionally, all selected works and finalists for OCCUPY 22 will get a recommendation from NWTF on NPX.


If the form/submission process is inaccessible to you or you need to request another accommodation, please email or call/text (502) 208-6601.

All of Occupy 22 will be open-captioned. NWTF remains committed to accessibility and welcomes all accessibility requests.

Timeline/Dates To Know:

Submissions Windows:

  • Script Submissions: Nov 1-7, 2021
  • Director Submissions: Nov 1-7, 2021
  • Actor Submissions: Dec 6-10, 2021

Announcement Dates:

  • Occupy 22 Line-up Announcement: Dec 4, 2021
  • Occupy 22 Cast Lists Announcement: Jan 2, 2022

Production Dates:

  • Rehearsals Held: Jan 3-Feb 1, 2022 (only 3 rehearsals per reading)
  • Recording Dates: Feb 2-16, 2022 (only 1 date per reading)
  • Livestream Performances Air: Feb 18-20 & 25-27, 2022




Occupy The Stage 22: The Remix!


Do you require specific script formatting to submit?

Nope! However, if selected for Occupy 22, we will ask you to turn in Word doc (or other document format) script for the caption-building process.

When will I receive my royalty payment?

All payments will be received within 60 days after Occupy 22. All payment-relatedd issues should go to

Can I participate in the rehearsal process?

Absolutely! But….we cannot allow changes to the script after submission.

Why can’t I make changes or offer rewrites after submission to Occupy 22?

With only 3 rehearsals, we’ve found that changes add too much stress and confusion for the creative team and tech team. As soon as the Occupy 22 line-up is finalized, our captioning technicians will begin putting hundreds of hours into building the captions. It adds hours to their workload and extra confusion to the artists to make any changes. 

Can you share some more info about the types of scripts you’re looking for & the goals of OCCUPY22?

We’re looking for fresh, new work by underrepresented voices. OCCUPY is not a development opportunity, but rather a showcase opportunity for work that is ready to be produced. NWTF invites artistic directors, producers, & literary managers to OCCUPY and encourages theatres to use it as a chance to preview works that could be programmed in upcoming seasons. 

How do I submit as a director for Occupy 22?

Click here!

How do I submit as an actor for Occupy 22?

Link coming soon!

How much are tickets to Occupy 22?

General admission tickets for Occupy 22 are $22 for access to the entire festival. NWTF has a PWYC (Pay What You Can) ticketing policy so all patrons may also elect to make a donation in any amount for their ticket. 

Do participants in Occupy 22 get comp tickets?

Yes, every participating artist and technician will receive a comp code for themselves. We do not offer audience comps since our ticketing platform allows patrons to opt to pay as little as $1 for their ticket. If you have a guest for whom this is a barrier, NWTF staff will work with you to make sure they can access the festival. 


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Wait, that was only 2 years ago?

Morning Ritual Serena Norr

Facebook kinda sucks — meta, whatever, they are these days or soon will be — but they do have a way of tugging at the old heart strings with their blast from-the-past posts. This was particularly meaningful when I saw that only 2 years ago I was “back” to being a part of a show by writing “Morning Ritual” for the A Play in a Day Project way back in November 2019.

Morning Ritual Serena Norr

Since then “Morning Ritual” has had 3 productions (!) and will even be performed at University of North Alabama (UNA) for their upcoming  one-act play festival.

That was really shocking to me since I thought it’s been way longer since I came back to playwriting. Since I started kicking my own ass and hyper-focusing on writing plays, producing plays, and even publishing my plays (blah, blah bio), but it was only 2 years ago. That’s it. When my focused shifted, everything changed.

I first heard that playwriting was a thing in college. I always loved telling stories and creating worlds, but the idea of being playwright seemed way to out of reach. I didn’t have a clue — wait, sometimes I still don’t — but back then not having a clue really stopped me from really trying. I would write but I had other things to do: work and partying and then kids. So I pushed it away and did all the other things I had to. In 2010-ish, I revisited writing plays, doing a few shows and then another baby. In 2016/2017, I knew I had to get back to it. I needed it! But how?

In 2018, I signed up for playwriting course at my local community college, connecting to characters and other writers. Finding my way back to the magic. But the real change was with this festival where I was knew I was home; I felt it in my bones. Seeing the characters come to life in less than 24 hours; meeting the actors; working with the director; sitting in the audience.  I knew I had to do what it took to stay there.

This is all to say that playwriting — and writing, in general — comes in waves that ebbs and flows — that’s sometimes rocky and confusing and really hard.  And as you go through the process of unwinding and creating and writing, please give yourself some freakin’ credit for all of the hard work you’re doing — and the work you’ve already done. This stuff is hard and grueling, but damn, it’s worth it. So, keep on, keepin’ on and celebrate. Celebrate your wins, your losses, and your 2-year — and beyond — victories! Celebrate because you’re doing exactly what you’re supposed to be doing — even if it doesn’t seem that clear along the way.


To Prompt or Not to Prompt?

There are countless stories to tell. And even if a version of that story has been told, there are millions of other ways to tell it through your unique and incredible perspective, voice, and characters. But we don’t always see it that way. We get stuck, unclear, and experience the dreaded block!

And then, along comes a prompt. A few words or an image to direct you to write something different. A nudge to help you to get your writing juices flowing; help you write freely again. A push in the right direction, so to speak. But are prompts the way to write that story you have been dying to tell? They could be. Or they could be a distraction.

Many theatres use prompts as a way to guide their submissions, which can make it a hinderance to even want to submit. I’ve had many plays that would fit the submission process but it didn’t include the added elements the theatre was asking for. So I could either try to alter my plays with their prompt, create a brand new play based on their prompt, or keep looking for theatres that aren’t so specific.

This can sometimes be exhausting as many theatres have very specific ways of submitting — blind submissions, add a cover letter, references, what is your production history, who is in your cast — that can sometimes add to the pile of things to do before you even send the play.

And sometimes to submit, you have to create a play from scratch based exactly on what the theatre is asking. And I do it. We all do. Because we want our work out there – in any form – into the world. We do it because we love to tell stories. But are these plays what we would have written if we just let our minds be? Probably not and sometimes that’s ok.

My play, Morning Ritual was created via a prompt for the White Plains Performing Arts Theatre, Play in a Day festival. Writers were presented with various images where we picked one to inspire our 10-minute play that we were creating in around 12 hours. I picked a picture of a sleeping women on a cloud and wasn’t sure what I was going to do with that but it was my prompt.

Back home — and knowing there wasn’t much time — I let my imagination go and came up with the idea that the women in the picture underwent a trauma and was now in a sleep retreat going through the trangressive period to clear her mind of what happened. It took on a sci-fi/ other worldy stance with humor (I hope) and characters that I love/am confused by as I commented on pill culture, authority, and what happens to someone both in trauma — and when they are sleeping. I probably never would have created had it not been for that prompt. Same goes for The Wheel Man, which recently had a Zoom production and other monologues that were created only because I was given a jumping off point.

And sometimes it’s the challenge from that prompt that challenges us; gives us permission to try something new; to write freely. Or maybe, we need deadlines and specific parameters to write.

So, what I am really trying to say?

  • Don’t feel as if you have to adjust your write for every single theatre with prompts they request. Pick 1-2 prompt submissions that you align with — both in your writing and where you think you want to go — and try it.
  • Don’t rely on prompts for all of your plays. While they are helpful and can help you to create some incredible pieces, the ideas that are floating around in your head — or the ones that pop in where you’d least expect them — are also the work that should be tapped into.

Bottomline: You have a story to tell and sometimes a prompt can help you get there quicker than you think and with unexpected results.

Happy writing!

What is Let’s Make a Play?

Creating something a wonderful thing. And you don’t have to go to a certain school do it. You just have to use your imagination, and with the guidance and community of Let’s Make a Play, you’ll be able to see your ideas come to life.

Our method is simple: write, mold, collaborate and listen. Students will also learn about formatting, read texts from modern playwrights and have the opportunity to have their plays read out loud.

Who is this class for?

Budding playwrights, lovers of language, writers, dreamers, seekers, storytellers and the curious! Basically, Let’s Make a Play is for everyone!