Alberta Playwriting Competition




The Alberta Playwriting Competition is the longest running provincial playwriting competition and is in its 50th year. It offers the largest cash prize of any playwriting contest in Canada. It is open to all playwrights who reside in Alberta, whether they are members of the Alberta Playwrights' Network or not. Winning plays and Honorable Mentions often receive additional dramaturgical support through APN's development Programs. 


NEw 2016 Rules and regulations

Failure to meet all rules & regulations will result in disqualification of entry.

1.     Entries must be original. If the work is an adaptation and not in the public domain, permission of the original creator or rights holder must accompany the entry.


2.     All manuscripts must be in English.


3.     Each entry must be accompanied by a non-refundable $50.00 processing fee and by a completed and signed Entry form.


4.     Categories

  • The Grand Prize is open to all unproduced scripts by Alberta playwrights. Scripts may have had workshops, readings and/or other development, but cannot have been produced in any capacity or medium. (Production includes Fringe Festivals or other public events, such as regional or provincial theatre festivals.)
  • The Novitiate Prize is open to all unproduced playwrights submitting to the contest. The awarding of this prize is at the discretion of the jury.

5.     Eligibility

  • Open to ALL Albertans whose primary residence has been Alberta for at least one year immediately prior to the submission deadline.
  • All scripts must not have had, nor will receive, a public production prior to March deadline.  Plays produced at Fringe Festivals or other public events are NOT eligible for this competition. 
  • Paid employees of Alberta Playwrights' Network are directly involved in the administration of the competition and are therefore not eligible.
  • Musicals are eligible though will only be judged on the text.  No supporting materials (scores, recordings, etc) will be provided to the adjudicators. 
  • There is no minimum or maximum running time.
  • Winning plays from previous Alberta Playwriting Competitions are NOT eligible. However, re-submission of non-winning plays is allowed, provided it meets all other eligibility criteria.

6.     Judging, Announcement, and Recognition

  • An independent panel of qualified jurors performs the adjudication. Their decision is final. To ensure the integrity of the Competition, all entries are judged anonymously through a double-blind process: the identity of each playwright is withheld from the jury until the final decision is made.

  • The Jury will select, from all the eligible submissions a shortlist of 5 plays. From this shortlist of 5 plays, the winning play will be selected. 

  • The names of the shortlisted plays and playwrights will be announced in advance of the announcement of the winner. The shortlisted plays and playwrights will be announced via APN’s website, Press Release, and email to APN’s membership shortly after adjudication is complete. At the time of that release, a date will be set to announce the winner. The winner will be announced via APN’s website, Press Release, and email to APN’s membership.
  • Winners agree to permit the use of their name and title of their play in any promotion by Alberta Playwrights' Network. Winners are obligated to acknowledge Alberta Playwrights' Network and the Alberta Playwriting Competition in any publication, or production program of the winning script.

7.     Prizes

  • The Grand Prize winner will receive $5000.00 and a potential workshop/reading of the play.
  • At its discretion the jury may select an additional play from and unproduced playwright and offer the Novitiate Prize. This prize will include dramaturgical assistance from APN to that playwright in the form of an ACT ONE service or complimentary participation in one WORDSHED session.

8.     Rules for Submission

  • Submissions must be postmarked or received in the APN office by Competition Deadline. (Alberta Playwrights’ Network - #208 – 331 – 41st Avenue NE, Calgary, AB, T2E 2N4)
  • Entrants must submit one copy of their script unbound and quality-printed.
  • Scripts must be typewritten or word-processed on white paper, one side only of 8 1/2" by 11" paper.
  •  The play title and page number must appear on each page.
  •  Pages must be double-spaced between speaking parts.
  • The title of the play only must appear on the cover page. 
  •  Any appearance of the playwright's name, initials or other identifiable mark on any part of the script (including the cover page) other than the entry form or workshop information will disqualify the entry.
  • Entrants submit their material at their own risk.
  • Fax or Email attachment entries are not permitted
  • Each submission must be accompanied by a completed Entry form.
  • Each submission must be accompanied by a Non-refundable Processing Fee of $50.00 (cheque or money order payable to Alberta Playwrights' Network).


For further information, contact Trevor Rueger, Executive Director

(403) 269-8564      Toll free:1-800-268-8564

The 2016 APC Changes 

A note from APN's President:

In 2015-2016, not only do we celebrate the 30th anniversary of APN, but we are also entering the 50th year of the Alberta Playwriting Competition. The longest running playwriting competition in Canada, with the largest cash prize, the APC has been one of our flagship programs since APN’s beginnings. To celebrate this event, we have planned some changes to the competition, and I’m hoping here to explain how we came to our decision.

First of all, the biggest change is that APN jury is going to be awarding just one prize of the full $5000.00 to a single writer.  A short-list of 5 finalists will be announced in advance of the winner. We felt that in making the cash prize singular, we will be raising the stakes and thus the profile of the competition and the winning play. The short-list allows us to announce and fete a larger group of Alberta playwrights than just the single winner, which widens the scope and reach of the plays, writers and communities represented in the event. And by promoting the announcements of both the short-list and winner on a larger scale through press and media, we will hopefully be able to attract corporate sponsorship for the future of the competition.

In this process, there will no longer be what was once known as “The Discovery Prize”. We had a long, detailed and passionate conversation at the board level about how this approach would affect the membership of APN, so we did not take this final decision lightly. We understand the importance of recognition of excellence, especially in early career writers, and are continuing to explore approaches to the competition that will provide a similar opportunity for emerging writers. In the meantime, there will still be a discretionary jury prize known as "The Novitiate Prize" for the work of an unproduced playwright. This prize will have it’s own promotion and celebration to demonstrate our continuing commitment to developing playwrights of all stages.

One of the challenges we are facing at APN is to engage our membership in programming of all levels. We set a goal as a board to increase member engagement by 15% over the next 3 years.  While our cornerstone programs like Act One and Word Shed are valid for any writer, we need to continue to develop programming for mid-career and senior playwrights.  Our most active members, with the most programs geared toward them have traditionally been novice or early career playwrights. Once our members reach a certain level of experience, their interest in accessing APN fizzles. Changing the APC to attract more plays from our finest writers will help us reach those engagement goals.

Lastly, as we continue to chase federal operational funding, we have been told that we need to raise our profile on the national stage. By presenting and promoting the APC as Canada’s longest running play-writing competition, especially in it’s 50th year, we hope to make a larger splash in the national playwriting pool. We hope to see all your entries on March 31st, 2016.

– Neil Fleming, President, APN

2015 & 2014 Winners

Notable Winners:

  • Mary's Wedding by Stephen Massicotte (premiered at Alberta Theatre Projects' playRites in 2002/Betty Mitchell Award for Outstanding New Play)
  • Apple by Vern Thiessen (premiered at Workshop West in Edmonton/Sterling Award for Outstanding New Play in 2002)
  • The Last Train by Daniela Vlaskalic and Beth Graham (premiered at Shadow Theatre in Edmonton 2004)
  • Blood by Meg Braem (Canadian premiere at Sage Theatre in Calgary 2010)
  • Super 8 by Mark Hopkins and Charles Netto (Canadian premiere at Lunchbox Theatre in Calgary 2012)

The Alberta Playwriting Competition is presented in association with: