The 2022 Diverse Voices Playwriting Initiative welcomes submissions for full-length, unproduced plays by Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) playwrights in accordance with the mission statement of the Crossroads Project (see below). A diverse panel of judges including faculty, staff, students, and alumni will select one playwright as the winner.
The winning playwright will receive:
To be eligible to win, the playwright must be available for a one-week residency in late March 2022 (exact dates TBD).
The deadline for submissions is August 1, 2021 by 11:59 p.m. (central daylight time). There is no entry fee. We only accept electronic submissions in PDF format. Because our staff and resources are limited, we can only consider the first 100 submissions.
Please include in your submission:
Please follow these guidelines when submitting your play:
To submit your play, use the play submission form . Please try the link first to check if the contest is still open.
We will contact semi-finalists by the end of October 2021 and ask them to submit the full play.
The winning playwright will be notified by mid-January 2022.
Inquiries about the Diverse Voices Playwriting Initiative should be directed to:
Kee-Yoon Nahm, D.F.A.
Assistant Professor in Theatre Studies
Chair, The Crossroads Project
The Crossroads Project was founded in 2000 by Illinois State University (ISU) School of Theatre and Dance (SOTD) faculty member Dr. Leslie Sloan Orr to promote diversity and inclusion in the theatre at ISU and the surrounding communities. The committee consists of faculty, staff, and students at ISU.
The Crossroads Project recommends plays to the SOTD production committee that address the issues and experiences of underrepresented U.S. ethnic peoples and global cultures. In addition to promoting the work of U.S. BIPOC playwrights such as Elizabeth Wong, Lynn Nottage, Naomi Iizuka, and Suzan Lori-Parks, Crossroads has invited notable international theatre artists to ISU to work with students and engage with the larger community through guest lectures, public talks, and other events. Examples include Ugandan playwright and director Adong Lucy Judith (2018), Delhi-based writer Manjula Padmanabhan (2017), visiting choreographers Jack Gray (Māori) and Dåkot-ta Alcantara-Camacho (Guåhan) (2016), Canadian playwright of Indian descent Rahul Varma (2011), and Kabuki master Shozo Sato (2006).
Crossroads emphasizes community outreach for each theatre production it is involved in, especially seeking ways to promote theatre to underrepresented groups and immigrant communities. In 2013–2014, the Crossroads Project also hosted the Diversity Dialogue Series: Advancing Diversity Consciousness in the Arts, inviting leading BIPOC artists to speak to the campus and community about diversity, inclusion, and equity in the fields of American theatre and dance.
In 2020, The Crossroads Project launched the Diverse Voices Playwriting Initiative with the twofold goal of supporting the development of new plays by BIPOC playwrights and creating opportunities for the Illinois State University and Bloomington-Normal communities to interact with BIPOC professionals in the theatre. The winner of the inaugural program was Franky D. Gonzalez’s Even Flowers Bloom in Hell Sometimes. The 2021 winner was The DePriest Incident by Charles White.