New Plays, New Voices, New Talents

CPI New Voices Series

CPI invites playwrights who are residents of the Tri-State area (OH, KY, IN), or who currently live and work in the Tri-State counties, to submit one unproduced full-length play script, up to three unproduced one-acts, or the equivalent in short plays,  for consideration for PUBLIC STAGED READINGS in the New Voices Series. There is no deadline—submissions are accepted year round.  We do accept single one-act(or shorter) plays as well; these may be accepted for a presentation along with short plays by other authors on the same night.

Submission Guidelines

  • ELECTRONIC SUBMISSIONS ARE PREFERRED.  Please submit hard – copy paper manuscripts ONLY if you do not have the ability to submit electronically.
  • Include a separate Submission Letter and cover page to the President of CPI, Chris Lee, with your contact information (address, phone number, and e-mail), and Title of manuscript.
  • CPI prefers to receive the submission electronically, in Microsoft Word format.  You may mail a copy of your manuscript(s). Your name MUST NOT appear anywhere on the manuscript.
  • 1st page to be your TITLE: (unnumbered page) / A New Play in Two Acts, etc.  Your name MUST NOT appear anywhere on the page.  You may submit a separate cover page with your name and address on it.
  • The following informative pages starting with the 2nd page (numbered ii, iii, iv, etc.) to provide the following:
    • CAST OF CHARACTERS: in order of appearance (include real age, gender and a few-words description).
    • SCENE: Locations, etc.
    • TIME: Present or years, etc.
    • ACT AND SCENE BREAKDOWN:  Time & location of each Scene
    • RUNNING TIME: Estimate length of play and intermission where applicable.
    • Add a short BLURB for publicity use: (up to 35 words).
    • Add a shorter BLURB for poster use (up to 12 words).
  • The PLAY itself to be numbered:  1, 2, 3, 4, etc., including the Act & Scene:  I-3-45, II-3-90, etc.
  • Plays can be on any subject.
  • Keep a copy of your script—do not send your only copy.
  • Do not send return postage—scripts are not returned.
  • Plays can be full-length, one-act, or musical* (NO screenplays).
  • Musical: In addition to the script, send 5 CDs of the music/songs, as well as any available scores.  Script and score can still be emailed.  PDF is acceptable for the score.  Please make sure your name is not on the printed label of CD’s.
  • For jointly written scripts, authors should be CPI members. Exception:  Collaborating composers for their music.
  • Please type in COURIER NEW font, 12-point size, printed on one side of the page only.
  • Each scene to begin at the top of a new page.
  • Plays must be neat and printed / typed in an identifiable format.
    • We prefer a version of a Staged-Play Format ** as opposed to a Published-Play Format.
    • ** Please consult the following website for an example of Staged-Play Format, but still incorporate all the rest of our guidelines.
  • If you choose to submit a paper script, you will be contacted by CPI to follow up with an electronic version of your script, so please have one ready.
  • Authors must be residents of, or currently living and working in the Tri-State—OH, KY, or IN.
  • If you are not already a member of CPI, you must join in order to submit. Cost is $25 for a 1-year membership. If submitting by mail, include a check payable to CPI. Please note that you also must be a paid member  at the time of your scheduled performance if selected, which may require a membership renewal.

The President will acknowledge receipt of manuscripts, and titles of received scripts will be noted in the following CPI Minutes.  Within two months, the President will contact the playwright with a brief summary evaluation of the submitted script, and thereafter the playwright will be contacted again ONLY if the play is chosen for the Series.  Selection time varies from 2 months to one year.

Entries and payment should be sent to: CPI New Voices Series, P.O. Box 19969, Cincinnati, OH 45219-0969.
Checks should be made payable to: CPI


Selected Scripts

Members of CPI’s Play Selection Committee read each of the submitted scripts. They are unaware of who wrote the plays. The committee follows a specific evaluation criteria (see below) and a vote is taken. Submission of scripts does not guarantee acceptance.

Some large-scale works may be beyond CPI’s resources to undertake such projects.  Chances of being selected for a staged reading can be enhanced by elements such as cast size, etc.

Once the Play Selection Committee selects a script for a public staged reading, CPI will contact the playwright with a congratulatory letter (e-mail or regular mail); further communications will follow to determine dates and iron out any obstacles.

A selected script will be given one public staged reading under the auspices of Cincinnati Playwrights Initiative’s New Voices Series. The playwright must, however, be involved in the process and procedures leading to the event and is expected to attend the venue. If the playwright is relatively distant from Cincinnati, he/she may arrange for a volunteer representative or a Director who will handle the extra chores. The playwright is still expected to attend the venue, and to cover certain minor expenses such as script printing and pizza/drinks for the actors on performance day.

CPI’s New Voices Staged Readings are performed at the Aronoff Center for the Arts, Fifth Third Bank Theater (Black Box), and occasionally at the  Aronoff Center’s Jarson-Kaplan Theater, Downtown.

CPI Review for New Voices Staged Reading:            (Evaluation criteria)

Title:                             Reviewer: # & Code


Date Received:

Type Play: Comedy; one-act; two-act; three-act; other ___

Length: Reading time ___


Social Issue?

ITEM  Weak                                          Strong
Well Structured / Clear Focus?    1            2            3            4            5
Grabs Attention / Opening?    1            2            3            4            5
Enough Tension /Action / Conflict?    1            2            3            4            5
Climax / Resolution is well Developed?    1            2            3            4            5
Ending?    1            2            3            4            5
Dialogue? / Speeches Essential?    1            2            3            4            5
Characters Well Defined?    1            2            3            4            5
Key Relationships Well Defined?    1            2            3            4            5


Overall? / Review Number _____

Comments to go only to Committee Members:

Comments to be shared with playright:

NOTE TO PLAYWRIGHT:  “Thanks for allowing us to read your play. The following comments are views individual Play-Reading Committee members wish to share with you, for what they are worth. We hope you find some or all of them helpful as you proceed in the development of your play.  They do not represent a decision about whether or not your play will be selected for a staged reading. Those choices are made from an array of submissions within a particular time block in the submission/review process.  It is possible that your play may be selected without revision.  Conversely, it may not be chosen, even after revision.  Again, thank you for sharing your work, and best wishes as you cultivate it.”