New Play Prizes

Through the generosity of Norton J. "Sky" Cooper, MTC awards two annual new play prizes that celebrate the work of emerging and experienced American playwrights. Past winners include Sarah DeLappe (The Wolves), Antoinette Nwandu (Pass Over), and many more over the prizes' 10-plus year history.  

The David Calicchio Emerging American Playwright Prize is awarded annually to a professionally unproduced playwright, for a new work that shows outstanding promise and a distinctive new voice in the American theatre. Submissions for the 2019-2020 round will be accepted July 1-25, 2019. All submissions for the Calicchio Prize are automatically entered into the pool for the Sky Cooper Prize. 

The Sky Cooper Prize is awarded annually to either an established or emerging playwright for an outstanding new work that shows a visionary understanding of the theatrical form. Submissions for the 2019-2020 round will be accepted August 6-31, 2019. 

These new play prizes are part of MTC’s proud commitment to the development of new American plays as a central component of its artistic programming. Click on the menus below to learn more about each prize. 

To playwrights and agents interested in submitting plays for our 2019-2020 David Calicchio and Sky Cooper New Play Prizes: we are in the midst of a webpage update and will have information soon. Keep writing! information on the Calicchio Prize, including submission guidelines >>

Sky Cooper New American Play Prize More information on the Sky Cooper New American Play Prize, including submission guidelines 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between the two prizes?
For the David Calicchio Emerging American Playwright prize, the playwright is eligible if they have not had a full professional production. This prize is meant to give direct access to new or emerging writers who do not have representation or a record of successful productions yet. We are looking for writers of caliber who are as yet unknown, but who are looking for an opportunity to work with a professional theater.
The Sky Cooper New American Play prize provides a generous cash award and an option for production to a play by an emerging or established playwright with an unproduced play that has yet to find its first production.

When can I submit my materials?
Submissions for the 2017-18 David Calicchio Emerging American Playwright prize are accepted from July 1 - 31, 2017. Submissions for the 2017 Sky Cooper New American Play prize are accepted from August 1 - 31, 2017.

Why are the submission windows separate?
The literary office at Marin Theatre Company receives hundreds of submissions every year. It is a daunting task to thoughtfully read all of the submissions, but we are committed to making sure each and every submission is read by a member of the artistic staff of the theater. In order to make sure we are reading carefully and considering the correct play for the correct competition it was submitted to, we have decided to split the submission window apart to better keep track of the scripts we’re reading.

Is there a difference in the submission process for the two prizes?
There is! The David Calicchio prize is open only to playwrights who have never had a professional production. Playwrights may submit a 10-page sample on their own behalf, or agents may submit full scripts for them, along with a completed submission form.
The Sky Cooper prize is open to any playwright – emerging or established – with an unproduced play. This year for the Sky Cooper prize, in addition to the 10-page sample (or full script, if submitted by an agent) and completed submission form, we are also requiring you submit a professional recommendation with your submission materials.

What does that mean, a professional recommendation?
A professional recommendation can be a short note from a theatre professional (director, artistic director, university professor or other colleague) you have worked with in the past who will vouch for the quality of your work. If you have an agent, they are your professional recommendation and we do not need anything further. We are asking for professional recommendations to help ensure a high level of excellence and craft in the submitted materials.

What is the selection process?
For Phase I of the competition, all submissions (both full scripts and 10-page samples) are read by a member of the artistic staff of Marin Theatre Company. We solicit full scripts for consideration in Phase II of the competition, usually around 5-10% of total applicants. Phase II submissions are considered by the full artistic staff of the theater. Two plays are chosen, one for the Sky Cooper New American Play prize and one for the David Calicchio Emerging American Playwright prize. Final decisions are made by Artistic Director Jasson Minadakis.

When will I hear whether I’ve been moved on to Phase II?
You will be contacted via phone or email if you have been moved on to Phase II of consideration in the process once all Phase I submissions have been read, the timing of which can vary, depending on the number of submissions. Due to the high volume of submissions, not everyone will be contacted.

Is there a fee?
No! Thanks to the generosity of Norton J. "Sky" Cooper, our play prizes are administered without an application fee.

If I am eligible for both prizes, can I submit to both prizes?
Yes, you can!

Can I submit a full script?
For both the David Calicchio and Sky Cooper prizes, full scripts may be submitted for consideration via an agent or professional representation. Playwrights submitting on their own behalf must submit a synopsis and 10-page sample of consecutive dialogue from the script.

Can I submit a play that I have already submitted?
No, we do not accept plays that have been submitted for consideration in previous years.

What if the play has been rewritten or revised?
Unless the play is remarkably different than a previous version and you have spent significant time making changes to the story or the storytelling, we do not accept plays that have been submitted for consideration in previous years.

Can I submit more than one play?
No, only one play may be submitted per playwright each year.

Can I submit a different play for each of the prizes?
No, only one play may be submitted per playwright each year.

Even though there are separate submission windows for the two prizes?
Yes, we still only allow one play to be submitted per playwright each year.

What does “professional production” mean?
For the Calicchio Emerging American Playwright prize, we only accept work from playwrights that have not had professional productions. A professional production can be defined many ways, but generally if the play was produced at a theater company with compensated actors and creative team with the theatrical elements realized, and if the playwright was compensated for right to produce the play, that is a professional production. Festivals productions that were not fully realized, educational productions and showcase productions do not count as professional productions. If you have any questions about eligibility, please contact the literary office at

Can I get feedback on my play?
No. Marin Theatre Company does not provide feedback on work submitted to the play prize competition.

What format do you prefer for submissions?
Thank you for asking! We prefer online submission in PDF format (.pdf) with the playwright’s last name, first name, and (title of play) as the document title. For example: Wilson, August (Seven Guitars).pdf.

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