Frequently Asked Questions
I don’t have an agent. May I still submit?
Any writer who is a) 21 years old or older and b) a citizen of the United States or holder of a green card, or who currently resides in the United States and has lived here for more than four years, may submit.
I co-wrote my play with another writer. Can we submit together?
Yes, as long as both co-authors are eligible. However, winners and finalists will only receive a single monetary award, which should be split evenly between applicants (or in accordance with an agreement in writing, that the writers must supply to APF.)
My play has had a public reading or workshop. Can I still submit it?
Yes; readings do not affect eligibility status, nor do workshops or nonprofessional productions. However, if your play has received a production with professional actors, and you have been paid for the rights to perform this work, it is not eligible for the Relentless Award. It must still be eligible for world premiere status.
My play was a commission, but the theater declined to produce it. Is it eligible?
Yes. If your play has not been produced or published, it is eligible.
Do you allow resubmissions?
Yes. Each author may only submit one play per cycle, but it may be any script of their choosing.
My play was a semi-finalist before, but I worked on the script and improved it. Can I send you the new version?
In order to maintain the blind status of the award, we cannot reconsider any script that has been formally recognized by APF in past cycles. This means honorable mentions, semi-finalists, and finalists.
The Relentless Award is listed as a "blind" prize. What does that mean?
It means that our judging team evaluates all work without knowledge of authorship, prior development, or demographic data. All scripts must have author name, contact information, and any other identifying information redacted.
What should I put in my author’s statement? It says not to include demographic information, but it’s hard to talk about my play without talking about myself or my background.
We know plays are deeply personal, and we appreciate that you may want to share details about where your play came from. We encourage you to send us plays that speak to who you are! However, in this particular statement, we're most interested in questions of where your play is in its development journey: whether it's a raw, first draft, or if you consider it final and production ready. Whether there's a character you're considering cutting, a dramaturgical question that's nagging at you, or something you feel you need help with.
While you may share elements of the play’s development, please do not mention any awards or honors the play has previously received, or name any other institutions that have supported or developed it.
You may certainly convey information about issues the play is trying to address, questions it’s trying to ask, or communities it’s speaking to. However, as this is a blind award, we ask that you avoid specifically referencing any demographic elements of your own identity (age, race, gender, location, etc.)
Do you have any other formatting requirements?
No, but formatting your play according to industry standards may make our judges more able to appreciate your work. Here is a useful guide:
However, we encourage you to arrange the play on the page in whatever way you feel best serves your script and story.
I am an agent or mentor to a writer that would like to submit. Can I do so on the writer's behalf?
No. We ask that all writers submit their own materials directly and provide their own contact information on the submission form. There is no fee to submit.
I don’t like online platforms; can I mail you a copy of my script?
Unfortunately, we can only accept submissions digitally via Submittable.
If I submit, but then I do another draft, can I edit my submission to reflect the changes?
No. The work that is initially submitted is what will be evaluated.
Your guidelines say that submissions close on 12/20/23. Does that mean at 12am that morning? What time zone are you in?
Our submissions platform will close submissions automatically at 11:59pm Eastern Standard Time on Wednesday, 12/20/23.
I'm having a problem with the submission platform! Can you help?
For technical support, please reach out to https://www.submittable.com/help/submitter/. Note that they may take up to two business days to respond—we have no capacity to expedite their schedule, so please plan accordingly.
I had an emergency right before I was about to submit!! What can I do?
Unfortunately, we are not able to accept late submissions. We encourage you to give yourself ample time before the deadline so that you will not be affected by unforeseen challenges.
Will I receive any notification, a rejection letter, and/or feedback about my script?
Once you submit, you'll receive email confirmation from APF staff that your materials have been received. Unless you receive notice otherwise, you may assume your script has been deemed eligible and accepted to the competition. APF is unable to provide feedback on individual submissions.
If my play wins, will the American Playwriting Foundation produce it?
No. However, we will do our best to connect the winning writer with others who may be in a position to produce it. We will also host an APF-produced reading series of the finalist plays.
Are you looking for any specific themes or topics?
We are interested in work that is personal, honest, and fearless. We are excited by challenge, boundary-pushing, and vulnerability—stories that feel vital and necessary to the artist. There is no specific content that we either look for or automatically reject.
My play is a one-act. Is it eligible?
No; the Relentless Award is for full-length plays, ones that could stand alone as an evening of theater. For our purposes, this means 60 minutes or longer.
My play is for young audiences, but adults can appreciate it too. Can I submit?
Plays aimed towards children, as delightful as they might be to all audiences, are not right for this award.
My play is based on source material. Can I submit it?
As long as you hold the copyright, or it is in the public domain. If you are adapting the work of another author, you must have the legal right to do so.
My play has music in it, but it is not a musical. May I still submit?
As long as it's really not a musical—if it is, please wait for our Relentless Musicals award, next cycle! If your play-with-music can be fully appreciated with just the script, you may submit it. If the musical elements are so integral that the play cannot exist without them, it is not a fit for this award.
I have another question that isn't covered above. What can I do?
If you have thoroughly examined our guidelines and FAQ and you have more questions, please reach out to RelentlessInfo@bfany.org.
We look forward to reading your work!