What Playworks Is:

CA Playworks is a collaborative workshop process designed to foster young California playwrights through play development and a staged reading guided by professional directors. 

Scripts will be considered that:  

  1. Are submitted to Thespy Playwriting
  2. Are previously unproduced
  3. Have a read-through time at or under 20 minutes
  4. Adhere to the Content Guidelines for Mainstage Performance 
  5. Indicate interest in Playworks on the Thespy Application  

Up to two (2) plays will be selected for the workshop and staged reading experience.

Thespy Playwriting is the only pathway to Playworks; there is no option to submit a script outside of the Thespy program.

Who Playworks Is Great For:

  • Playwrights who want to hone their skills by working closely with a professional director in a staged reading setting
  • Performers interested in collaborating on new works
  • Assistant directors and student dramaturgs looking to expand their experience

How Playworks Works:

  • Student playwrights submit original scripts via Thespy Playwriting (DUE Jan. 31)
    • Playwrights must indicate they’d like to be considered for Playworks on their Thespy Playwriting application. 
    • Scripts must be previously unproduced and at or under 20 minutes in length.
  • Both Assistant Directors and Student Dramaturgs submit an application via the Production Leadership Application (DUE Nov. 30)
  • Selected playwrights, assistant directors, and student dramaturgs will be notified by March 15.
  • Performers who wish to be cast in a Playworks staged reading will sign up and audition on site at Festival on Friday, April 5, 2024.
  • Auditions and Rehearsals take place during Festival: Auditions Friday afternoon and evening, Rehearsals throughout Saturday
  • Staged readings are performed on Sunday morning (subject to change).


Thespy Playwriting (DUE Jan. 31): $35

Performer auditions (on site at Festival, April 5): no fee 

Assistant Director and Student Dramaturgs submit a Production Leadership Application (DUE Nov. 30): no fee 


California State Thespians is committed to promoting diversity on all levels. We embrace inclusive casting for every role, and fully supports each student’s choice to select material that speaks to them. Race, ethnic origin, gender and sexual orientation should not influence the evaluation of student performances at California Thespian events and competitions.

(Special consideration may be taken where race is germane to the text.)


Is Playworks the same thing as Thespy Playwriting? 

No, but they are connected. 

In 2022, EdTA shifted Playworks under the umbrella of Thespys, creating Thespy Playwriting. This benefits our student playwrights by providing a clear rubric for adjudication and making sure that every submission receives feedback from at least three professional adjudicators (writers, educators, and theatre makers). 

California Thespians continues to use the term “Playworks” to refer to the new play development and staged reading workshop process of selected student-written scripts. The scripts we work with will be selected from the Thespy Playwriting submissions. 

I have a great script, but I don’t want to submit to Thespy Playwriting. Can I send in my script for Playworks? 

No. Only scripts submitted to Thespy Playwriting (due Jan. 31; Fee: $35) will be considered for development in Playworks at State Festival. 

Does Thespy Playwriting count toward my Thespy total? 

Yes, submitting to Thespy Playwriting counts toward a student’s Thespy total (one for underclassmen; two for upperclassmen). 

I’m not a playwright, but I want to be involved in Playworks. What other opportunities are there? 

Playworks utilizes student Assistant Directors and Student Dramaturgs (applications due Nov. 30). Also, there will be on-site auditions at State Festival for performers for both staged readings. Auditions will take place on Friday, rehearsals on Saturday, and the staged reading workshop will be held on Sunday (subject to change). 


updated October 26, 2023