KidsWrite Festival


KidsWrite Festival

Submission Deadline: March 1, 2024
Performance Dates: May 24-25, 2024

Every spring, Burning Coal Theatre receives play submissions from local 6th-12th graders that are then professionally produced for the public. 


KidsWrite Festival

Every spring, Burning Coal Theatre receives play submissions from local 6th-12th graders that are then professionally produced for the public.  Burning Coal has assembled a team of skilled theatre artists to bring these young writers’ stories to life.

The KidsWrite Festival was created in 2004 to encourage young writers in central NC by producing their original one act plays.  Finalists are chosen from numerous submissions. Those scripts are produced at the theatre and then published in a book available for purchase.

Created in 2004, KidsWrite will be accepting submissions of one-act plays from students and producing a number of them each year at Burning Coal Theatre (The Murphey School Auditorium). Please help us spread the word and help our next generation of writers!

 The 2024 application is now open! Submit your play here. The deadline each year for submission is March 1st.


Must be original and unique to the playwright

Must be written by a North Carolina student in 6th – 12th Grade
Must be written in Standard Manuscript Format (please see details below)
May be up to 25 pages in length (average length is about 15 pages)

No more than 4 characters
No more than 2 locations
This year, we are requiring students to apply under one of the following themes. Prompts are suggestions to get you started – feel free to stray as long as your play still fits the theme.
1) Environment
Prompt – The world around you can be a great source of inspiration, both as a topic and as a challenge or objective for a character. Think about a place and get as specific as possible (natural, human-made, temperature, smells, etc.). Then think about which characters would OR would not feel at home there and why. Create a story about the relationship between environment and characters. 
2) Family
Prompt – What is it all about? Family comes in many forms. They are often the people who have the most influence on us, for better or worse. Define the relationships between your characters, how the past shaped who they are today, and what the characters want from each other.

– Act and Scene headings are centered.
– Character’s names are centered and capitalized.
– Stage directions are indented one tab and italicized.
– Character’s names in stage directions are capitalized.

– Page numbers in the footer

You may also submit your work by email to:

Or, in the mail at:

Burning Coal Theatre, 224 Polk Street, Raleigh, NC 27604.

Writers are notified by mid-March. All writers will receive written feedback.

The KidsWrite Festival was created in 2004 to both encourage and support student writers between the sixth and twelfth grade located in central North Carolina. Every spring, Burning Coal Theatre receives numerous submissions of original one-act plays that are reviewed by a group of readers in order to select the finalists. The chosen scripts are then professionally produced by a team of hand-picked, skilled theatre artists. Burning Coal then holds a festival for the public showcasing the new plays, as well as publishing them in a book available for purchase.

Applications for 2024 are now open! Please submit your play here by March 1, 2024.

Feeling stuck? Piedmont Laureate Tamara Kissane gives her tips on how to start writing a play in this brief Youtube video. Remember, you can write about any topic for KidsWrite!

Sponsor KidsWrite! or other Burning Coal educational events for $100 – 500 (tax deductible). Sponsorships may include program ads, curtain speech recognition, and / or social media shout-outs. Email or call (919) 834-4001 to learn more.


The KidsWrite! Festival will take place on May 24-25, 2024 at the Murphey School Auditorium (Burning Coal’s usual performance space at 224 Polk St. Raleigh, NC 27604). All selected plays will be performed both days.

TICKETS will be available soon. Tickets are $10 per person.

The selected plays will be published in the KidsWrite Collection 2024. The KidsWrite Collection 2023 is still available for purchase here.

For additional information, please call 919.834.4001.

Thank you. Your being here and your support makes it possible to bring live, inclusive, innovative theatre to Downtown Raleigh, NC, and beyond.

Burning Coal Theatre Company  is funded in part by the City of Raleigh based on recommendations of the Raleigh Arts Commission. Burning Coal Theatre Company is supported by the United Arts Council of Raleigh and Wake County.

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