Friday, December 28, 2012

The Holocaust and Jack Schwarz

"I am that I AM"
אהיה אשר אהיה
-Exodus 3:14

I'm doing research on The Holocaust.  In 2013 the world will mark the 80th anniversary/memorial of one of the greatest tragedies in human history. I was asked to compose a monologue or short play in honor of this sacred time and have been trying to find something that struck my attention. In the past I've researched and written about Holocaust, Russian pogroms, and even the Spanish Inquisition for various theatre and museum project. The enormity of the tragedy and the ocean of information can some times make me think 'do I even have a voice in this?' As someone who can't claim to be Jewish what is my right to this history and the people? That's when I ran across the name: Jack Schwarz.

Jack Schwarz survived the Holocaust and went on to transform many lives. I've only known about Mr. Schwarz for a few weeks. He was footnoted in a book I was reading. Thanks to the modern miracle of the internet, a quick mention lead me down a rabbit hole of information and confirming sources about this amazing man.

Jack Schwarz was a Dutch Jewish writer who was captured by the Nazis and sent to a concentration camp like millions of others. He was beaten and tortured beyond comprehension. And it was at that point that something unusual happened according to Schwarz. He realized he could control and regulate the pain he endured. He undertook a practice of meditation and prayer. He sharpened his mind to the point where he could withstand torture and horror.

At the end of WW II, Schwarz started speaking out about the power of love and prayer with a higher self. To demonstrate he would go around Europe and demonstrate on himself. Schwarz would press lit   cigarettes into his flesh and no burn marks would show up. He would knives and needles through his organs and the holes would close up without bleeding or pain. He would press himself on to a bed of nails and speak on the power of prayer.

Schwarz wasn't trying to say he was exceptional. In fact he was making a point that his mind was the same as everyone else and it is there from which he was able to tap into that power. The power he was taping into was, according to him, God.


The past two years I've been fascinated with scientific anomalies and quantum physics theories. From Michael Talbot to Dr. Richard Bartlett, to Dr. David Hawkins I've been bouncing around reading about energy and holographic planes, morphic fields, and zero-pt energy concepts. In the course of this everyone has some pretty unusual stories. These are studies, surveys, and anecdotes from physicists, neurologist, psychiatrists, and researchers that don't match 'typical' science. In fact there is a mountain of evidence from Stanford University to Princeton University's PEAR (Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research). I find this helps ground my Buddhist practices and meditation by giving it a scientific and Westernized explanation. My understanding of chakras and auras is enriched by reading Western research about the fields of energy emitted from the body and at energy centers.

One of my favorite stories is of the Jansen Miracles. In Michael Talbot's "The Holographic Universe" In the 18th century there was a Jansen deacon named Francois de Paris who was in a power struggle with the Catholic Church and French King Louis XV. Abbe Paris was known to perform miracles among his followers but few believed the claims outside of the sect. When he passed away many followers flocked to his tomb and thus began one of the widest recorded continuation of miracles in human history. The Paris parliament and the Catholic Church began documenting volumes of miracles. People cured on the spot of debilitating illnesses, cancers, blindness, as well as hundreds of people who began convulsing in seizures of rapture. These seizures were contagious and would spread through the streets.

Hundreds of people caught up in convulsing who -once under the spell- had supernatural powers. Some were forcibly lifted into the air and could not be put back down on the ground, while others were impervious to any sort of torture or pain. Volunteers were drafted to corral these followers who would number in the hundreds. Volunteers would strike the spellbound with hammers, blunt objects but nothing would happen. They would try to stab and gouge them with knives and swords but the instruments would merely break. King Louis XV eventually had to shut down the tomb of Abbe Paris because the miracles were getting out of hand. And still people flocked for years afterward to see these abnormalities which continued on for 20 years!

Catholic Church, French government, and scientist from around the world recorded these happenings with certified witnesses. A century before that King Louis XIV ran into his own miracle problem with a sect of Huguenots. When he sent troops to Cevennes to kill the Camisard Huguenots, his army officers reported back that they stumped as to how to kill these people. When shot, the bullets would be flattened against their bodies, When lit on fire, the people did not immolate. One of the colonels Jean Cavalier wrote a book about the experience (A Cry From the Desert). And the head of the Camisards was set on a blazing pyre and merely continued preaching.

Which brings me to Jack Schwarz and the Holocaust. Schwarz was tested at University of California and many other institutes. He would subject himself to a full battery of examinations by scientist to make sure he wasn't a hoax. And then would proceed to stab himself with needles and knives with no discernible effect.


Despite his supernatural ability, Schwarz looked at his abilities as a power derived from being connected to God. His torture awoke his understanding that he could control his mind. He could set his mind on an object with increasing intensity. And he realized that LOVE was the best meditation object for improving health, wellness, and protecting against violence. He realized that love IS the name of God. And by meditating on this aspect he could withstand Nazi torture, concentration camp living conditions, and living after the war with no feelings of hatred toward Germans.

Schwarz's story is not of freak-show abilities or the triumph of will power, or even an extraordinary man. it is a story of love's transcendental effect on our bodies and our world. In my own spiritual practice we have mantras (words invoked under meditative concentration) which endow the practitioner with energy. But really it's an energy which is coming from within that's being cracked open by these prayers and mantras.

The power of words is profound then. Words are merely keys that unlock the heaven or hell that lies within every mind. The very thing that starts off the Torah and many other books is true: it began with the word.


So what are some powerful words that a man like Schwarz could use in a concentration camp? In the Torah one of the powerful names of God is in the second book but it's often overlooked. When Moses goes to the Burning Bush he's told to remove his shoes because he's on sacred ground. He's given his lesson and mission from this voice. And when Moses asks for a name, the reply comes back: I am I am. 

What if the highest name of God is how we identify ourselves in our minds and in our words every day: I am. Wayne Dyer speaks on this in many of his books and I can hear his voice in my head: what do I put after the name of God?

I am stupid.

I am ugly.

I am not good enough. Not smart enough. Not quick enough. Not in a good position. 

I am anger.

I am crazy.

I am enraged.

All day and night, what are the words that I place after that declarative statement? And in this holographic model what is the power of doing this?

But what would be more appropriate?

I am smart. 

I am gifted. 

I am love. 

As someone who has experience in mantra meditations, I can personally attest to the power of words spoken aloud and in thought. My mantras are in Tibetan and Sanskrit, but it's really just exotic-looking set of keys unlocking the same door. 

I'm thinking about Jack Schwarz and the many others like him who endured through the power of the word. They had the keys to unlocking God within.

In recent weeks I've become even more careful about my words, especially how I identify myself and others. After all, in a quantum physics universe it's all coming from my holographic plate (Buddhist would call these plates, 'chakras'). So when I see someone and say 'they're crazy' I'm becoming aware that I'm -on some very subtle level- saying "I'm crazy" which then just unlocks the door to more of the same. 

And when I say 'they are light. They are love. I am love,' then the door is unlocked to that as well. Can it really be that simple? As I read about Schwarz and all these cases of so-called 'normal people' I have to believe that, yes, it is REALLY that simple. It is, in fact, so simple that my mind looks for complications. 

I'm cleaning up my words. I can still joke, go on Facebook, tweet, text, and be a contemporary person. But I can also step over to the side of light and love in all my actions and words. 

7 NAMES OF GOD (in Torah)

  1. Eloah (God)
  2. Elohim (God)
  3. Adonai (Lord)
  4. Ehyeh-Asher-Ehyeh (I am that I am)
  5. YHWH (I am that I am)
  6. El Shaddai (God Almighty)
  7. YHWH Tzevaot (Lord of Hosts)

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Sandy Hook Elementary and the God Excuse

Last week 26 people were killed by a mentally unstable person in Newtown, CT. Twenty of those victims were kindergarten children. The tragedy seems vaguely familiar to many others in the last decade. And the outcry ranges from the hysterical to the litigious to legislative. But there's always a small percentage that invokes the rational of God's wrath. There are always a few fringe religious fanatics who see these tragedies as a sign that if God's name was uttered a few more times a magical shield would have protected the victims and thus make the tragedy the fault of the victims. But blaming 20 kindergarten children and their parents is both tacky, cruel, and illogical.

In a 19th century sanitarium you'd find the word "God" everywhere. And those who contracted tuberculosis were thought to be on the wrong side of the Lord, so God's name was uttered a lot and placed everywhere. Then someone realized that TB was the work of a bacteria and not heavenly vengeance. And that doctor started doing God's work by relieving suffering and healing people from the disease. Then God didn't seem so cruel and TB didn't seem so mysterious. Same thing for AIDS which was the work of not enough God in homosexual communities. Then straight people and children started getting it and that messed up the story. Scientists discovered that AIDS came from a virus, and maybe God didn't have a vendetta against Ryan White and Arthur Ashe.

The sad thing about tragedies like Newtown is it doesn't take a discovery of a bacteria or new virus. The solution is in front of us and takes the action of men.  But religion is used as a cover for not doing the bare minimum: better treatment for the mentally sick and removing automatic weapons from the streets, which seems to be the dangerous combination that has reoccurred here, in Aurora theatre shooting, in Rep. Gifford's assassination attempt, in the Virginia Tech shooting, Columbine, and many others. Untreated mentally ill people plus easy access to automatic weapons designed for killing the maximum amount of people in the minimum amount of time is the common denominator. Therefore the solution would seem to be a two-fold issue.

In high school I played football and God's name was pronounced at the beginning of each game. And then we, the participants, put on our helmets. We put on helmets to prevent severe head injuries. Scientists realized that maybe protecting the player's head from brain damage WAS doing the work of God. My helmet didn't shield me from God, but from the violence of men. God's name wasn't reduced by taking these precautions. The two -the work of men and the word of God- worked together and rested in me. And still, little boys were crippled in games and people suffered horrible injuries, or even worse. And we kept searching for better helmets and prayers.

The solution to stopping another Newtown is in front of us. We can stop another 20 children from being gunned down but this involves the work of man to stop a predictable and preventable tragedy. If we don't take the obvious steps to stop another Columbine or Newtown, then we're at fault. And then mankind really would be at work for an ethereal being. But it's not God.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

White and Green Box

There's a white and green box in the refrigerator with a seal and warning on it: do not open without doctor supervision. It's a hospice box. I have no idea what's inside of it but it was given to us on my Dad's last visit to the hospital. The box has a special seal on it and has bizarrely found its way among the yoplait, eggs, and leftovers in the fridge.

"Comfort Pack" it says on the title with a list of nuclear plant level warnings on it. Not very comforting.

A potato chip maker arrived in another box today. It's an as-seen-on TV type chintzy device that's not long for this world. The black microwaveable multi-tier system makes potato chips, apple crisp, plantain chips, mango thins. I went to the store and came back with a few potatoes and sweet potatoes for sampling. The aisles of the grocery store are glistening bright and feel indestructible as I walk up and down looking for powder peanut butter, vitamins, and raw food bars. The store cashier barely breaks eye contact with the screen in front of him as I lift my bags up and take my receipt. On the way out I'm hit with some feelings of melancholy so I go to a place that always cheers me up: a bookstore.

There's a Barnes and Nobles down the street. I walk around in it for a while, notice the widening barrage of all things that are not books in the book store. But I'm grateful that at least it still exists. I buy a CD-book for the car and a notepad for writing before driving home.  I'm still thinking about that white and green box in the refrigerator.

When I get home I lay out the powder peanut butter, vitamins, sweet potatoes, and raw food bar. Potato chips are made. Shoving aside the 'Comfort Box" I look for salsa to add to the chip feast. We've all got our ways to find comfort.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Questionnaire on Buddhism

I was asked to fill out this questionnaire about Buddhism. I didn't give it a lot of time but just responded with whatever came to mind.

Occasionally I'm asked to speak about Buddhist practices in a classroom or at an event. This questionnaire came after speaking at a college and one of the students needing answers for a final paper. I'm posting this up because I figured 1) hey, this is content 2) in case anyone asks me similar questions like this I can just copy these answers 3) it'll allow to refine what I'm saying.

1. Why did you choose to follow Buddhist practices?
After reading "The Diamond Cutter" I was stunned by how simple and practical Buddhism could be to the average American. I applied the lessons to my professional life, which then lead me to thinking about my personal life and my spiritual life (which was non-existent at the time). I started reading a bunch of other Buddhists books and the common theme -again and again- was practical compassion that could be done on a day-to-day basis. No saving old ladies from burning buildings or coming up with the cure for cancer. Just every day kindness.  I could have stopped just there and remained agnostic with a little Buddhist wisdom sprinkled into my life, and many people do stop there. But something told me to investigate further. 

As I looked at new-age spirituality I some times found the same 'loopy, magical thinking' that sounds Buddhist-like but isn't actually at all. And I suddenly realized that a lot of teachings had been influenced by Buddhism but -without going back to the practicality- would become that sort of 'fake positivity' that I find annoying. 

And after studying other religions I found Buddhism to be the only one that is consistently applicable, direct, and produces quantitative as well as qualitative results in my life. In other words it's something that's scientific because it's repeatable and is faith based on facts.

2. Is there a particular sect or path of Buddhism that you follow? If so, what distinguishes this sect or path and why did you choose to follow this particular one?

I follow the Gelupka tradition of the Dalai Lama or the clergy with the 'yellow hats.' Those are the reformists of Tibetan Buddhism and the youngest sect. Within that I follow Mahayana the greater vehicle as well as Vajrayana, which is the practice of the secret word.

What distinguishes Gelupka tradition is the amount of logic and debate involved. That's emphasized in our practice. The Nyingma (sp?) for instance emphasize meditation more than debate. And others sects focus on a particular part of the practice as the grasping point. 

Mahayana is the greater vehicle (which exists in several countries) and that just means logic and other stuff is included. Vajrayana is frequently referred to as Tantric Buddhism and that's secret and requires training directly from a Tantric Master along with a lot of rituals, requirements, and initiations. It's also considered a much faster path to enlightenment and you receive 'secret' teachings after studying the 'open' Mahayana teachings for a while and being deemed 'appropriate.' Studying Tantra without a teacher can be very dangerous because it's powerful so it's something to be treated  like a very powerful medicine.

3. What aspects of Buddhism drew you to it?
Practicality of it all like I said above. 

4. How and why is meditation used in Buddhism?
Like all things in Buddhism it's geared toward getting the practitioner to enlightenment and the end of suffering. Concentration is needed in order to set the mind in a place capable of gaining knowledge. The higher the knowledge the more concentration that's needed. But it's like learning how to play the piano or playing sports in that there's a zone the mind enters where it is completely focused. In that zone all things are possible and it's a very free feeling. When you look at a star pianists or a superstar basketball player you see that meditative focus and its amazing. Well every human mind has that same capacity for superstar focus but not for just basketball or pressing on keys. We have that potential to carry into our lives in all things. Meditation helps increase that potential. 

5. Why do you, as an individual, practice meditation and how do you practice it? Is there a particular way of meditating that you use?

I practice a combination of open Mahayana and secret Vajrayana meditation. The latter I can't talk about too much but the open meditation is very practical. You clean up your space, set up an altar, stretch the body and sit. In a seated posture you align the body, straightened the back and settle into meditation. You warm-up the concentration by focusing on your breath for a minute or longer. Then you go into an analytical meditation (or a problem), a review meditation (of something you're studying), mediation on compassion, or a meditation on wisdom. It's good to switch it up every once and a while, just like working different muscles in the gym feels good and adds balance to the body. Working different meditations balances the mind.

6. How does meditation make you feel?
Very clear and clean. Some times this isn't a pleasant thing because I'm forced to confront something that I would want to hide from or avoid. But if I do an analytical meditation on a problem, most of the time I can see where I err'ed. Meditation is like cleaning your house. Some times it's not fun but you always like walking around in a clean house afterward. You always like walking around with a clean mind after the sweeping and dusting is done. 

7. Does meditation offer stress relief or other health benefits?
I used to have really bad headaches and other ailments quite frequently. Those don't happen any more. And it's reduced stress by putting things in perspective. 

8. Has using meditation made an impact on your life or caused you to change in some way? Can you tell me some examples?
It's given me clarity and perspective. A lot of stuff that was so important to me I now find utterly silly. The 'accomplishment' patting yourself on the back stuff on Facebook or Twitter. It's funny because it's the same thing again and again 'love me, look at me.' So instead of just deriding them, I offer love. We're all the same. We want to be loved and accepted. 

My relationship with my parents has gotten more peaceful and has more compassion. I find old friends of the 'world' seem to fade into the background. They just drop out of contact. And new friends who are spiritually inclined appear to be popping up everywhere. Maybe my calm from meditation is attracting them. 

When a problem arises I can go somewhere in the moment. On Monday I was having an issue with a producer I'm working with and we began to have a disagreement. I knew I had about a few seconds before things would turn into accusations and conflict. I stopped it and the conversation was productive because of meditative focus and being able to see my mind and where my emotions were running. 

9. What is different or similar about meditation compared to other sacred rituals such as prayer in Christianity?
Buddhist meditation is concentration of mind. Prayer is more asking outside of yourself to something else. Both are helpful and Buddhism has both. If you want to get technical meditation is 'single-pointed focus on an object.' 

10. Is it possible to use and benefit from meditative practices without following Buddhism? Why or why not? 

Yes because meditation is just a practice of concentration. Imagine being able to move through my day with the concentration of Michael Jordan on the court or Bill Gates. And once I'm that focused, wisdom reveals itself and solves something that I was blind to before. Meditation is a gateway to getting those answers.

Sunday, December 2, 2012



Premiere Stages Play Festival
Deadline:  January 15th

Premiere Stages, the professional theater company in residence at Kean University seeks submissions to the 8th Annual Premiere Stages Play Festival. The yearly competition for unproduced scripts offers developmental opportunities to four playwrights born or currently residing in the greater metropolitan area (New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut). The winner of the festival will be awarded $2,000 and a full Equity production in Premiere's 2013 season. The runner-up will receive $750 and an Equity workshop in June; two other writers will receive Staged Readings in March and a cash prize of $500.

Through the uniquely accelerated Play Festival process, Premiere Stages provides an encouraging and focused environment in which playwrights can see their work move quickly from page to stage. Premiere Stages also actively advocates for Festival writers, helps playwrights reach out to other theaters to secure subsequent productions, and partners with other organizations and theaters to extend the profile and life of the works developed. "What makes Premiere unique is that we fast track plays from a sit-down reading to a fully staged production within a few short months, keeping highly topical plays relevant while affording playwrights the benefit of retaining the world premiere rights," stated John Wooten, Producing Artistic Director of Premiere Stages. "Second productions of new plays are extremely rare, and demanding the 'world premiere' brand often stops a play dead in its tracks."

All entries are evaluated by a panel of theater professionals in consultation with the Artistic Director and Resident Dramaturg. Agents may submit full scripts; playwrights may submit a synopsis and script sample directly. Postmark deadline is January 15, 2013. No entry fee. Complete submission guidelines available

For more information on Premiere Stages please visit out website at:

Phoenix Stage Company
Deadline: Dec. 15th

Phoenix Stage Company announces that we are accepting submissions for consideration to be included in the first annual PSC One-Act Festival, taking place in May 2013 at The Phoenix Stage Company in Naugatuck, Connecticut.
There is no theme and all submissions that meet the criteria will be considered. Please review the following to determine if your play is eligible;

  • Scripts should be intended for mature audiences. No Children’s plays will be considered for this festival.
  • No musicals will be considered for this festival.
  • Playwrights may submit more than one work.
  • Scripts must be original one-act plays no longer than 30 (thirty) minutes in length (playing time).
  • Author must own the copyright for the script (no adaptations will be accepted, unless the source material is in the public domain).
  • We will accept scripts that have been previously produced in a limited run.
  • Scripts should require a maximum of 6 actors for performance.
  • Plays must be able to be performed in a black box, unit set with minimal tech requirements.

One Act Festival
PO Box 344
Naugatuck, CT 06770

If your play meets all of the above:
Please submit a cover letter, a synopsis, and a resume along with one copy of the play.  Cover-sheet of play should have title, author, author’s address, author’s telephone number, and author’s e-mail.  Plays should be neatly bound or stapled on the left hand corner.  (No loose pages and no binders, please.)

Send your script by email to:

National Latino Playwriting Award
Deadline: Dec. 31st.

Seeks unproduced, unpublished full-length & one-act plays (50 pp min) on any subject by Latino playwrights currently living in the US, its territories or Mexico for the Latino Playwriting Award. Submissions may be in English, Spanish or combination. Winner receives $1,000 & poss inclusion in Arizona Theatre Company’s Café Bohemia play reading series.

2013 National Latino Playwriting Award Guidelines:Latino playwrights residing in the United States, its territories, or Mexico are encouraged to submit scripts for the Award.  Each script will be read and evaluated by a culturally diverse panel of theatre artists. Finalists will be judged by ATC artistic staff.

Deadline for Submission:
Scripts must be postmarked by December 31, 2012.

Submission Procedure:
We respectfully ask that you adhere to the following application requirements:

  • Submit one script, securely bound by brads, a three ring binder, a presentation folder or any other non-permanent binding system. Please do not send a script that has been spiral-bound.
  • Please include a title page on the script that includes the play's title, the author's name and contact information (including a phone number, mailing address and email) on the front page.
  • Include a cover letter of no more than one-page, describing the play's developmental history and any other relevant information about the play.

Mail manuscripts to:
National Latino Playwriting Award
ATTN: Katherine Monberg, Literary Assistant
Arizona Theatre Company
343 S. Scott Ave.
Tucson, AZ 85701
We do not accept scripts via email.

One playwright will be awarded $1,000 and the possible inclusion of the winning play in Café Bohemia, ATC's unique play reading series.

The award is open to all Latino playwrights currently residing in the United States, its territories, or Mexico.

Scripts may be in English, English and Spanish, or solely in Spanish. (Spanish language and bilingual scripts must be accompanied by an English translation.)

Plays must be unpublished and unproduced (professionally) by the time of submission.

Full-length and one-act plays (minimum length, 50 pages) on any subject will be accepted.

Selection Process
Scripts will be read by a culturally diverse panel of theatre artists. The award-winning play will be selected from a group of finalists by ATC's senior artistic staff.

Scripts become the property of Arizona Theatre Company and will not be returned. In this case, "property" means the physical property of the theatre, not the intellectual property or any rights to the play.

The winner will be notified by August 1, 2013.

For More Information:
Katherine Monberg, Literary Assistant

Dr. Floyd Gaffney Playwriting Competition
Deadline: March 15th

The University of California San Diego’s Theatre and Dance Department seeks from all enrolled undergraduate students submissions of previously unproduced, unpublished scripts highlighting the African-American experience in contemporary or historical terms. Adaptations from books and other forms not allowed.

A $1000 honorarium will be awarded to the winning playwright.

A staged reading, April 28th, of the winning script will be presented here on campus in the MFA Baldwin New Play Festival attended by many national theatre professionals.Travel and housing cost for the winning playwright to and from UC San Diego to be present for the reading is provided.
Additional info can be found at

Upstage Theatre One-Act Festival
Deadline: Dec. 10th

4 One Act Plays will be selected to be produced as our 4th Annual Festival of Comedy, Feb. 15 – March 2, 2013. Each Play should be approximately 30 minutes in length and must be an ORIGINAL Family Comedy. Inappropriate language and themes will not be considered.
Authors will receive a $150 UpStage Playwright Award which will serve also as royalty for the total production.

Scripts may be submitted via our email:
or mailed to:
PO BOX 7662, Houston, TX 77270-7662

Queer Shorts 8
Deadline: Dec. 14th

StageQ invites you to submit a short play for our eighth annual festival of short queer plays, Queer Shorts 8. Queer Shorts 1 – 7 were sold-out smash hits, and you could be part of the fun during our 2013 playfest!

Please include a one-page précis, including:

• One-paragraph description of the plot
• Casting requirements (number of actors, gender, ages, special requirements, if any)
• Set requirements (remember, this is a playfest with 10 – 12 plays in one evening; we use cubes to create the sets; simple is better!)
• Running time (no more than 15 minutes!)
• Special technical requirements, if any
• Who is the intended audience?
• Is there lesbian, gay or other queer content? (Required)
• Is there nudity? Adult language?
• If a musical, is there a written score?
o If a musical, what are the instrumental requirements? Vocal requirements?

Please send us no more than 3 scripts. You can email your script and précis to

We have a strong preference for receiving scripts electronically. But if that’s not possible for you, send via snail mail to:

Queer Shorts c/o StageQ
113 E Mifflin Street
Madison, WI. 53703

We acknowledge all scripts received, so if you don’t hear back from us within a couple of weeks, we didn’t receive your submission. We’ll also let you know by early April, 2013 whether or not we selected your script, but please don’t start bugging us about it on April 1st. Queer Shorts 8 will be performed June 7-15, 2013 at the Bartell Theatre in Madison, Wisconsin, with possible teaser performances as part of other events in the spring and summer of 2013.

LaBute New Theater Festival
Deadline: Dec. 31st

Each July, beginning in 2012, St. Louis Actors' Studio will produce the "LaBute New Theater Festival." The Theater Festival will run yearly at the Gaslight Theater, 358 North Boyle Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63108( Inaugural event July 5-28, 2013)

Submissions will be accepted October 1 through December 31, 2012.Successful entries will have no more than four characters, and be crafted specifically to exploit our intimate performance space. (18' x 18' stage) Changes in scenery or setting should be achievable quickly and with few major set moves.  Our focus is on fundamental dramaturgy: plot, character and theme.

Professional, new and previously unproduced one-act play submissions should include a letter of inquiry, a synopsis and a 10-page sample from the script.

Eight plays will be chosen: four to be performed in the first two weeks, four in the second two weeks. Submissions should be sent to:

LaBute New Theater Festival
360 N Boyle
St. Louis, MO 63108

Actors Theater of Charlotte
Deadline: Dec. 31st

Actor’s Theatre will begin taking submissions for new, previously unproduced plays by emerging American playwrights. Actor’s Theatre envisions nuVoices being a springboard for new plays to catapult to the national stage through our existing relationship with the National New Play Network, as well as a program to mentor the next generation of professional artistic talent in the Charlotte region.
The goals of nuVoices are three-fold:
  • To celebrate and cultivate new plays by emerging American playwrights.
  • To incubate professional artistic talent in the Charlotte region.
  • To educate the public on the process of taking new plays from page to stage.
nuVoices for a nuGeneration was created by Actor’s Theatre of Charlotte to honor and encourage emerging playwrights of the American Theatre. Four authors of selected works will be awarded a $500 honorarium, with transportation and housing provided. There will be a seven-day residency and two script-in-hand public readings to take place in August 2013. Following the end of the four-day festival, the festival winner, who will be determined by a panel theatre critics and audience members, will be invited by the Theatre for a full production in the 2013 – 2014 season.
Theatre staff will select the four festival plays, and the decision will be announced in May 2013.
  • Scripts must be unpublished and non-professionally produced at the time of the Festival. Workshops and readings are acceptable.
  • Selected playwrights must be in attendance for the Festival in August 2013.
  • Previous submissions to the nuVoices festival will NOT be considered.
Guidelines for Submission
  • All submissions MUST be received electronically.
  • Email subject line must read: “nuVoices Script Submission” (see note below on NNPN Only submissions).
  • One script submission per playwright.
  • Full-length, original plays only (no musicals, translations, adaptations or children’s plays).
  • Your resume.
  • Submitted using Microsoft Word (.doc or .docx) or PDF formats with observance to the following:
    • Text in 12pt type and in a plain font such as Times New Roman.
    • Script must include title and page numbers at the bottom of each page.
    • Script must include title page and list of characters and settings.
  • Email you submission to
***Entries for the 2013 festival will be accepted through December 31, 2012 at 11:59pm EST. Entries received after this time will not be considered.
Please Note:
  • Submissions not adhering to all guidelines will not be considered.
  • Plays not selected will be deleted.
  • Upon submission you will receive an email confirmation within one week.
  • If you do not receive confirmation, please email us at
*NNPN Submissions:
Actor’s Theatre of Charlotte is a contributing member to the National New Play Network (NNPN). All submitted scripts will be considered for entry into the nuVoices for a nuGeneration Festival, as well as into the NNPN’s National Showcase of New Plays. For more information on the National Showcase, please NNPN’s website.
I’m interested in being considered for a mentorship. What types of artists is nuVoices looking for?
Although we are currently not announcing mentorship opportunities, Actor’s Theatre will accept applications for emerging/aspiring directors, designers, technicians and actors. We will announce the application process soon.
I have more questions!
Please email us at

Deadline: Dec. 31st

Las Vegas Little Theatre announces an open call for submissions for our 5th Annual New Works Competition. Submissions will be accepted through December 31, 2012. The Winner of the New Works Competition will have their play produced in the April / May Black Box Production slot.

1. All plays must be full length (90 minutes or more). No musicals, please.
2. Plays must have no more than 8 characters -- doubling is allowed.
3. The set must be simple or representational.
4. Ideally looking for subject matter that will appeal to an age range of 18-30.
5. Seeking new plays that have not been professionally produced or published.
6. Plays will be screened by the competition committee. The top 5 will be submitted to the judges.
7. Prizes--1st prize = Production of the play in the Fischer Black box in May plus $150. 2nd prize = $75. 3rd prize = $50.
8. Contestants must sign a release form to authorize production.
9. Scripts cannot be returned.
10. Materials that are adapted from or otherwise derived from copyrighted source material must also submit permission to use the material at the time of submission.
11. The winning author agrees to the production of his/her play with no royalty payment. The author also agrees to allow LVLT to video tape the production. The author will receive a DVD of the production. LVLT cannot provide transportation, lodging or other compensation for the author to travel to Las Vegas for the production.
12. Members of LVLT's board of directors may not submit for this competition.
13. Submissions will be accepted through Dec 31, 2012. The winner will be announced no later than March 15, 2013.
14. Decision of the judges is final. Any disputes will be decided by the LVLT board of directors.
15. Each submission will be assigned a number and author's name will not be provided on judges copies of the script to prevent any bias.

Click Here to Download the Rules (MS Word .doc format)

Click Here to Download the Entry Form (MS Word .doc format)

All Submissions MUST be accompanied by a completed Entry Form

Email to

Colonial Players: Promising Playwright Contest
Deadline: Dec. 31st.

The Colonial Players theatre in historic Annapolis is hosting a Promising Playwright Contest for unpublished scripts of all lengths and genres except musicals. To be considered eligible, playwrights must be residents of one of the original thirteen colonies, West Virginia, or the District of Columbia. The scripts must be original or adapted with permission, and cast size is limited to 10 actors. The winning script will be offered as a staged reading at the culmination of a summer 2013 weekend workshop. The playwright will be awarded a $1000 cash prize. Detailed contest guidelines and an application form are available on the Downloads page of our website. Scripts can be submitted by mail or electronically and must be received or postmarked no later than December 31, 2012. For more information,

Deadline: December 20th

Send Scripts to

In February 2013, The Theatre Project is proud to present Cold Reads, a new play development lab. Featuring 4 new plays by 4 playwrights in reading workshops over the course of 4 weeks, Cold Reads workshops and promotes contemporary theatrical productions.

The Theatre Project's Cold Reads Series seeks to develop these 4 new plays and produce them both Off and Off-Off-Broadway. For each reading workshop, the audience and a panel of industry judges will vote on plays in Cold Reads. At the end of February the winning play is selected. Both the winning play and the three plays get to grow in different developmental tracks.

The Winning Play

The winning play will receive a 5 month Development Spa.
An Off-Broadway Limited Engagement, at The Historic Players Theatre.

The 3 Plays

The 3 additional plays from Cold Reads will be developed and featured in our Off-Off-Broadway Micro Festival.

Dorothy Silver Playwriting Competition
Deadline: Dec. 31st

A special fund of the Mandel Jewish Community Center supports the annual Dorothy Silver Playwriting Competition, which is designed to encourage new plays that provide significant, fresh perspectives on the range of Jewish experience.
The Prize: $1,000 and a staged reading of the winning play by The Mandel JCC in Cleveland. This award is paid in $500 increments with the first payment being on announcement of award and the second at or near the date of the reading to help defray travel costs for the playwright during the brief production period. All winners are announced in American Theatre magazine.
Note: By mutual agreement, the winning script will be considered for a future production by The Mandel JCC of Cleveland.
Judges for the award are seasoned theatre professionals drawn from the Cleveland area, including producers, directors, actors and critics.
Guidelines Dorothy Silver Playwriting Competition All Entries Must be:
• Original works
• Not previously produced at time of submission
• Suitable for full-length presentation
• Directly concerned with the Jewish experience
• Postmarked no later than December 31
Submit Transcriptions to:
Dorothy Silver Playwriting Competition
The Mandel JCC 26001 S. Woodland
Beachwood, OH 44122

Ledig House Residency
(will open in January 13th)
Deadline: Feb. 20th

Residencies of two weeks to two months are offered from March through June and September through November at Ledig House, a writers colony situated on 300 acres in the Hudson River Valley town of Omi, New York. Up to 20 poets, fiction writers, creative nonfiction writers, and translators can be accommodated during each session. The residencies include room and board and opportunities to meet with New York City publishing professionals. Using the online submission system, submit a writing sample of no more than 50 pages, a personal statement or curriculum vitae, a one-page description of the work to be undertaken, and a letter of recommendation (to be sent directly to the program by the reference) by Feb. 20. There is no application fee. Send an SASE, e-mail, or visit the website for complete guidelines.
Ledig House International Writers’ Residency Program, 55 Fifth Avenue, 15th Floor, New York, NY 10003. (212) 206-6027.

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