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In his cartoons for The New Yorker, James Stevenson told stories about the human comedy with energy and economy. This year, Playing on Air will once again award three major prizes for short comedies that perpetuate Mr. Stevenson's spirit and wit, bringing the finest new American plays to a national audience - for free.   

The Prize’s sponsor is James Stevenson's wife, Josie Merck For submission details, read on below. 


$7,500 award, plus a Playing on Air recording of the winning play for radio and podcast distribution


 $2,000 award


 $1,000 award

What to Submit:

- Playing on Air invites writers to submit a short comedic play of 10-25 pages (not counting title page). 
- All entries must be original, unproduced plays. Scripts may not be adapted from the playwright’s published or previously-produced work.
- Submissions will be judged for literary merit, originality, and regard for the spirit of James Stevenson.
- Please do not include sound design cues or instructions beyond standard stage directions.
- Special consideration will be given to the script’s suitability for audio recording, as well as public radio broadcast.  Single-character monologues and plays that rely on the extensive use of a chorus, cast doubling, stage directions, or visual elements are discouraged.
- No fee is required for entry. 

Formatting requirements:
Title page (with no author information), 12pt font, 1 inch margins on every side, and numbered pages
- All submissions will be judged "blind."  Uploaded scripts should not include the author's name, representation, or any identifying information. All author information should be provided via submission form, linked below. 


- One submission will be accepted per entrant. Additional entries will disqualify the writer. 
- Submissions will be accepted from February 28, 2019 to May 31, 2019 at 11:59pm EST.  We strongly encourage playwrights to submit their work early, as no exceptions will be made.
- Entrants must be at least 21 years of age by May 31, 2019.  By entering, playwright consents to Playing on Air’s recording and distribution of winning play. 
- Past winners may not submit in the two years after their win.
- Due to number of entries, Playing on Air cannot provide feedback on any individual script.  

Submissions for the 2019 Stevenson Prize are closed. Thank you for submitting your plays! We look forward to reading them.

For samples of previous Playing on Air episodes, subscribe to the Playing on Air podcast on your favorite podcast app.  

Last year’s inaugural Stevenson winners were HATE BABY by Gracie Gardner, HEDGEHOG YEARS by Lily Akerman, and HORSE LATITUDES by Elizabeth Logun. Gardner and Akerman’s plays are slated for release on Playing on Air later this year.

April Matthis  and  Emily Bergl  record  Gracie Gardner ’s  HATE BABY  live at the 52nd Street Project Theater

April Matthis and Emily Bergl record Gracie Gardner’s HATE BABY live at the 52nd Street Project Theater