Play-by-Play is Pioneer Theatre Company’s new-play reading series. Since 2014, the series has provided developmental rehearsal periods for three new plays each season. The playwright works alongside a professional director and cast for a weeklong residency, culminating in three public readings of each play available to theatregoers at a very modest cost. The readings happen in either the Babcock Theatre, downstairs from our mainstage, or in the Dumke Auditorium at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts.
We schedule three public readings—Friday night, Saturday afternoon, and Saturday evening—so that the playwright can try new or different material with each audience if she chooses. It might be a tweaked punchline, a new scene, or a new ending. It’s up to the playwright.
Three plays from Play-by-Play readings have reached our mainstage: Alabama Story by Kenneth Jones in 2015, “i” by Jeff Talbott in 2018, and Ass by Ellen Simon in 2020. The Ice Front, by local playwright Eric Samuelsen, enjoyed its World Premiere at Plan-B Theatre in 2017, and many other pieces have been produced across the country. Please see our season archives for more examples of plays we’ve produced and developed.
For the residency, to-and-from travel costs are covered by the theatre, in addition to a stipend. The playwrights stay at the Meldrum House, our guest-artist apartment building two blocks away from the theatre.
- Big family dramas, comedies, and political pieces that put character before issue.
- While open to genre pieces, we prefer thrillers, mysteries, and simple futurist pieces over experimental forms.
- Pieces that are unproduced and still need development (plays at the early or middle-draft stage).
- In particular, pieces that play well in a large house and are not “intimate” in setting, tone, or visual experience.
- Casts up to ten, in most circumstances.
- No musicals, one-person plays, or two-handers.
- We accept submissions either by agent or with a letter of recommendation. A letter you already have on file is acceptable. (Repeat submitters do not need a letter of recommendation.)
- Check NPX in the month of May for a submission call.
- Submissions are accepted year-round, but our reading period begins in May.
- Decisions are usually made by late August or early September.
- Include a sentence or two about the play’s developmental history, if any. Plays that have received a full production are not eligible.
- Lengthy synopses are not necessary: a one-liner is fine for submission.
- Separate files with character breakdowns are not necessary, though a character page inside the script is required.
- Please send whole scripts in PDF or Word, no samples.
- Submit by email to our artistic director at firstname.lastname@example.org with “PxP SUBMISSION: [YOUR PLAY’S NAME]” in the subject line, and cc: email@example.com.
Response time can be six months.