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2020 Underground New Play Festival


TCR’s tenth annual Underground New Play Festival will be held August 13 – 23, 2020. This year’s submissions reflect the theme “The Mysterious” and will feature one-act plays written by playwrights with Iowa connections.


After the success of a themed 2019 Festival, we decided to continue with themed submissions. This Festival includes one-acts addressing the theme “The Mysterious.” We are putting out a call for creative takes on this theme which can include the mysteries of existence, a murder mystery, or whatever your interpretation may be!

Part of the Festival will also be a focus on development of the script. After script selection, writers receive feedback and assistance in further developing plays for production. The Underground team will provide feedback and resources to help make sure writers’ intentions with the piece come through loud and clear on the page. When it’s clear on the page, it’s ready to grow in the hands of a director and performers. Writers should come ready to grow their work.

2019/20 underground new play festival committee

  • Angie Toomsen TCR Artistic Director
  • Emma Drtina Co-Coordinator
  • Rachel Potthoff Co-Coordinator/Festival Production Lead


Performances will take place August 13 – 23, 2020.


  • January 20, 2020 Submissions due by 11:59 p.m. (See application and submission guidelines below)
  • February 21, 2020 Selected Plays Announced (via e-mail, TCR website, and social media)


  • March 6, 2020 Director Applications due by 5:00 p.m. (See application below)
  • March 20, 2020 Selected Directors Announced (via e-mail, TCR website, and social media)
  • June 21 & 22, 2020 Auditions at 7:00 p.m.
  • June 23, 2020 Callbacks


  • June 21 & 22, 2020 Auditions at 7:00 p.m.
  • June 23, 2020 Callbacks


Who is able to submit?

Playwrights with a strong Iowa connection: born and raised in Iowa, currently residing in Iowa, or having lived in Iowa for at least one year.

Where will the Festival take place?

In Theatre Cedar Rapids’ Grandon Studio, a 90-seat house in alley configuration. Additional Festival activities will take place in the lobby of our theater, Linge Lounge, and elsewhere.

Script Submission Guidelines

  • Scripts accepted via the form below by January 20, 2020 at 11:59 p.m.
  • Previously unproduced and unpublished plays, musicals, operas, children’s theatre. No film or television scripts, please.
  • One-acts; 10 – 60 minutes in length
  • Theme: “The Mysterious.”
  • Can be performed with 10 or fewer actors (due to space constraints) and with low technical requirements.
  • Standard play formatting is not necessary, but authors should follow these basic guidelines:
    • Page numbers and the play’s title should appear in the header on every page. Scripts will be read blind, so please do not include your name on interior pages.
    • Font: Times New Roman, Courier, or Arial
    • Margins should be 1-1.25 inches all around
    • Stage directions should be italicized
    • Character names should be centered or left-justified and capitalized
  • At this time, no royalties will be paid to playwrights.
  • Each play’s director will be assigned from a pool of volunteer director applicants, to be determined March 20, 2020. If you have a director you would like to work with you may suggest, but the Festival committee will make the final decision.
  • Have a question that’s not answered here? Email for more information.

2020 Underground Playwright Submission Form

  • Accepted file types: pdf, doc, docx.
    In one document (.pdf, .doc, or .docx format), the following information should be included:

    Page 1: Title, author’s name
    Page 2: Author biography (for inclusion in the playbill, if selected)
    Page 3: 2-3 sentence synopsis
    Page 4: Title (no other information should appear on this page)
    Page 5: Character breakdown (names, plus applicable genders, ethnicities, ages) and any additional setting/time information
    Page 6: Script (should include page numbers and script title, but not the author’s name)
  • My script has never been produced or published and is in an easily read format. I have followed the submission guidelines and have included all required information.
  • Date Format: MM slash DD slash YYYY