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Jackie White Memorial
Play Writing Contest


Submission Guidelines

"The Jackie White Memorial Play Writing Contest has been invaluable to me both professionally and personally.  It has given me the confidence to know that my selected plays are stage-worthy and both challenging and appropriate for youth performers.  Because I write mostly for family audiences and young performers, the contest has been a perfect venue for exploring and improving my work." - Claudia Haas, various finishes



Founded in 1988 by then CEC President Debbie Baldwin, the Jackie White Memorial Play Writing Contest seeks to encourage playwrights to write quality plays for family audiences. Originally intended to find plays suitable for Theatre School production, the winning entries have been, and continue to be, produced for CEC's Summer Family Theatre Program, using actors of all ages.

Jackie Bromstead White, herself a playwright, a Columbia native, and former head of Rock Bridge High School's Drama Department, was instrumental in the early success of the contest.  She created guidlines for contest play-readers on how to judge plays which is still utilized. In 1991 Dr. Jackie White died from cancer. It was fitting to rename the contest in her honor:  The Jackie White Memorial National Children's Play Writing Contest.

From the beginning, the contest was a success, and for years the first and often second place winners were produced by CEC's Theatre School.  Usually, the winning authors attend the production of their plays. 

Under the direction of Betsy Phillips, The Jackie White Competition has come to be known at a national level as a contest that supports the development and production of children's theatre plays.  The prestigious national reputation is due to hard working readers, who spend every summer reading plays and writing reveiws. All plays are read by at least three readers, and many are read by up to twelve readers. 

Once the winners have been chosen, all playwrights receive a letter telling them the strength and weaknesses of their entry.  This service encourages and challenges playwrights. In addition it gives them confidence that their work is stage worthy. It is this service that makes the contest so valuable for playwrights. 

If you would like to know more about the Jackie White Memorial National Childrens Play Writing Contest please contact Betsy Phillips at

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Last updated: March 24, 2011