“What sets this program apart is that we continue working with the authors on an ongoing, long-term, basis, providing multiple avenues to further develop their work,” said Laura Baughman, former President of the Reston Players.

While the regular RCP season generally consists of established Broadway plays and musicals, The New Play Project has no such limitation.  We welcome edgy, avant garde works, as well as traditional musicals, dramas, comedies, mysteries, etc.  We are interested in bold, passionate, innovative and compelling new works.  We have no restrictions as to theme, style or subject matter.  While scripts with “mature themes” or “adult content” are acceptable, and scripts need not be “rated G”, we are not interested  in scripts that might be rated X.  Any nudity or sexually suggestive scenes must be necessary and integral to the plot, and generally, kept to a minimum.

On the other hand.  There must be a realistic appreciation of the realities of staging a play or musical.  A cast of thousands may work for a movie, but it won’t work on stage.  Your set concept must be stage-able, that is, a scene shop should be able to build your scenery for a cost relative to any future box office earnings.

The RCP New Play system

This fourth season the Players will invite several of past year’s authors back for a second or third workshop reading, where we will add some production values, such as furniture, props or costumes, as appropriate for the work. All performances are open to the public, with a talk-back afterwards. Eventually one new work will be selected for presentation at the Center Stage at the Reston Community Center, in Reston, Virginia. This presentation will be complete with scenery, costumes, lighting, and all that goes with a complete presentation on a main proscenium stage!

This is not a playwriting competition – we  will not announce “winners”.  More importantly, authors pay no submission or application fee, and incur no production costs.  On the contrary, a royalty is paid to the author each time his or her work appears in front of an audience.  Moreover, these readings are not presented under the Equity Showcase Codes, so that the authors have total freedom to work with various actors, and  will be able to replace actors as the scripts develop from performance to performance.  There are no commitments required of the authors once they move on from the Players.

No theatre critics will be invited to review the play – unless the author specifically asks for them.  We recognize the need for works to develop out of the glare of public criticism.  However, media may be invited to cover the event merely to comment on the process of developing new works. Ground rules with the press should address this in advance.

Actors participating in Readings will generally be selected or invited to participate by RCP directors.  Auditions will usually not be held.  If you have a director you want to work with, that’s fine.

No actor who participates in a reading is guaranteed a position in a subsequent reading or production.  No individual performer, actor, director, producer, or anyone else at RCP, or RCP itself, retains any subsidiary rights of any kind to any future production or income generated by your work.

None of our actors, directors, etc. are paid.  Other producing organizations should not consider presentations by the RCP to be a “professional production.”  This clarification may be important for other theaters and competitions that disqualify works that have had previous professional productions.  Other organizations are not likely to consider a reading at RCP to be a “world premier.”   (But that’s not up to us!)


The types of  the productions we offer are:

At the end of each of the following descriptions of types of presentations, percentages are provided to provide a sense of relative level of production.  That is, a complete, fully produced main stage show (sets, costumes, lights, etc.) is regarded as “100%.”  Productions needing fewer resources are indicated as a percent of the 100% show.  Obviously, these numbers are suggestive, and are merely  used to compare one to another.  Everyone starts out with a Seated Reading.

All of these are open to the public, and no admission is charged, except for a Complete Performance.

Seated Reading: No frills.  The actors sit on chairs in our rehearsal hall and read your script.  One person reads the character descriptions, sets the scene (location of action, period, etc), and the stage direction that would occur.  Note, all readings are rehearsed; we don’t do “cold” readings.  [10%]

Staged Reading: The performers will utilize the author’s staging and  character interpretation.  Some props may be used, as well as one or two pieces of furniture or set pieces.  Characters will make entrances and exits.  [30%]

Concept Performance:  This is a presentation following several rehearsals, using some costumes to set the period, as well some set pieces and props.  This  performance may be done either in the RCP rehearsal hall or on stage.  [40%]

Complete Performance:  The real thing staged before a paying audience.  On stage in the theater, with costumes and sets, as well as sound and light.  Only one work a year can qualify for a complete performance.  [100%]

Each production stands alone, the choice to proceed with the next step on the way to a complete performance will be made following a lower performance.  Most shows will not get the full treatment.  After each performance, RCP may choose to invite you to the next level of production.  RCP makes the decision which works to invite back at the end of each season in May or June.

Remember, all production costs are borne by RCP.  The author is not asked to contribute any money.

Additional Notes:

  • Each author is limited to one script submission per season (summer submission period).
  • All submissions must be new works, as described in more detail below.  Adaptations or translations of other works are not eligible, unless the work is out of copyright and in the public domain.
  • Plays that have had previous readings elsewhere are eligible.
  • Shows that have had previous professional productions (where the actors are paid a living wage, or perform under a union contract), are not accepted
  • Shows that have been published or made available for sale, are not accepted.
  • One-act plays (or any work under 90 minutes) are not accepted.
  • Musicals are accepted.  In addition to a script, please include samples of your music on CD, and printed copies of your sheet music.  Do not email your sound.
  • No kids shows, that is, shows to be performed by children, for audiences of children.  Children may be characters in the play.

License to Perform the Work

One we have selected your play, we will sign a license agreement with you for presentation of your work.  We do pay royalties.


submission form