15 Tens – A Short Play Festival


Sharpen your pencils! Plug in your laptops!

We’re looking for writers or amateur writers with stories that can be told in a ten-minute play!

Read and/or download the Guidelines below then get to writing and submit by midnight on November 16, 2020!

Three categories!

  • High School Students
  • Community College/College Students
  • Community At-Large

Deadlines and Announcements

Round One 15 Tens

August 17, 2020 through November 16, 2020
Top 15 Announcement – December 9, 2020


Round Two 15 Tens

January 15, 2021 through January 16, 2021
Tech Consultations and Videotaping


15 Tens Short Play Festival Finale & Awards

February 6, 2021

Depot Theater


15 Tens - Short Play Festival

The Depot Theater announces the first annual, regional short play festival 15 Tens. Entries of original works will be accepted in three categories (high school students, community college/college students, and at-large community members) from throughout the 22 counties of southwest Kansas. Each play selected will be performed on a blank stage with one set piece — a bench — with minimal props and characters. 

Entries will be judged in two rounds. In Round One, 15 scripts (five in each category) will be selected for performance. Round Two will feature the 15 winning playwrights casting and performing their works for video recording at the Depot Theater in January 2021. The festival will culminate in a February Zoom event at which the 15 Round One winners will receive $100 awards and one grand prize winner from each category will receive awards of $500. Winning scripts and videos will be published as a collection each year.

In future years, the 15 Tens Short Play Festival will feature an on-site weekend of performances and gatherings celebrating theater arts. in southwest Kansas. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the 2020-2021 festival will feature video productions of the award-winning scripts. Please read all information before submitting a script. 

"Chuck is very self-conscious about his raspy voice and refuses to answer any of the numerous phone messages left by Nancy, the Welcome Wagon lady."

The End of the Line, Greg Cummings. Heuer Publishing

What are the Details?

There is no entry fee. A regional panel of five judges in each category will select five winners in each of the three categories in Round One using the 15 Tens Rubric found on page 6. Scripts will be numbered and will not be identified by playwright or by the order of submission. Round Two will feature the same regional panel of judges who will review the video submissions (or in future, post COVID 19 years, the live performances at an on-site festival) and will select a grand prize winner in each category. Judges as well as entries will remain anonymous until awards are announced and presented at a culminating event. The deadline for Round One submissions is midnight, November 16, 2020. Judges scoring sheets will be provided after the winners have been announced.

All scripts become the property of the Depot Theater. All playwrights will be expected to cast, direct (or appoint a director), and to provide their own props. All plays will be set on a bare stage with a single set piece: a bench. Although the bench may represent anything, it must appear on stage. There is no other furniture on the stage and only those props that can fit easily inside a standard sized file box may be used. Limited to ten minutes, each script should feature small casts. Plays with elaborate sets, lighting or sound will be disqualified.

"Skip Skip Skipper. Skip Skip Skipper." I try my best to give people, you know, options. Everybody's different.

Two Eggs, Stephen Bittrich

Who Can Enter?

Individuals residing in or attending school in the 22 county SW Kansas region may submit original works in one of three categories. Each playwright may submit up to two, original one-act plays, each 10-minutes in length. Scripts submitted in previous years not selected for awards may be substantially rewritten and resubmitted in following years. 

22 counties map

How do I Submit an Entry?

Scripts may be submitted online or by mail. Submissions must be postmarked or uploaded no later than midnight, November 16, 2020. Scripts will not be returned. 

Each entry will consist of the Submission Form with identifying information and an unidentifiable, single-spaced script of approximately 10-12 pages. Each entry will be assigned a number when submitted to ensure blind judging for Round One. All author information will appear on the 15 Tens Submission Sheet only. Please note: A script which is identified with the playwright’s name will not be accepted.

  • Online entries may be submitted by clicking the button below.
  • Complete the Submission Form as requested and upload a .pdf file including an unidentifiable, single-spaced script of approximately 10-12 pages.
  • The script will be assigned a number to ensure blind judging. 

Mail entries will include the Submission Form (page 7) which may be paper clipped to an unidentifiable, single-spaced script of approximately 10-12 pages. The script will be assigned a number to ensure blind judging for Round One.

  • Mail to: 15 Tens – A Short Play Festival, Depot Theater, P.O. Box 661, Dodge City, KS 67801.
  • Emailed entries may be submitted to depottheater1@gmail.com


What are the Guidelines for Submission?

Scripts must be typed, single-sided and have numbered pages. They must not be stapled or bound. There should be no identifying information on the pages of the scripts, although the Submission Form may be attached by paperclip if entries are mailed.

Playwrights must own the copyright to any material submitted. This includes not only the script itself, but also any musical number written explicitly into the script or any other copyright protected material. 

Scripts may be written and performed in a language other than English as long as an English translation accompanies the submission. Consultation for non-English language playwrights is available upon request.

A cadre of volunteers will be available by appointment for one or two, 30-minute Zoom consultations upon request. These volunteers may help at any point in script development or preparation for performance.

Failure to follow these guidelines will automatically disqualify scripts from consideration. You may download a pdf copy of the guidelines below. 

From extracting a gummy bear out of a new set of braces to coping with bullies, these characters share their innermost hopes and fears with each other, ten minutes at a time.

16 in Ten Minutes or Less, Bradley Hayward

What Happens if I’m a 15 Tens Round One Winner?

Five winning playwrights/plays will be announced for each of three categories at a virtual event scheduled for Saturday morning, December 9, 2020. All entrants will be invited to a Zoom event. The 2021 15 Ten Short Play Festival has been modified due to COVID-19 restrictions. Details for this virtual event will be announced through email in early December 2020. 

Each of the 15 winning playwrights will have five weeks to cast, prepare and rehearse their work. Playwrights will be able to make slight modifications to scripts as their work takes shape during the rehearsal process. 

Assuming that travel and gathering restrictions allow the 15 winners’ teams to social distance in order to record at the Depot Theater, hour-long appointments will be scheduled on Friday, January 15 and Saturday, January 16, 2021. Each playwright and team will schedule a 30-minute consultation with sound/light technicians and then will perform their work to be recorded on video. All recordings will be blind judged by the regional panel and grand prize winners will be selected from the video reviews. In future years, the consultations  and performances will be live and on-site. 

Those plays written in a language other than English may be performed in either the language in which they are written or in English as long as an English script is provided. The winning scripts and videos will be posted on the Depot Theater’s website. 

How Will the Festival Culminate?

Plans will include an on-site, two-day festival under normal conditions. The 2020-2021 15 Tens – A Short Play Festival will culminate with a Zoom event with details to be announced. 

The three characters have different types of faith. The young Millsap has faith that God will protect them. Brody has faith in herself to find a way out, and Murphy, the old timer, is devoid of faith.

Hole, Stephen Bittrich

How Can I Volunteer?

The Depot Theater wishes to express our sincerest thanks to the volunteers who assist with this project and who assist playwrights wishing to submit entries. Anyone wishing. to volunteer is welcome to contact Depot Theater at depottheater1@gmail.com or complete the volunteer form on this website.

How Do I Get More Information?

Contact the Depot Theater’s Board Member Terri Dieker for more information. Email: tedieker@gmail.com

Phone: (904) 707-8302

What is the 15 Tens Calendar?

Round One 15 Tens
August 17, 2020 through November 16, 2020
Top 15 Announcement – December 9, 2020

Round Two 15 Tens
January 15, 2021 through January 16, 2021
Tech Consultations & Videotaping

15 Tens – A Short Play Festival Finale & Awards
February 6, 2021

mariah fund


Join Us In Thanking the Mariah Fund for Support.

Funding for the 15 Tens – A Short Play Festival was provided in part through a grant from the Mariah Fund, a 501(c)3 Private Foundation, formed to enhance regional tourism through both targeted and collaborative efforts.


What Criteria Will the Judges Use to Rate My Script?

The judges will use the following criteria to score each submitted script. Each criteria will be rated on a 5-point scale 
5=HIGH;      4;      3=AVERAGE;      2;      1=LOW. 





Is there a strong, clear use of the theme in this play?

Is the use of the theme original and interesting?


Does the author show a strong, interesting writing style?

Does the author have a clear viewpoint that’s well integrated into the play?


Are the characters interesting and compelling as written?

Are these people you want to hear more about at the end of ten minutes?

Do the characters seem credible and real?

Are these the best characters to propel this action?


Does the plot seem fresh, intriguing and original?

Does something happen?

Is there sufficient conflict and tension to sustain ten minutes?

Will this plot seem active, vital and dramatic on stage?


Does the dialogue fit the characters?

Does the dialogue sound natural and credible for the plot and location?

Does each character have his or her own unique voice?

Does the dialogue seem fresh and compelling not dull or boring or generic?


Is the play satisfying and memorable by the end?

The Depot Theater is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that welcomes and values all forms of diversity as we strive to better represent the performing arts community in Southwest Kansas. Nontraditional and inclusive casting are encouraged.

Depot Theater© 2020. All rights reserved.

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