Marilyn Bianchi Kids’ Playwriting Festival

A Dobama tradition, the Marilyn Bianchi Kids’ Playwriting Festival (MBKPF) is entering its 40th year of producing plays written by kids!  Hundreds of plays are submitted by students throughout Cuyahoga County, grades 1 – 12. Dedicated to the memory of Marilyn Bianchi, the festival is the nation’s first event of its kind, encouraging kids to celebrate the fun and joy of live theatre! 


  • The MBKPF is open to all students grades 1-12, whether home-schooled or attending a public, private or charter school.
  •  Plays must be the original work of the individual student who is submitting it. No collaborations, adaptations, or copying situations or characters from movies, TV, books, video games or other plays.
  • Submitted plays should be no longer than 10 minutes when read aloud.
  • The play may be any genre: comedy, drama, mystery, fantasy - wherever your imagination leads you.

Every play is read and scored by at least three judges, all of whom have writing, education and/or theatre experience.

Readers award points on the basis of imagination and human values as much as playwriting skills, The age and grade of the playwright will be taken into consideration by the judges.

Between 10 and 12 high-scoring plays will be selected for production on Dobama's stage for the Festival performances in June.


  • Plays in a Word Document form can be emailed to While we strongly encourage electronic submissions, hard copies of typed plays may be mailed to The Marilyn Bianchi Kids' Playwriting Festival, Dobama Theatre, 2340 Lee Road, Cleveland Heights, OH 44118.
  • Please include a title page that has: the title of the play, your name, address, phone number and your school and grade. Your name and age should not appear anywhere else in the play.
  • Make sure each page of the play is numbered and contains the title of the play but not your name.


  • Keep your play to around 10 -15 pages long.
  • Try reading the play out loud. Does the dialogue sound natural? Does the audience have the information they need to understand what's happening? Do all the characters contribute to the story? Time your play as you read it. Is it 10 minutes or shorter?
  • Every play needs characters! The characters can be people (kids, teenagers or grown-ups), animals (dogs, cats, insects), monsters (all kinds), robots, plants (trees, flowers, poison ivy) and even inanimate objects (a television set, a toaster, a washing machine), etcetera. Aim to have between 2 and 10 characters.
  • Having your play take place anywhere from one to three locations is another good thing. Where does your story happen? Where do the characters go?
  • Remember that a play is different from a movie. If, in your play, a character jumps out of a plane, lands in pasture on top of a giant bull who throws him into a lake that he then swims across: this will be a challenge to put on a stage. This would be something you would more likely to see in a movie.
  • Remember, these are just suggestions!


We are currently accepting submissions. Play submissions are due on March 2, 2018.

Winners will be announced on April 2, 2018.

The Marilyn Bianchi Kids' Playwriting Festival performances will take place June 1-3, 2018.

Any questions? Email Education Associate Carrie Williams at