New Play Contest

The 2022 New Play Contest is now CLOSED. 2024 applications will open this fall.

See below for a list of current and past winners!

Applications are NOW OPEN! Submit your 60 minute play or musical by Tuesday, November 22 at 11:59pm ET.

Winners will be announced at the Hamilton Fringe Festival Lottery Party in December 2022.

Do you have a fantastic 60-minute play or musical hiding deep in a drawer waiting for the right moment? Maybe it’s still the tiniest seed of an idea and you’ve been waiting for a sign from the universe to finally write it out?

THIS IS THE SIGN YOU’VE BEEN WAITING FOR!

The Hamilton Fringe New Play Contest is open to ALL writers, no experience necessary. All submissions are anonymized and read by our jury.

The winner of the contest receives a FREE 60-minute production slot in the 2023 Hamilton Fringe Festival plus a $300.00 cash prize. 2nd and 3rd Place playwrights receive a festival Fringe Binge pass.

Deadline is 11:59PM ET November 22, 2022.

Before applying, be sure to read all Rules and Regulations below.

Good luck – and we can’t wait to see what you’ve been working on!

This year’s winner is SAMCA by Natalia Bushnik & Kathleen Welch (Toronto, ON). Tickets are on sale now!

Check back here this fall for information about how you can enter the 2023 contest!

Rules and Regulations

1. Open to all playwrights/writers.

2. Only one entry per playwright is permitted.

3. All entries must be original, unproduced plays or musicals. (Plays that have been workshopped or produced in student festivals within an academic context are eligible.)

4.  First time stage adaptations of other work from another medium are eligible IF AND ONLY IF the playwright has the rights to adapt and present the work for public performance.

5.  Plays can be written/performed in any language, however the playwright must provide an English translation for the jury. (The English translation is what the jury will be evaluating.) 

6.  The playwright may have received funding to create or workshop this play.

7.  All plays must have a performance time of 60 minutes or less. There is no page limit, but the play must fit within the Fringe’s 60-minute running time policy. (On average, one page takes 1.5 minutes to read aloud. A standard 60 minute play is between 35 and 45 pages.)

8.  The script must be type-written and uploaded as a PDF file. The file name must be the title of the play. Please include a title page with the play’s title only, without the playwright’s name. Please do not include the playwright’s name on the pages of the script, in footnotes, endnotes, title page, appendices, etc. Musicals with audio recordings may share a URL to a YouTube / Vimeo / Soundcloud playlist as long as the creators are ANONYMOUS (create an account that has a neutral name, like MyMusicalName, not a pre-existing personal or professional account that indicates the creators or producers) or upload a .zip file that contains all the tracks.

9.  Playwrights who enter the New Play Contest may also enter the Hamilton Fringe Festival lottery. If the first place playwright has also entered the Fringe Festival lottery, their Festival application will be removed from the lottery in advance of the draw and their application fee will be refunded. 

10. The winner must use their Fringe Festival slot to produce the play that was submitted to the contest.

11. The non-refundable entry fee ($35) can be paid online by PayPal when completing this application OR submitted by cheque in the mail. Payment is due within 5 days of the online submission of this form. Cheques must be made payable to Hamilton Festival Theatre Company. Please clearly mark the outside of the envelope with “New Play Contest” and mail the cheque and a printed copy of your application form to 41 King William St, Suite 206, Hamilton ON, L8R 1A2.

12. Any/all current Board Members of the corporation of the Hamilton Festival Theatre Company are not eligible to participate in this contest.

The Jury

Jordan M. Burns

Jordan M. Burns is a Disabled, Indigenous, Two-Spirit, Neurodivergent, multidisciplinary artist from Treaty 3 territory on Turtle Island. Jordan M. serves as a co-founding artistic director with Third Wheel Theatre Co., this position has allowed them to explore an assortment of roles as director, producer, puppeteer, actor, and playwright. Jordan M. is also a proud honours graduate of York University's B.F.A. Theatre Acting program and Humber College’s Theatre Performance program and York’s B.F.A. Acting program. Some of their favourite credits include Salt Baby (dir. N. Robitaille), Mno Bimaadiziwin (dir. H. Barnes), Art Ambulance (dir. D. Anderson), The Cat in the Hat (dir. S. Prelletz), The Echoes II: Pigeon Pie (dir. M. Wodzinska), Take Me To Your Garden (dir. J.M. Burns), and A Pineberry’s Past (writ. J.M. Burns).

See what Jordan M.’s working on now by following @ThirdWheelTheatreCo / @BurnsBright97 on Instagram!

Camille Intson

Camille Intson is an award-winning artist and researcher whose practice spans writing, performance, music, new media, emerging technology, and speculative fiction. She is the Artistic Director of Pantheon Projects, a Hamilton and Tkaronto-based queer and feminist intermedial performance and new media collective (@pantheonproj), and a current doctoral student and Course Instructor at the University of Toronto. Her recent works include JANE (currently in development with Tarragon Theatre’s Greenhouse residency), We All Got Lost (Winner of the 2021 Playwrights’ Guild of Canada Robert Beardsley Award; Best of Fringe, Best of Venue, New Play Contest Winner at the 2019 Hamilton Fringe), troubadour (nominated for a 2023 Canadian Folk Music Award), and “Winter” (Winner of the 2022 Colleen Peterson Songwriting Award, presented by the Ontario Arts Council and Folk Music Ontario).

She can be found everywhere online at camilleintson.com or @thecamiliad.

Andre Sills

Andre Sills is now a Hamilton based actor, director, producer and writer, recently making his directorial debut at Crow's Theatre directing Branden Jacobs-Jenkins' “GLORIA” (ARC, Dora Nomination for Directing). He spent 8 seasons at The Stratford Festival, playing The Duke of Buckingham in “Richard III” and Lavatch in “All's Well That Ends Well”, opening the new Tom Patterson Theatre. He played the title character in the 2018 hit “Coriolanus” directed by Robert Lepage, named in the top 10 shows of 2018 by The Washington Post, The Globe & Mail and more.

Andre spent four seasons at The Shaw Festival, credits include Tom in “The Glass Menagerie” and won a My Entertainment World Best Actor Award for “An Octoroon”. He received the Dora Award and Toronto Theatre Critics Award for Best Actor, “Master Harold and the Boys”.

He is a Resident Artist with The Actors Repertory Company (ARC). Check out his web series “Private Idiots” on YouTube.

Prizes and Notification

1. The New Play Contest first prize includes a 60-minute performance slot in the 2023 Hamilton Fringe Festival for the winning play, plus $300.00 CAD. The performance slot has no cash value and cannot be sold or transferred to another party. The winning playwright will be required to fill out and sign an Application Form and abide by all Hamilton Fringe Festival policies and procedures.

2. The two runners up will each receive a Fringe Binge Pass for the 2023 Hamilton Fringe Festival.

3. The winning play and runners up will be announced December 2022 at the Hamilton Fringe Festival’s Lottery Party (event details TBC).

1. Read the Rules & Regulations in this application, paying special attention to how scripts should be formatted and uploaded WITHOUT reference to the playwright.

2. Fill out and submit this application form by 1:00 PM ET Monday, November 14, 2022. 

3. Pay the non-refundable $35 entry fee. Payments can be made online by PayPal when completing this application OR submitted by cheque in the mail. Payment is due within 5 business days of the online submission of this form. 

The winner of the contest receives a FREE 60-minute production slot in the festival plus a $300.00 cash prize. Second and third place receive a festival Fringe Binge pass.

Interested in the New Play Contest?

First Place: now accepting submissions 
Second Place: now accepting submissions
Third Place: now accepting submissions

2022

First Place: Samca by Natalia Bushnik & Kathleen Welch (Toronto, ON)
Second Place: Whale Fall by Stephen Near (Hamilton, ON)
Third Place: Recovering by Claud Spadafora (Hamilton, ON)
Honourable Mention: A Pineberry’s Past by Jordan M. Burns (Kitchener, ON)

2021
The 2020 Hamilton Fringe Festival was cancelled due to COVID-19. New Play Contest Winner Steven Elliot Jackson instead presented an alternate work as part of the 2021 festival’s Digital Exclusives series.

2020
First Place: Three Ordinary Men by Steven Elliot Jackson (Toronto, ON)
Second Place: The Fruits That Rot in Our Bellies by Kitoko Mai (Hamilton, ON)
Third Place: Where Do We Begin? (Musical), by Thalia Ranjbar and Jake Schindler (London, ON)

2019
First Place: We All Got Lost by Camille Inston (Dundas, ON)
Second Place: Where The Wind Carries Us (Où Le Vent Nous Portera) by Andrew Lee (Hamilton, ON)
Third Place (tied): INQUEST by Marilo Nuñez (Hamilton, ON)
Third Place (tied): How I Became a Tramp by Vicki Zhang (Toronto, ON)

2018
First Place: Superman and Skinny Dan and Bird Boy by Rex Emerson Jackson (Hamilton, ON)
Second Place: DASHEVSKY AND LEV by Phyllis Heltay (Calgary, AB)
Third Place: The Greatest Minds by Francesca Brugano (Hamilton, ON)

2017
First Place: Subway Extension to the Mariana Trench by Andrew Lee (Hamilton, ON)
Second Place: The Team by Michael Kras (Hamilton, ON)
Third Place: Henry by Ron Fromstein (Toronto, ON)

2016
First Place: Faith by Ben Hayward (Toronto, ON)
Second Place: ‘Tis Some Visitor by Peter Genoway (Toronto, ON)
Third Place: Lullaby Jones by Ron Fromstein (Toronto, ON)

2015
First Place: B & E Basehead by Breen Godfrey (Toronto, ON)
Second Place: Mrs Lansen by Ron Fromstein (Toronto, ON)
Third Place: Oasis Love by Johnny Salib (Toronto, ON)

2014
First Place: Mommy’s Mask by Peter Gruner (Oakville, ON)
Second Place: Bootlegger’s Wife by Victoria Murdoch (Toronto, ON)
Third Place: A Zoo, of Sorts by Ron Fromstein (Toronto, ON)

2013
First Place: Oh God the Drums by Brad J Hart (Toronto, ON)
Second Place: Learning to Swim by Radha Menon (Hamilton, ON)
Third Place: Test by Stephen Near (Hamilton, ON)

2012
First Place: The Drive-Up Counter of the Universe by Lesley Strutt (Ottawa, ON)
Second Place: One by Ron Fromstein (Toronto, ON)
Third Place: Dairy-Free Love by Victoria Murdoch (Toronto, ON)

2011
First Place: Interface by Stephen Near (Hamilton, ON)
Second Place: The Gods and Calvin Brewer by Jessica Anderson (Ottawa, ON)
Third Place: Minced by Peter Gruner (Oakville, ON)

2010
First Place: Dianne and Me by Ron Fromstein (Toronto, ON)
Second Place: Digging by David Finley (Toronto, ON)
Third Place: Tremble by Judith Skoff (New Jersey, USA)

2009
First Place: Love Shack by Michael Wilmot (London, ON)
Second Place: The Whore Of Babylon by Rufus F and C Hickok (Hamilton, ON)
Third Place: Goodnight Amherst by James Fanizza (Toronto, ON)

2008
First Place: Gerald Hilroy’s Guide To The Art Of Seduction by David B. Fraser
Second Place: Without Whom by Robert J Downes
Third Place: Ho Ho Ho by Ron Fromstein (Toronto, ON)

2007
First Place: Balls by Rob Salerno (Toronto, ON)
Second Place: The Big Smoke by Ron Fromstein (Toronto, ON)
Third Place: Perfect Wives, Desperate Lives by Vanesa Burns

Previous Jurors

2022

DAVIN BABULAL (they/them)

Davin Babulal is a queer Indo-Caribbean actor/musician/nerd who works to continue learning and unlearning as they serve their community. They’re a fresh graduate from George Brown Theatre School and McMaster University’s Honours Life Sciences program before that. They are extremely passionate about lifting up marginalized voices and hope they can serve the underrepresented and misrepresented populations within their community. Though training and working mainly as a performer, they’ve expanded into directing and writing because someone once said something like, “If they’re not making the stuff you like, make it yourself.” This opportunity is really important to them because they recognize how much the Hamilton arts community supports and develops its artists, and they want to continue that momentum of growth.

CARLY ANNA BILLINGS (she/her)

Carly Anna Billings is a queer fat femme mixed second-generation Italian-Canadian and Annishinabek actor, singer, comedian, theatre-maker, podcaster and storyteller born, bred and based in her favourite city, Hamilton, ON, which is the traditional lands of her people the Mississaugas of the Credit. She has spent her emerging career on stages from Hamilton to Charlottetown and back again and was selected as one of four 2021 Garden Project artists for her upcoming original solo project Meat(less) Loaf. Carly recently cofounded a bi-city theatre company Afterlife Theatre with roots in Toronto and Hamilton whose debut production It’s a Beautiful Day for Brunch and Arrest the Cops That Killed Breonna Taylor was named one of “5 Best Bets” by Beyond James at the Hamilton Fringe Festival 2021. There is next to nothing she loves more than witnessing new and exciting work! She’s so glad to be a part of this.

MARY FRANCIS MOORE (she/her)

An award-winning director, actor, playwright and dramaturg, and recently appointed Artistic Director of Theatre Aquarius, Mary Francis Moore will be sitting on the New Play Contest jury this year. She has brought her distinctive artistic vision to theatres across Canada and the international stage, most recently as Associate Artistic Director at the Confederation Centre of the Arts in Charlottetown for five years and as the Artistic Curator of Junior International Children’s Festival at the Harbourfront Centre in Toronto for four years. Mary Francis is excited to return to Theatre Aquarius where she directed Hairspray: The Broadway Musical and You Fancy Yourself. She also taught for a number of years at the Theatre Aquarius School.

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