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Reno 2015

EMOS ~ Ecodrama Playwrights Festival & Symposium ~ 2015


Hosted by the Department of Theatre and Dance

At the University of Nevada, Reno in May 2015




First place Award: $1,000 and workshop production

Second place Award: $500 and possible workshop production

Honorable mentions: public staged reading


Deadline for Submissions is April 1, 2014.


The mission of EMOS’ Ecodrama Playwrights Festival is to call forth and foster new dramatic works that respond to the ecological crisis and that explore new possibilities of being in relationship with the more-than- human world. The central questions EMOS asks are ―when we leave the theater are things around us more alive? Do we listen better, have a deeper or more complex sense of our own ecological identity? (1)  If your play does, send to us!


The EMOS Festival includes workshop performance/s of winning script, readings, talkbacks and discussions of the scripts that are finalists in the Playwrights’ Contest. A concurrent Symposium will includes speakers, panels and discussions that advance scholarship in the area of arts and ecology, and help foster development of new works.


Past EMOS Winners:

2012– Sila, the first play of The Arctic Cycle, by Chantal Bilodeau

A climate scientist, an Inuit activist and her daughter, two Canadian Coast Guard Officers, an Inuit Elder, and a polar bear—see their values challenged as their lives become intricately intertwined.


2009 – Song of Extinction, by Los Angeles playwright EM Lewis

A musically talented teen and his father whose mother/wife is dying come to understand the deeper meanings of extinction from a Cambodian science teacher. Song of Extinction premiered in Los Angeles and was recently published by Samuel French.


2004 – Odin’s Horse, by Chicago playwright Rob Koon

A writer learns something about integrity from a tree sitter and a lumber company executive, went on to premier in Chicago in 2006.


A panel of distinguished theatre artists from the USA and Canada will choose the winning plays from five finalists. Finalist will be read by past EMOS festival directors, Larry Fried, Theresa May and Wendy Arons, as well as EMOS artistic staff at the University of Nevada, Reno.


Past judges have included: Robert Schenkkan, playwright; Martha Lavey, Artistic Director, Steppenwolf Theatre, Chicago, IL; José Cruz González, playwright; Ellen McLaughlin, playwright; Timothy Bond, Artistic Director Syracuse Stage, NY; Olga Sanchez, Artistic Director, Teatro Milagro, Portland, OR; Diane Glancy, playwright; Marie Clements, playwright, British Columbia.


Guidelines for Playwrights:

Scripts must be original works which have not been published and have not had an Equity or ―premier citation production. (Readings or informal workshop productions are okay.)


Thematic Guidelines

  • We are looking for plays that do one or more of the following:

  • Put an ecological issue or environmental event/crisis at the center of the dramatic action or theme of the play.

  • Expose and illuminate issues of environmental justice.

  • Explore the relationship between sustainability, community and cultural diversity.

  • Interpret ―community‖ to include our ecological community, and/or give voice or ―character‖ to the land, or elements of the land.

  • Theatrically explore the connection between people and place, human and non-human, and/or between culture and nature.

  • Grow out of the playwright’s personal relationship to the land and the ecology of a specific place.

  • Theatrically examine the reciprocal relationship between human, animal and plant communities.

  • Celebrate the joy of the ecological world in which humans participate.

  • Offer an imagined world view that illuminates our ecological condition or reflects on the ecological crisis from a unique cultural or philosophical perspective.

  • Critique or satirizes patterns of exploitation, consumption, or other ingrained values that are ecologically unsustainable.

  • Are written specifically to be performed in an unorthodox venue such as a natural or environmental setting, and for which that setting is a not merely a backdrop, but an integral part of the intention of the play.


Submission Process:

We are looking for full-length plays that are written primarily in English (no ten-minute plays, please; one-act plays are okay if 30+ minutes in length; no musicals, please). Submitted plays should address the thematic guidelines as listed above. Deadline: April 1, 2014 ~ Early submission highly encouraged.


Electronic submissions may be sent; see #2 below for instructions.


1.     All submissions should include a cover page with:

  • Play Title

  • Author Name

  • Contact Information

2.    Two blind copies of the FIRST 30 PAGES OF THE SCRIPT ONLY. Please do not put the author’s name on the script, only on the title page.

  • Additional requirements for Electronic Submissions:

  • Files must be saved in PDF; cover page may be a separate PDF file

  • Send to Jonathon Taylor by April 1, 2014

3.    A synopsis of the play and cast requirements.


Paper submissions must be received by April 1, 2014 to:

EMOS Festival/Jonathon Taylor

Department of Theatre and Dance

University of Nevada, Reno


Evaluation Process:

After reading the first 30 pages of all submitted plays, we will narrow the pool of submissions. We will then request two full paper copies be sent to us by July 1, 2014. Winners will be selected from this smaller pool. 



(1) Theresa May, 2004 EMOS Festival position paper.

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