UCROSS + THE BLANK THEATRE – Future of Playwriting Prize


KORI ALSTON is a writer, poet, and activist based in Brooklyn, NY and the Berkshires, MA. A previously Chicago-based artist, Alston is a graduate of Northwestern University where he began his work as a playwright. His work has been featured at the Wirtz Center for the Performing Arts, Victory Gardens Theater, and other smaller venues, and has earned him the Agnes Nixon Award for Playwriting. As a middle school teacher in Brownsville, Alston’s work takes a particular interest in the way in which young people of color process trauma. Most recently, he has finished his year as a Clubbed Thumb Emerging Writer and his play A Case for Black Girls Setting Central Park on Fire will receive its world premier production at Lycoming College in March 2021.

DAVE OSMUNDSEN (He/Him/His) is an autistic playwright and dramaturg whose work explores the intersections of queerness and neurodiversity. He is a resident playwright with Spectrum Theatre Ensemble, a neurodiverse theatre company based in Providence, RI. His work has been seen and developed at KCACTF Region 8, the Kennedy Center/NNPN MFA Playwrights Workshop, B Street Theatre, the William Inge Theatre Festival, the Midwest Dramatists Conference, Phoenix Theatre Company, and more. His play Light Switch was the 2021 Distinguished Achievement recipient of the Jean Kennedy Smith Playwriting Award. It was also longlisted for the Theatre503 International Playwriting Award, a finalist for the 2020 Carlo Annoni Playwriting Prize, and a semi-finalist for the 2020 National Playwrights Conference, among other honors. His one-act, A Firework Unexploded, was a semi-finalist for the NYC Audio Theatre Writing Contest and was produced by Pint-Sized in London. In addition to playwriting, Dave has written theatre reviews for StageBuddy and TheatreIsEasy and has had short stories published on ScholarsAndRogues.com. His plays have been published by or are forthcoming in The Dionysian, Canyon Voices, and The Exposition Review. He is currently pursuing his MFA in Dramatic Writing from Arizona State University (Graduation: May 2021).


Ucross + The Blank Theatre — Future of Playwriting Prize!

This award represents a unique collaboration between the prestigious Ucross Foundation in Wyoming, where artists from all disciplines have been supported by residencies since 1983, and The Blank Theatre in Hollywood, which has been developing new plays and new artists since 1990.

The Future of Playwriting Prize will be given annually to an early-career playwright who personifies the future of theatre — someone whose voice will shape theatre for decades to come, and who will bring new thoughts and views to the American theatrical conversation.

The winner will be awarded a $5,000 cash prize and an all-expenses-paid, two-week residency at Ucross’s ranch at the foothills of the Bighorn Mountains. The residency includes transportation, accommodations, meals, and the opportunity to commune with other visiting artists. The winner will also receive a professionally produced staged reading in The Blank Theatre’s Living Room Series new play development program.

Two additional finalists will each be awarded a $500 cash prize.


Inclusion and diversity are vital to the future of theatre; therefore, playwrights from all backgrounds and genders are urged to apply.

We encourage application by playwrights who may not have had access to advanced or graduate writing programs.

As this is an emerging playwright award, writers who have had Off-Broadway, Broadway, or major regional theatre productions will not be considered.

Since the focus is on American theatre, playwrights must reside in the United States.

Winning writers must be between 21 and 30 years of age as of April 1, 2021.



Submissions are now closed.

There is no entry fee.

Writers must submit:

1. Resume including creative/educational background.

2. A personal artistic statement – 1000 words or less – that describes:

  • Who you are and what has brought you to this place – your influences and life experiences. Also, what you hope to gain personally from an uninterrupted two-week residency at Ucross.
  • The concept for a new play (a full-length you have not yet initiated) that you would like to begin or work on while you are there – what themes, characters or stories do you want to explore?
  • How do you see the future of theatre, and what is your role as a playwright in it?

3. One short play (45 pages or less). Please submit only a complete short play, not a sample from a full-length play. PDF form only, titled FirstName_LastName_SHORT (e.g., Sally_Jones_SHORT).

4. One full-length play (60 to 120 pages). PDF form only, titled FirstName_LastName_FULL ( e.g., Sally_Jones_FULL).

  • One submission only per playwright. Please do not submit multiple applications to include different scripts. We want to see what you consider your best work.
  • Plays and other submission materials must be written in English.
  • Translations, musicals, adaptations, and children’s plays will not be considered.
  • All scripts must be typed in standard playwriting format.
  • Page numbers must appear with the first page of dialogue as page 1.
  • Scripts must contain a character breakdown and time/place setting.



The first 300 submissions will be considered. If 300 valid submissions are received before the end of the application period, additional entries may not be accepted, and notice will be posted at TheBlank.com.

A jury of professional theatre artists will select one grand prize winner and two finalists, to be announced April 2021.

The Ucross + The Blank Theatre – Future of Playwriting Prize
is made possible through the generous support of Deb and Ed Koehler and the Raymond N. Plank Philanthropy Fund.