Submissions are now being accepted for the Cunningham Commission for Youth Theater

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The DePaul University School of Theater has announced that submissions are now being accepted for the Cunningham Commission for Youth Theater. Chicagoland-area playwrights and alumni of The Theater School are eligible to apply, and the winner will be announced in June. The deadline for submission is April 1, 2022.

The Cunningham Commission for Youth Theater was established at the Theater School to honor the memory of the Reverend Donald Cunningham, a Chicago priest, playwright, and theater enthusiast. The Cunningham Commission was established through an endowment gift from the Cunningham family and is presented annually. The purpose of the commission is to encourage the writing of dramatic works for young audiences that affirm the centrality of religion, writ large, and the human quest for meaning, truth and community. The drama school intends to produce the plays created through this commission in its award-winning Chicago Playworks for Families and Young Audiences series.

Chicago Playworks is dedicated to reflecting our audience’s experience in an urban, contemporary, and multi-ethnic environment. Each season has three productions attended by more than 30,000 young people and their families. The age of the target audience varies for each show, with the primary focus being to serve students in grades four through seven. Past winners include Ike Holter, Isaac Gomez, Caro Macon, Gloria Bond Clunie, Ricardo Gamboa and Omer Abbas Salem.

Applicants must submit:

· a CV.

· a sample of their playwriting work (no more than 20 pages). The writing sample can be from a play of any genre for any audience.

· a brief statement of their interest in the commission.

· a description of the length of a paragraph of a possible project.

The commission schedule is as follows:

• June 2022: announcement of the winner and signature of the contract.

• December 1, 2022: first draft due (cash on delivery).

• January 15, 2023: Notes from the Theater School committee given to the playwright.

• April 1, 2023: second draft due (cash on delivery).

• May 15, 2023: Notes from the Theater School committee given to the playwright.

• September 1, 2023: third draft due (final payment on delivery).

The piece will then be considered for the following year’s Chicago Playworks for Families and Young Audiences series.

The Cunningham Commission fee is $6,000 with additional fees if the play is produced as part of the Chicago Playworks series. The selection committee is chaired by Michelle Lopez-Rios and is made up of members of The Theater School community. Please send all applications to: [email protected]

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