203B12D74-EFDA-3C26-711879DDD9C7DCF7Producing Artistic Director Gwendolyn Whiteside and American Blues Theater, Chicago’s second oldest Equity Ensemble, announce that American Blues Theater is currently accepting submissions for the 2016 Blue Ink Playwriting Award between Wednesday, July 1 and Monday, Aug. 31 at 11:59 p.m. The Blue Ink Playwriting Award was created in 2010 to support new work. Competition rules are included with this release. Playwrights may submit one (1) manuscript each year for consideration. Producing Artistic Director Gwendolyn Whiteside and American Blues Theater’s award-winning Ensemble will select the winning play. The winner of this annual competition will be awarded the Blue Ink Playwriting Award of $1,000 and receive a developmental workshop at American Blues Theater in Chicago. For information on submission policy and more details, please go

Winners include 2015’s Jamie Pachino’s Other Than Honorable and previous winners Douglas Post’s Comden Mall Community Activists (2014), Elaine Romero’s Graveyard of Empires (2013), Christina Gorman’s American Myth (2012) and Stephanie Walker’s American Home (2011).

Blue Ink Playwriting Award requirements include:

  1. This contest is restricted to plays written in the English language. Worldwide submissions are accepted.
  2. Submissions must be original, unpublished full-length plays written in English. Translations, musicals, and children’s plays are not accepted.
  3. Playwrights may submit only one manuscript per year.
  4. Plays that have been professionally produced or published are not eligible. Plays that have had a workshop, reading, or non-professional production will be considered.
  5. Plays may not be under option or scheduled for professional production or publication at the time of submission.
  6. American Blues Theater reserves the Right-of-First-Refusal to produce the world-premiere of the winning manuscript for one year beginning on date of the public announcement in March 2016.
  7. Plays must be sent as a Microsoft Word document or PDF file to
  8. Send the $5 administrative fee to: American Blues Theater, 1016 N. Dearborn, Chicago, IL 60610. You may pay online at, send a personal or cashier’s check, or cash. You will receive notification of your completed submission—both manuscript and payment—via e-mail.


American Blues Theater is the premier American theater producing visceral theatrical works while engaging its audience in missions of local service agencies. American Blues Theater illuminates the American ideas of freedom, equality, and opportunity in the plays we produce and communities we serve.

The multi-generational and interdisciplined artists have established the second-oldest professional Equity Ensemble theater in Chicago. The 39-member Ensemble has nearly 539 combined years of collaboration on stage. As of 2015, they’ve individually received nearly 150 Joseph Jefferson Awards and nominations that celebrate excellence in Chicago theater and over 22 Black Theatre Alliance Awards. The artists are honored with Pulitzer Prize nominations, Academy Awards, Golden Globe Awards, Emmy Awards, and numerous other accolades.

The American Blues Theater Ensemble includes all four Founders Ed Blatchford, Rick Cleveland, James Leaming, and William Payne with Dawn Bach, Matthew Brumlow, Manny Buckley, Kate Buddeke, Sarah Burnham, Dara Cameron, Casey Campbell, Brian Claggett, Dennis Cockrum, Austin Cook, Laura Coover, Lauri Dahl, Kristin DeiTos, Joe Foust, Tom Geraty, Cheryl Graeff, Marty Higginbotham, Jaclyn Holsey, Lindsay Jones, Samantha Jones, Nambi E. Kelley, Kevin R. Kelly, Steve Key, Ed Kross, Warren Levon, Michael Mahler, Kelli Marino, Heather Meyers, John Mohrlein, Jim Ortlieb, Suzanne Petri, Carmen Roman, Editha Rosario, Sarah E. Ross and Gwendolyn Whiteside.




American Blues Theater programs and activities are made possible in part by funding by The MacArthur Funds for Arts & Culture at the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation for Professional Development, the Shubert Foundation, The Chicago Community Trust, SMART Growth Grant, Arts Work Fund, the Illinois Arts Council Agency, and Robert R. McCormick Foundation, Anixter Foundation, Actors’ Equity Foundation, and the Chip Pringle Fund. ComEd is the 2015-2016 Season Lighting Sponsor.