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.

2023 Utah Contest:

High School Division:

WINNER: Holding to Her Own by Eliza Bartholomew

FINALISTS: Taking Off a Front by Debbie Bennett

To Be or Not to Be by Nya Hellewell

Words Unspoken by Heather Kinsey

2022 Utah Contest:

High School Division:

WINNER: Pulmenti by AJ Slee

FINALIST: Moving On by Mildred Figueria

Middle School Division:

WINNER: June's Hope by Brooklyn Walters

FINALISTS: Glitter Boyby Levi Wayman

Hope by Sulice Ilhi

2021 Utah Contest:

WINNER: Holding to Her Own by Eliza Bartholomew

FINALISTS: Life Struggles by Danika Dinsdale

To Get the Girl  by Harmony Batholomew

 Shielded Friendships by Benjamin Aua

2020 Utah Contest:

WINNER: Message of Hope  by Annalyce Chandler

FINALIST: What's in a Miracle? By Alyssa Sorensen

2019 Utah Contest:

WINNER: Jail Paint by Ky Hartley

FINALISTS: Red Umbrella by Lauren Au

Pulmenti by AJ Slee

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

2014 Utah Contest:

WINNER:Combo Pizza by Darci Ramirez

FINALISTS:The Bully Investigator by Matthew Wilcox

The Goody-Goodies by Sephora Giraud-Carrier

Garcon by Elizabeth Ann Liggera

I Am Not Afraid by JaLynn Nicole Beaumont

Old Miner’s Children’s Playwriting Contest

The Old Miner’s Children’s Playwriting Contest is funded through the generous support of the Tom and Mary Norris Foundation, and is named after Tom Norris, born January 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 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 National Division winner will receive:

  • A five-day residency culminating in a staged reading of the script
  • The opportunity to mentor the winner of the Utah College Division
  • $1000 cash prize
  • Airfare from the continental United States, lodging, and meal per diem
  • The option of design or verbal responses from UVU theatre students
  • Mentoring and support from a director and/or dramaturg

The Utah College winner will receive:

  • Up to eight hours of workshopping and rehearsal, with a staged reading
  • Mentorship from a professional playwright
  • $250 cash prize
  • Lodging, if playwright resides outside of Utah County
  • Mentoring and support from a director and/or dramaturg

(please note transportation is not included for the Utah College Winner)

Plays based on the lives of real children are eligible for a bonus $500 “Strike It Rich” prize.


Cosplayers by J.S. Puller

The Day Starbucks Stook Still by Jeff Jenkins

Hidden Shells by Janine Knighton


Coki by Natasha Cosme Batista

Letters from Lisette by Claudie Haas

Taste Buds: the Adventures of Cake and Broccoli by Claire Derriennic


Champion by Joanna Kraus

Kayko's Garden by Jeff Jenkins

Sleeping Beauty Stays Awake by Steph DeFerie


Crayons by J. S. Puller


National Winner: Timmon and the Magic Shoes by Jeff Jenkins

Strike it Rich Winner: My Brother’s Gift by Claudia Haas


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 Asher

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 Spicer Carr