The Anna Zornio Children's Theatre Playwriting Award

We're happy to announce the winners of the 2021 Anna Zornio Children's Theatre Playwriting Award!

Anne of Green Gables by Donna Hoke Matthew
Three Horn by Adam Eugene Hurst


The University of New Hampshire’s Department of Theatre and Dance is pleased to announce the playwriting contest for new children’s plays and musicals.  The University is offering 1) a cash prize, up to $500, to a winning playwright(s), and 2) either a staged, fully staged, or touring production as determined by the needs of UNH Theatre and Dance Department.

This award was created to honor the late Anna Zornio, an alumna of the University of New Hampshire, for her dedication to and inspiration of children’s theater playwriting.

Competition Guidelines

Contest registrations are due by March 1, 2025.  The award will be administered by the Director of the UNH Theatre Education Program.  The Department of Theatre and Dance will reserve the right to withhold the award if, in its opinion, no submissions merit the award.  The award will be announced November, 2025.  All candidates will be notified of the contest results.

  • The University of New Hampshire will not be able to offer feedback for submitted scripts.
  • Allmaterials (scripts, sheet music, audio files) should be submitted digitally.
  • The winning Playwright will be required to sign a letter of agreement giving permission for the University of New Hampshire to perform the play with no additional royalties or fees. The Playwright also agrees that any published version of the play will include the following statement: “Winner of The Anna Zornio Children's Theatre Playwriting Award through the Theatre and Dance Department at the University of New Hampshire.”

Rules for Entry

  1. The contest is open to all playwrights residing in the United States and Canada.
  2. All ages are invited to participate.
  3. The contest is for new plays, with a maximum length of 60 minutes and suitable for young audiences (adults will perform for children.)
  4. Plays submitted must not have been fully produced at the time of submission, though it may have been workshopped or done as a staged reading for the purpose of revision; previously produced winner of an award or prize in another playwriting contest; and must not be under contract for publication before UNH’s announcement of the award winner; DOES NOT EXCEED A SIXTY-MINUTE RUN TIME. A statement stipulating all of the above items MUST be included on the registration form.
  5. Playwrights may submit more than one play, but not more than three.
  6. Only digital copies of the scripts will be accepted (no hard copies).
  7. Each submission should include:
    - cast list
    - description of characters
    - a statement of design/technical considerations (the producers particularly need to know if you intend a multi-location set or unit set design motif)
  8. The author’s name should not appear on any other page than the registration form.  You may put the title on each page, but competition does blind evaluations.  Readers should not be able to identify the author.
  9. Submissions must be received no later than March 1, 2025. 
  10. Entries that do not meet the above requirements will not be considered.


Previous Winners

  • 2017 Momotaro Peach Boy Hero by Katie Grotzinger
  • 2012 Keep on Walkin' by James Armstrong, Lavell Blackwell, and Joshua H. Cohen 
  • 2009-2010 The Fisherman and His Wife by Claudia Haas
  • 2005-2006 The Nastiest Drink In The World by Mark Loewenstern
  • 2001-2002 Western Trail by Chris Harding, music by Sandy Lantz
  • 1998-1999 Rump! by David Kaye
  • 1994-1995 Creature Concert by Freyda Thomas and Patrice Braun, music by Gary Anderson and Freyda Thomas, lyrics by Freyda Thomas 
  • 1993-1994 Tortoise Vs. Hare by Stephen Murray
  • 1992-1993 The King Stag by Sylvia Ashby
  • 1991-1992 The Book Dragon by Adele Abrahamse and Robert Myers-Morgan
  • 1990-1991 A Tree With Arms
  • 1989-1990 Journey Towards The Light, book and lyrics by Sarah Schlesinger, music by David Evans
  • 1988-1989 Medieval Masquerade, or, the Tale of Aradan and Theone, book and lyrics by Jacqueline Davis, music by Jeffery Gage
  • 1987-1988 The Starship Orion Discovery by Wil Denson
  • 1986-1987 The Princess From The Sea
  • 1984-1985 Brewstopher by David Wolf and Chris Leavy
  • 1983-1984 Majestic Madness by Michelle Laurion, music and lyrics by Chris Leavy, additional music and lyrics by Gene Lauze and Michelle Laurion
  • 1982-1983 Aladdin
  • 1981-1982 Bears, Birds, Boas, and Elephants by Wanda Karolczak
  • 1980-1981 Medieval Misfits and a Little Hocus Pocus by Bob Peaco and Kevin LaChapelle

Contact Information

Michael Wood, Administrative Manager
D22 Paul Creative Arts Center
University of New Hampshire
30 Academic Way

Phone: (603) 862-3038
Fax: (603) 862-0298