The TYE Center currently sponsors two playwriting contests. The Utah Young Playwrights for Change contest is for middle school playwrights. The Old Miner Children’s Playwriting Contest is for adults writing plays to be performed for or by elementary school students.

Young Playwrights for Change

The TYE Center sponsors the Utah regional contest for Young Playwrights for Change.  Sixth, seventh, and eighth grade students submit ten-minute plays that explore issues including family, bullying, and promoting positive change.  The winning play in the Utah contest is published in an anthology with the other regional winners and is advanced to the national contest.  The winner of the national contest has his or her play featured at a national children’s theatre conference and receives an all-expense-paid trip for three to see it presented.  In 2015, the national winner was Utah winner Alexia McCarty from DaVinci Academy for her family drama, Life Goes On.  It was performed for an audience of 500 theatre professionals in Chicago.

2019 Theme - “Discovering Truth About Ourselves and Others” Grades 6-8

The Noorda Theatre Center for Children and Youth is a regional host for the national “Young Playwrights for Change” 10-minute playwriting contest. The winner of the regional contest will be submitted to the national contest and a chance for an expense paid trip to the 2019 AATE National Conference in New York City.

If you’d like your students to submit the play for the regional playwriting contest, the submission rules are easy! Click the Rules & Guidelines, Theme & Style Guide, and Creative Tips buttons for more information. Questions about Young Playwrights for Change? Email

  • Students must be in 6th, 7th, or 8th grades
  • Play can have up to, but no more than, six characters
  • Run time of the play can be no more than 10 minutes
  • Email scripts in PDF or Word format (no Google Docs) and submission forms as email attachments to

2018 Utah Contest:

WINNER: The Park Benchby Melissa Heil

FINALISTS: Hearts of Improvement by Lauren Au

Judgment Day by Ky Hartley

Shining Through by Elizabeth Birkner

2017 Utah Contest:

WINNER: Vampire Wants a Friend by Kaityn Robison

FINALISTS: Through the Years by Kate C. Potter

Dragons vs. Kittens by Joseph Pachev

Nicole and the Bully by Kate Hill

2016 Utah Contest:

WINNER: Vets Need Help by M. Anthony Medellin

FINALISTS: I Promise by Kaitlyn Kinsella

Blind to the World by Hallie Gee

The Life of Puffles by Vivian Malan

2015 Utah Contest:

WINNER: Life Goes On by Alexia McCarty

FINALISTS: A Gremlin’s Heart by Kaisha N. Gray

Outer Demons by Darci Ramirez

The Gift by Leslie Davis

Our World is Broken by Jessica Jelsma

Old Miner Children’s Playwriting Contest

Hosted by the Theatre for Youth and Education (TYE) Center at Utah Valley University

The TYE Center at Utah Valley University is hosting the fourth annual Old Miner’s Children’s Playwriting Contest.  The contest has two divisions (a) the “National Division” for a playwright currently living in the United States and (b) the “Utah College Division” for a playwright currently enrolled at a Utah college or university.

The sponsor of the contest has a special interest in plays about real children.  As an incentive, the sponsor is offering an additional $500 “Strike It Rich Prize” to be awarded to one of the winning plays, or split between the two winning plays, if the scripts are based on the lives of actual, individual children.

The winning national playwright will receive a five-day residency culminating in a staged reading of the script, tentatively scheduled for April 13-18, 2018.  The award includes airfare, housing, and per diem plus a $1000 cash prize. All submitting playwrights may opt to receive written critiques of their plays.  Finalists may opt to receive design responses and/or oral responses from UVU theatre students. As part of the residency experience, the winning national playwright will serve as a mentor to the Utah college winning playwright.

The winning Utah college playwright will see a staged reading of his/her script with up to eight hours of workshopping and rehearsal during the April 13-18 time period. The award includes a $250 cash prize and lodging during the residency if outside of Utah County but not transportation. The winning Utah college playwright will participate in the development of the winning national playwright’s play. Both playwrights will receive mentoring and support from the director and/or dramaturg throughout the process.

The Old Miner’s Children’s Playwriting Contest is named after Tom Norris. Tom was born Jan 2, 1920 in Caliente, Nevada. Growing up during the Depression as the oldest of seven children, Tom was well acquainted with poverty. He had one life’s ambition: to make a million dollars. He did so, many times over, in the mines of Battle Mountain, Nevada. Once he accomplished his goal, he realized that working hard to make the money was more fun than having it.  Tom never spent much money on himself, but was generous to the community around him, especially the children. He never received a college education, but was a voracious reader and passionate learner. He wanted to make sure the children in his community got the best education, were knowledgeable about world events, and learned to think for themselves. Tom was an avid debater and prolific writer of letters to the editor which he always signed as “The Old Miner.”

The Old Miner’s Children’s Playwriting Contest is funded through the generous support of the Tom and Mary Norris Foundation and facilitated by the TYE Center at Utah Valley University.


National Winner:  Box of Stories by J.S. Puller

Finalists: The Light Princess by Greg Cummings

Win or Lose Stanley by Sandra Fenichel Asher

College Winner: Paul Bunyanby Timothy Peay 


National Winner:  Donnie Q by Daniel A. Kelin II

Finalists: Popularity Coach by Brian Geuhring

Scout’s Honor by Jeff Jenkins

College Winner: The Rocking Boy by Spicer Carr 


National Winner: Almost Mary by Claudia Haas

FinalistsCaptain Superlative by JS Puller

College Winner: Cry Wolf by Brian Powell  

College Finalist: Adagio by Spicer Carr


National Winner: Nice and Slow by Lojo Simon

Finalists: Stuff: A Curious Collection by Sandra Fenichel Aher

And the Universe Didn't Blink by Claudia Haas

Victory Garden by Jeff Jenkins

Strike it Rich Winner: Cold War Kids by Miranda Giles

College Winner: Arthur, Merlin, and that Stupid Sword by Spice Carr