2024 New Plays from the Heartland Competition

The Mike Dobbins New Plays from the Heartland Midwest One-Act Competition is offered annually with the deadline of April 1. The 2024 competition is now open!


The Mike Dobbins Memorial New Plays from the Heartland (NPH) provides Midwestern playwrights a chance to share their original plays with residents of Central Illinois. Heartland Theatre Company solicits new, never-produced one-act plays from writers in ten Midwestern States: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin. The deadline for submissions is April 1, 2024.  The competition launches annually on Labor Day. 

Play submissions are judged for excellence by a panel of judges who review all of the submitted plays to choose the top six entries. The six finalists are then sent without identification to a final judge, an experienced playwright with national prominence, who chooses the final three plays for a staged reading at our theatre.

The three winning plays are presented as fully staged readings (costumes, lighting, props, limited blocking) on July 14,15,16, 2023. On July 13, our guest playwright offers a forum for playwrights with tips for writing successful plays. On July 14, the three winning playwrights receive an exclusive master class in the afternoon with our visiting playwright, and are honored at a playwrights’ reception following the performance that night.

About the competition:


Previous Winners of New Plays from the Heartland

Heartland Theatre Company is dedicated to providing new playwrights a forum for recognition in our theatre and our community.

This program is partially funded the Town of Normal Harmon Arts Grant and your donations to the project. Established in 2006, this annual event 1) provides playwrights from ten Midwestern states the opportunity to see their plays realized, 2) encourages the local theatre community to see and enjoy new plays, 3) demonstrates that excellent plays come from the Midwest – not just New York City and 4) challenges the audiences to use their own creativity in visualizing the play without its being fully staged.

Book Now