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Mission Statement

Viterbo University’s New Works Festival (VUNWF) aims to foster the development of original forms of theatre, nurture the collaborative spirit, and engage an in-depth conversation on the value of arts in society. The festival exists as an incubator for innovation, promotes a fundamental connection between the educational and professional process, and provides a practical resource for new works creation, growth, and critical inquiry.


Produced biennially, the festival serves as a positive and productive force within the artistic, cultural, and liberal arts ecosystem of Viterbo University, the La Crosse community, and Coulee Region. The two week-long event celebrates the creation and development of new works from international theatre makers with staged readings of a full-length musical, play, a ten-minute play series.

VUNWF Submission Guidelines for 2021

VUNWF will accept all full length musicals, plays, and ten-minute plays that meet the basic requirement and administrative criteria. Playwrights (or writing teams) are responsible for reading and following these guidelines. Special attention should be paid to the Basic Requirements, Administrative Criteria, and Artistic Distinction sections below. We are not able to provide feedback regarding the play selection process or response on unselected works.


A $1,500 stipend is awarded to each winning full-length playwright (or team) along with cost for one round-trip airfare (non-refundable) to La Crosse, WI., airport transportation and week-long housing (six nights). Most all meals will be the responsibility of the playwright. More info in the Fine Print section of the document.

Submitting your play is a simple three-step process.

  1. Submit your script as a PDF, the file name should contain the show’s full title and author's last name(s). Submissions should include a brief bio for all writers and fulfill all the basic requirements, administrative criteria, and artistic distinction listed below. If available new musical demo links can be sent via email to
  2. Pay the submission fee* of $25 for a full-length, $15 for a ten-minute play. Multiple submissions are allowed (maximum of five) but each will have a submission fee.
  3. Wait to hear from the selection committee. VUNWF will confirm receipt within a few days after the determination that the script is in compliance with the listed guidelines. REFUNDS WILL NOT BE GIVEN FOR NON-COMPLIANT SCRIPTS. Please do NOT call regarding the status of your script. We look forward to receiving you work.


Basic Requirements

  • Maximum submission limit of five (5) plays, musicals, or ten-minute plays per playwright (or writing team).
  • Full-length musicals, plays, and ten-minute works must be unpublished. They may have already been produced elsewhere, but any published works will not be considered.
  • Full-length musicals and plays should be 70 minutes minimum running time. If long then 90 minutes one intermission should be noted in the script. Stage business cannot be considered as part of the play’s running time.
  • All scripts should include a cast breakdown and notation of any doubling.
  • The festival presentations are concert readings and staged readings. The emphasis, therefore, is on the language and dialogue of a show.

Administrative Criteria

  • Legibly typed 12-point font in standard play script format and clearly marked character names connected to their dialogue.
  • Please submit as a single PDF were the file name contains the show’s title and writer's last name (s).
  • Please number all pages.
  • The cover page of the script should contain the show’s title only; please insert a copyright protected statement.
  • The second page of the script should contain a brief synopsis of the play (less than 250 words) and a complete cast list that includes each character’s name, age, and a description.
  • The last page should be indicated with “End”.

Artistic Distinction

  • Works that tackle social justice or socially relevant topics
  • Female centered works, with strong female characters
  • Age appropriate works- ideally college age or early 30’s
  • Small to medium cast size
  • Innovative and thought provoking material

VUNWF does not accept

  • Hard copies of any script
  • Film or TV Scripts
  • Translations or adaptations

The Fine Print

  • Directors, performers, and technicians for the readings are drawn from local professionals and Viterbo University Students. Please be aware of that as you submit your works.
  • Submissions are limited to five per author per year. Collaborations are encouraged and accepted. Once a script has been submitted to VUNWF, we cannot accept revisions for 2020.
  • Winning playwrights will be notified in late October of 2020 and announced publicly in November of the same year.
  • Upon notification of their selection, winning playwrights (full length musical and play only) must sign the VUNWF 2021 Winning Playwright’s Agreement and a W-9 form, which we will provide. The Winning Playwright’s Agreement covers participation at the VUNWF in La Crosse, WI TBA for 2021 Festival in at least five rehearsals culminating in two public readings of each musical or play, a playwriting workshop with Viterbo University students, and scheduled social events.
  • A $1,500 stipend is awarded to each winning full-length playwright (or team) along with cost for one round-trip airfare (non-refundable) to La Crosse, WI., airport transportation and week-long housing (six nights). Most all meals will be the responsibility of the playwright(s).
  • Winning playwrights for the 10-min plays will not be awarded prize money. If they so choice to attend the festival it will be the full responsibility of the playwright to cover all transportation, lodging, food, and all other cost associated with festival attendance.

*Fee Rationale:
VUNWF is associated with and developed through Viterbo University's Theatre and Music Theatre Department. Each year we raise the funds to produce this two-week festival, pay stipends, travel, and lodging to the winning playwright, and work with student and faculty actors and designers.