New Playwrights Series

The Mike Sockol
Produced by Darren Nye

See your work performed in a live Reading!
And possibly be selected for a Full Production Run!

Villagers Theatre in Somerset NJ (Franklin Township) will be accepting submissions for the next season of the Mike Sockol New Works Series, beginning on January 1 2024 and ending on January 21 2024. Selected plays will be presented as Staged Readings in our Zaidi Black Box from approximately March to June.

Submission Criteria

The playwright must be a resident of New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania or Delaware.

Submission timeframe and deadline is ONLY January 1 2024 through  January 21 2024.

Only 1 play may be submitted per playwright, per season, so select your best!

Please, no musicals.

A maximum of 20 plays will be reviewed per season.

The plays will be reviewed in the sequential order received, so submit early.

There is no restriction on the subjects and topics that can be
submitted for consideration.

The series is open to artists of all ages, religions, races and

Script word count should be 20,000 words or less.

The script should ideally take 60 minutes to 2 hours to perform.

Plays with smaller casts (under 7 characters) are PREFERRED, but larger cast size will be considered. We also prefer shows designed to be performed on one set, with an eye toward future community theatre productions.

Scripts must be original, COMPLETED, unpublished works of professional quality.

No hardcopy paper manuscripts will be accepted. All submissions must be digital and sent via e-mail to

However for the reading, the playwright must provide enough full-page printed copies of the script, for all members of the cast.

The body of the email that contains the attached script MUST BE FORMATTED EXACTLY AS FOLLOWS:
1. Authors name, address, phone number and email
2. Title of play
3. Genre of play (comedy, drama etc.)
4. Word count
5. Number of Characters
6. Brief description of story’s premise
7. Character breakdown
8. Detailed Synopsis of play
9. Brief Bio of Author

Due to time and budgetary restraints, a maximum of 3 plays will be selected for a Reading. Plays are selected based on a review system conducted by volunteers who read and score the plays.

Selected plays can be presented as Play Readings, or Staged Readings, to be determined by both the Producer and Playwright. They will be performed in the Zaidi Black Box from approximately March to June. Playwrights chosen for this series are required to attend the readings and to participate in talk-backs with the audience. If your play is selected for a Staged Reading, you will work with the Producer Darren Nye to select a Director, Cast and Crew (if necessary). You can also request that Darren handle these details – if time permits.

What is a Staged Reading?
  1. A “Play Reading” is the simplest form of a reading, which just involves actors sitting in chairs, facing the audience, with scripts on music stands. The performance is done through just their voices. They may not even look at the other actors. Stage Directions are read by a Stage Manager. There is no set, no costumes, no props, no lighting and no sound effects. This is just actors speaking – it’s like a radio program. It involves listening – it’s not visual. This method is used when a playwright mostly wants to HEAR the play. If the playwright has not yet held a Play Reading with a full script, this is where they should typically start.
  2. A “Staged Reading” is a step above. Staged Readings do not have a real set, or costumes or lighting. However, their intention is to “show” the potential of a production with both actor voices and visual elements. Props may signify potential set areas, and simple furniture may be used. Actors will have movement (blocking) and interaction on stage. But there is little line memorization and they will have scripts in hand. Still, actors should be familiar with the script and perform with not just emotion, but physicality. This method is used when a playwright or theatre wants to both HEAR and SEE what a production could look like. Audience members should feel like they are watching a play.
  3. A “Workshop” may be similar to a Staged Reading, and may sometimes include more set elements and potential sound effects. But the name implies that the playwright is still working on the material. The script is not in its final form, and may not be appropriate to present to an audience, expecting a script that is either in its final form, or very close to it. The New Works Series is NOT intended to be a Workshop.
With the above in mind, prior to submitting your play to the Villagers New Works Series, you should have already gone through several “workshops” with your material. Your script should be final or close to it.


Goals of the New Works Series
  1. To provide playwrights and theatres with an opportunity to glimpse the performance potential of their play.
  2. To provide alternative performance opportunities for local actors and directors.
  3. Expose our audience to new works.

Selections for a Full Production Run…

Once every 3 years through August 2031 (~May 2022, 2025, 2028, 2031), Villagers will conduct a Full Production Run for one of Mike Sockol’s plays. But we will not give a Full Production Run for any New Works submissions those years.

For the 2 years in between a Mike Sockol production, Darren is tasked with selecting a show that he believes has earned a Full Production Run. The decision will be based on the above volunteer review system, in addition to audience response to the Staged Readings.

If you had a Reading conducted as part of the Mike Sockol New Works Series, during a year when we are producing a Mike Sockol production (2025, 2028, or 2031) – your play will be considered for a Full Production the following year, 2026 or 2029, along with considering the Readings that were conducted as part of 2025 and 2028, respectively.

Darren will arrange for a Producer for the selected Full Production show, which would be performed in the Black Box in approximately May of the following year (when Mike Sockol productions will not be performed). He will also help select the Director (who will select the cast), or the Playwright may suggest a Director and Crew. We urge the Playwright NOT to request directing their own play. Darren will define the budget with the Villagers Board, and make arrangements for media promotion and ticket sales.


About Mike Sockol

Our New Works Series is named after Mike Sockol, who passed away on October 1st 2022. He was dedicated to giving back to the community and the arts.
Mike’s pride and passion for New Works has allowed aspiring and accomplished writers to feel heard. We respectfully continue his legacy with “Mike Sockol’s New Works Series”, which was established in 2021 with Mike before his passing, to encourage writers to always follow their passions.