John C. Edwards University Prize Plays Workshop

UNH THDA is proud to announce

The Winners of the 2024 John C. Edwards University Prize Plays Workshop

The Most Comfortable Mattress in Existence
By Braedon Meattey

By Anna Schwarz

Gravity of the Heart
Music and Lyrics by Ryan Kaplan
Book by Ryan Kaplan, Lia Cruz, and Kevin McDonough

The John C. Edwards University Prize Plays Workshop (UPPW) is a 2-week new play development opportunity awarded to original students works directed and performed by students in a night of public staged readings. This award was originally dedicated by actor, writer, director, producer Mike O'Malley '88, ("Snowpiercer," "Yes Dear" and "Glee"), in honor of Professor John C. Edwards.

Competition Rules

  • Plays may be submitted by any enrolled UNH student, including both undergraduate and graduate students.
  • No more than two entries per playwright.
  • Plays must be ONE ACT in length (see FAQs for details.)
  • NEW DEADLINE: MAY 14, 2024.
  • Playwrights must commit to being fully present and engaged in the entirety of the workshop process.
  • The winner(s) will be announced Summer 2024.
  • Complete the online registration form.

Dramaturgs (Deadline Sept 15)


  • What length should my play be? One-Act plays will be accepted for consideration, including 10-minute plays. Plays should either take 9-10 minutes or 20-40 minutes in production – so as a general rule, they will not be shorter than 8 pages or longer than 40 pages in standard manuscript format. To find out more about manuscript play format, use the Modern Script Format guide from the Dramatists Guild:
  • How many plays can I submit? You can submit up to 2 entries per year.
  • Can I submit a play that I've submitted before but didn't win? Yes. If you submitted a play in a previous year that didn't win the prize, you are encouraged to revise and submit again. If you have questions about revision, please email
  • When will the winners be announced? The winners will be announced early in the summer of 2024.
  • When is the workshop? Playwrights, actors, directors, stage managers, and dramaturgs must commit to engaging fully in the 2-week development process and be present for all workshop dates. Playwrights must meet all script deadlines.  (The 2024 dates are: the weekend of Nov 8-10 times TBA, and 5-10pm Friday Nov 22, with the performance at 7pm Saturday Nov 23.)
  • How can I participate as a director, actor, dramaturg or stage manager? Applications for directors, dramaturgs and stage managers will open this summer. Auditions for actors will take place early in the fall semester.
  • When will the plays be staged? The UPPW 2024 will have a public staged reading performance at 7pm Saturday Nov 23.
  • Can I submit a play if I have not taken a playwriting class, or am not a theatre major, or consider myself more of an actor/director/designer/teacher/something else etc? Yes! The University Play Prize Workshop opportunity is open to any UNH student who has written a play, regardless of major, minor, etc. Playwrights must commit to being fully present and engaged in the entire workshop process.
  • What kinds of plays have won in the past?: Every genre and style of play that you can think of has a chance to win - plays that have won in the past have been light comedy, dark comedy, tragedy, historical documentary theatre, magical realism, light romantic comedy, dark romantic comedy, apocalyptic dystopian, fantasy, ghost, robot, monologue, conceptual, memory, farce, large ensemble cast, small cast, and many more.
  • How are the 2024 UPPWs different from the UPPs (2012-2021)?: The UPPs (Undergraduate Prize Plays) from 2012-2021 had a focus on full production. The 2024 UPPWs are, like the 2022 & 2023 UPPWs, a 4-day 2-weekend intensive workshop with a focus on fully supporting playwrights. The workshop format provides ample time to receive feedback, revise, and share them with an audience for the first time in semi-staged script-in-hand readings. There are also opportunities for student actors, directors, dramaturgs, and stage managers to learn more about new play development. Everyone involved in the UPPWs – playwrights, directors, actors, dramaturgs, etc – will take full part in the 2-weekend intensive (for example, full company first read-throughs), which will not overlap or impact student involvement in other mainstage THDA productions. 

Please e-mail Nina Morrison at for any additional information.

Previous Winners

2023-2024: Get Your Phil by Kaci Kneeland, directed by Maeve Bentley Hephaestus by Allie Fisante, directed by Mia Cosco.

2022-2023: Deus Ex Astris (or All the Light We Can No Longer See) by Joseph Solari, directed by Michelle Levine Old Tree, Old Tree by A.C. Kelly, directed by Rowan Dunning | Pursing Perfection by Carley Dahlstrom, directed by Niko McPherson Last Christmas (By Wham!) by Greta Swartz, directed by Bryson Badeau.

2021-2022: Oshibana by Galen Graham, directed by Keegan Penny | Out of Breath by John Campbell, directed by Henry Hutchinson Say What You Mean by Julia Jemsek, directed by Marissa Gast. 

2020-2021: Snowed In by Galen Graham, directed by Alex Natario | Glances by Alex Natario, directed by Jonathan Aslin We'll See by Nicole Sprague, directed by Keegan Penny 

2019-2020: There For You by Andrew Knight, directed by Serena Lockhart | Suburban Spirit World by Eleanor Langthorne, directed by John Hopwood Have A Heart by Allison Musitano, directed by Molly Fenn  

2018-2019: Am I by Andrew Knight, directed by Emelie Vandenberg Christmas 1985 by Colin Dwyer, directed by Zachary Speigel Ruckersbury Station by Rachael Downs, directed by Serena Lockhart  

2017-2018: Draining the Swamp by Isabelle Beagen, directed by Ryan LeMay | The Right Swipe by Rebecca Bishop, directed by Katelin Garland | The Night We Met by Hannah Sullivan, directed by Ina Nakuci

2016-2017: The End of the World by Marjorie Boyer, directed by Gwen Higgins Family Game Night by Sarah Gontarski, directed by Trevor Gatcomb Amour De La Nuit by Kayla Doig, directed by Tori Skoniecki

2015-2016: Whatever you Want by Tom Spencer, directed by Elizabeth Girard Blooming Lilies by Kayla Doig, directed by Allie Wing Netflix and Kill by Katelin Garland, directed by Sara Martin

2014-2015: To the Gap by Ally Foy, directed by Ansley Berg Breaking Mirrors by Tori Skoniecki, directed by Olivia Sowell The Last Testament of Ethel Rosenberg by Joseph Juknievich, directed by Kristen Henrick

2013-2014: Ones and Zeros by Brian Walker, directed by Kaitlin Deyo Raising Hell by Dan Shine, directed by Danielle Barrett Party of Three by Amy Desrosiers, directed by Rachel Vilandre Uncle Zeke and the Texas Mafia by Thomas Spencer, directed by Samantha Smith

2012-2013: A Love Story by Jessica Miller, directed by Nina Lary | Occupational Hazards by Dan Shine, directed by Nick Iannotti | Retreat to Will's House by Colton Huelle, directed by Elise Williams

1995-1996 (23rd Annual): How to Beat Death by Eric Gregoire, directed by Adam Heffernan | Gods Bad Hair Day by Matthew Hall, directed by Robin Canfield | Party Mix by John C. Brown, directed by Amy C. Henault

1994-1995 (22nd Annual): The Three Margarets by David Gold, directed by Chris Wight | Looking at Yourself in a Spoon by Alexandra Woolsey-Puffer, directed by Arlen Hillary | Fool's Mate by Chris Wight, directed by Jennifer Banda | But Now It's Calm and Sunny by Adam Thompson, directed by Jeffrey Love

1993-1994 (21st Annual): Til Death Do You Part by Christopher George, directed by Basil Harris | It's Not the End of the World by Brian Ageieff, directed by Harry Kakatsakis | A Comfortable Silence by Scott Alan Parkinson, directed by Derek F Lucci

1992-1993 (20th Annual): Much Ado to End Well | Homecoming | The Attic And Truth on Every Shepherds Tongue

1991-1992 (19th Annual): Three Years Later by Lisa Viall, directed by Martina Muserallo | The Pen and the Fractured Kitten by Carolyn Morganti, directed by Niki Sullivant | Mantis: A Sadistic Comedy in Six Scenes by David Nolan, directed by Loren Merrifield

1990-1991 (18th Annual): 

1989-1990 (17th Annual): Keys for Charlie by Susan Day, directed by Karl Treen | Games Men Play by D. Allan Kerr, directed by Robert Lazar | (We Are Experiencing) Technical Difficulties by Dan Snapp, directed by Donna Gasper

1988-1989 (16th Annual): Popular Wisdom by Carrie Bradley, directed by Kristin Graham | The Secret of the Lemon Slices by Leslie Robinson, directed by Susan Seydler That’ll Be The Day by Todd Lyman, directed by Diana Nadeau

1987-1988 (15th Annual): Wishful Drinking by Michael O’Malley, directed by Jennifer Gilkie | The Big Will by Mary McLaughlin, directed by Karen Merk | Rosewood by Michelle Rene Brochu, directed by Michelle Rene Brochu

1986-1987 (14th Annual): Spin Cycle by Suzanne Bird, directed by Bradford Farewell | Choices by Margaret Walton, directed by Victoria Cranner | 501 Blues by Bobby Ciolfi, directed by Margaret Walton

1985-1986 (13th Annual): 

1984-1985 (12th Annual): The Rape of Miss Rosalee Jones by Ed Putnam, directed by Jeffrey Hupfer | …And Into The Fire by David Ports, directed by Tracey Walker | Bronzed Beauties And Brazilian Bedpans by Don Anderson, directed by Stephanie Vogel

1983-1984 (11th Annual): The Ballad of Vern Brisson by Don Anderson, directed by Kevin Gilbert | Gone for Good by Peter Dunbar, directed by Mary Beth Murphy | Dust by Terry Beckett, directed by David A Ports

1982-1983 (10th Annual): Third Time Under by Melanie Pitarys, directed by Susan Kromphold | Soldier of Fortune by Lisa Larson, directed by Peter Dunbar | In The State of Nature by Katherine Cummings, directed by Monique St. Amant

1981-1982 (9th Annual): Third Floor West by Todd Irvine, directed by Kate Cummings | The Parlour Game by Michael Gillet, directed by Michael Boyle | Politics by Wendy Williams, directed by Kevin McDonough

1980-1981 (8th Annual): Turn in the Road by Sza Cornelius, directed by Beth Bacon | The Quartering Act by Jack Low, directed by Sza Cornelius | Caroline Brown by Todd Irvine, directed by Victoria Kasabian

1979-1980 (7th Annual): The Morning of the Auction by Jody Leigh Blouch, directed by Lillian Cataldi | Last Call by Archie Iodice, directed by John Thompson | What’s Good for the Goose by Nancy Saklad, directed by Hannah Murray

1978-1979 (6th Annual): Eureka Street by Michael Smith, directed by Abby Cohen Midnight Train to Georgia by Joseph R. Morley, directed by Scott Severance American Standard by Geneviev C. Frasier, directed by Nancy Saklad

1977-1978 (5th Annual): The Sisters by Leslie Walter, directed by Thompson O’Sullivan | Service by Michael Smith, directed by Michael Stacy | Going Places by Scott Buxton, directed by Lauralyn Seamans.

1976-1977 (4th Annual): Add Water by Nicolas Mize, directed by Lauralyn Seamans | To Feel Like God by Greg Jamback, directed by Maryann Plunkett | Harry by Robert Eckhart, directed by Patrick D’Antonio

1975-1976 (3rd Annual): Clips VII by Zane Weiner, directed by Laurey Masterton | Allegro by William Cole, directed by Nancy Oliver

1974-1975 (2nd Annual): Cassarole by William Powers, directed by Paul O’Connor | A Change of Coats by Robert Lloyd, directed by Ginger Christie | Dodo by Donald Weiss, directed by Bob Eckhart

1973-1974 (1st Annual): The Execution by Dick Cook, directed by Neil Kinsella | Circumstances by Paul Katz, directed by Duck Cook