-The Risk Theatre Modern Tragedy Competition (henceforth ‘the Competition’) is open to one-act and multi-act plays, 90 – 120 minutes in length (not including intermission). Generally, a properly formatted play of this length will be 80 to 110 pages long. If your script is significantly outside these parameters, it is probably ineligible.

-Playwrights may submit more than one script, but each script must be accompanied by a separate entry fee and entry form.

-Entries must be received by the Competition no later than 9PM, May 31, 2021 Pacific Time (PDT).

-The Competition is open to writers of any nationality BUT all entries must be written in English.

-The script must be original. Adaptations of other works will not be accepted with two exceptions: 1) adaptation of works that are in the public domain will be accepted; for instance, a contemporary adaptation of a classic Greek tragedy; 2) adaptation of works to which the author holds sole copyright will be accepted; for instance, a short story written by the author.

-Scripts that have been simultaneously entered in other playwriting competitions are eligible.

-Musicals are eligible. Jurors will judge musicals on the basis of the libretto only. They will not have access to the music.

-Scripts that have gone through a workshop or been given public reading ARE eligible.

-Scripts that have been professionally produced at the time of submission are NOT eligible. Any public performance for which production members have been paid beyond a token honorarium will be considered a professional production.

-Scripts which have been commissioned are NOT eligible.


Adjudication will be completed by jurors engaged by the Competition. Jurors will be qualified and experienced industry professionals. Jurors will remain anonymous from the public as well as each other until the adjudication is complete. There will be three rounds of adjudication. Entrants will be notified at the end of each round if their script has been successfully passed to the next round. The first round will commence as soon as possible after the May 31, 2021 deadline. Jurors’ decisions are final. All scripts will be judged anonymously.


-A prize of $10,000 will be awarded to the winner.*

-Four $525 prizes will be awarded to the runners-up.*

-The winning playwright may receive a travel stipend of up to $1030¬†to offset the costs of travelling to Victoria for a workshop¬†led by Edwin Wong. The workshop will culminate in a reading either streamed online or before a live audience (the choice of which will be at the organizers’ discretion).* This one-of-a kind workshop will explore how the winning play makes risk palpable by considering unconventional playwriting topics such as the all-in wager, the edge, complexity, unexpectation, feedback, n(n-1)/2, black swans, and fat tails. There’s nothing like it.

The stipend is based on the distance, as calculated by Google Maps, between the winning entrant’s residence and Victoria, Canada and is set at $2.06 per km. That is to say, to obtain the maximum stipend of $1030, the winning entrant must live 500 or more kilometers away from Victoria. The travel stipend is meant to help offset the cost of travel, not to cover the entire cost of travel.*

-The winning entries will be announced on the Competition website on August 16, 2021. The workshop will take place at a mutually agreeable date set after coordination with the winner.


-One copy of the script is to accompany the web entry form. Entries must be in PDF format. All other formats (e.g. Word, Open Office, Google Docs, etc.,) will be rejected.

-NO IDENTIFYING MARKS will appear on the script or the title page. If the name of the playwright appears anywhere on the script, it will be rejected. The script will be identified by title only with other identifying information contained only on the entry form.

-The script entry form must be accompanied by entry fee payment. Until payment is received, a script shall be considered ineligible.

-The script and payment must be received by 9PM, May 31, 2021 Pacific Time (PDT).

-All scripts must be properly formatted. An improperly formatted script is difficult to read and may be rejected. See ‘Notes on Formatting’ below for more information.

-Number each page of the script after the title page, beginning with page one.


-Each entry $49.00.*


-double-space text between speaking parts and stage directions

-single-space text elsewhere

-isolate speakers’ names from the dialogue in a consistent manner

-use italics to clearly distinguish stage directions from dialogue

-no images should appear anywhere on the title page or script

-use a standard 12 point font

For example:

Maurice and Anna stand facing each other.

Didn’t you know the deadline is tomorrow?

I was working my way up to it. You know it’s not easy writing tragedy. Especially with all these newfangled rules! If you think it’s easy, YOU submit a play–there’s still time.

Anna turns away from him.

How dare you! You of all people should know that my life has been too full of tragedy to write a tragedy…

detail from The Dead Man’s Hand

*all funds in Canadian dollars