One-Act Selection Guide in white and red bold font. Kids dressed as zombies are chasing another kid dressed as an old lady with hair curlers and a walker.

One-Act Selection Guide

One-act competition season is right around the corner, have you selected your show? We’re here to help! Follow this handy guide for everything you need to know about selecting, producing, and licensing a one-act for UIL, ITF, or any other one-act showcase you participate in.

How to Pick a One-Act

1. Ask your students what interests them

If your students aren’t going to enjoy the play, there’s no point in doing it. Ask what challenges they’re looking for and what kind of work excites them. What worked last year might not work with this year’s class, but as long as they are passionate about it, you’re sure to have a successful play.

2. Consider casting

Think about the talent you have when selecting a show; give as many people as possible opportunities to portray characters like themselves. If you don’t have the actors to play roles with a specific race or gender identity, do not change the playwright’s story to fit the talent you have.

3. Consider tech

Even though it’s a one-act, you can still explore theatrical possibilities. If you’re going on the road, consider storage, transportation to the venue, and setup time in an unfamiliar space. Some competitions require everyone to use the same scenic elements, so be sure to rehearse with the pieces with which you will perform. Find ways to give the stage managers, lighting, costume, sound, hair and makeup, props, choreographers, and run crew opportunities to be involved.

4. Get licensing approval

Apply here for the corresponding imprint:

DPS Competition Licensing

Playscripts Competition Licensing

Competition Licensing Q&A

“What plays can I do for a competition?”

If you are in Texas and participating in the UIL festival, you must get approval from UIL on your title before applying for a license with us. If you are not in Texas, check with your competitor to see if they need approval or not before applying for a license with us.

“Where do I apply for a license for my one-act?”

If you have a DPS title, apply here. If you have a Playscripts title, apply here.

“What changes can I make?”

If your play is in the dropdown on the DPS scene application or on the “Approved for Competition” Playscripts filter, you are only pre-approved to cut a selection, which is defined as a complete or uninterrupted block from the play as written in the authorized script. Changing, altering, adding, or deleting anything in the text, title, time, setting, or character descriptions is not approved in your application and breaks copyright law. We cannot guarantee the timeline or certainty of any additional changes being approved.

“How many performances should I apply for? What happens if I advance?”

Only apply for the number of competitions performances you have scheduled. If you advance, (congratulations!) contact us and we will add on performances to your license. If you are planning to perform the entire show at your school, you will need to receive a license for full performances.

One-Acts Everyone Should Have in Their Library

  1. 10 Ways to Survive the Zombie Apocalypse
  2. Antigone Now
  3. Everyone Gets Eaten by Sharks
  4. The Most Massive Woman Wins
  5. A Prayer for Mary Catherine
  6. The Staggering Heartbreak of Jasmine Merriweather
  7. I Dream Before I Take the Stand
  8. Sorry, Wrong Number
  9. 10 Reasons You Should Have Stayed Home Sick Today
  10. A Voice in the Dark
  11. Seedfolks
  12. Aliens vs. Cheerleaders
  13. The Greek Mythology Olympiaganza
  14. Rue
  15. The Bloody War of Third Block Honors Theatre
  16. The Specialist
  17. The House of Bernada Alba
  18. Black Butterfly, Jaguar Girl, Pinata Woman and Other Superhero Girls, Like Me
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