Columbia Entertainment Company presents

The 33rd Annual Jackie White Memorial National Playwriting Contest

Founded in 1988 by then CEC President Debbie Baldwin, the Jackie White Memorial Play Writing Contest seeks to encourage playwrights to write quality plays for family audiences. Young authors may also submit their works for consideration.

The contest is named in honor of Dr. Jackie Bromstead White. Dr. White was a playwright, a Columbia native, and former head of Rock Bridge High School’s Drama Department. She was instrumental in the early success of the contest; she created guidelines for contest readers on how to fairly critique and judge plays, many of which are still followed today. When Dr. White passed away in 1991, it was only fitting to rename the contest in her honor.

From the beginning, the contest was a success. Under the direction of Betsy Phillips, The Jackie White Competition came to be known at a national level as a contest that supports the development and production of children’s theatre plays. For many years the first and often second place winners were produced by CEC’s Theatre School. Usually, the winning authors attend the production of their plays.

If you would like to know more about the Jackie White Memorial National Children’s Play Writing Contest please contact the selection committee at

Read on for our 2023 winners, and information about how to enter your work for consideration!

2023 Contest Winners:

Thank you to all of our entries into the 2023 Jackie White Memorial Playwriting Contest!

JWM aims to find the best scripts in the world written specifically to educate and invigorate audiences of children. Jackie White herself was an educator who taught to inspire the passion for theater in the next generation.

At this time, Columbia Entertainment Company is proud to announce THE WINNERS of the 2023 JWM Contest:

First Place:
The Glassblower’s Daughter or Shattered! An American Fairy Tale
Book by Zareh Artinian, Jr. Lyrics and Music by Kelvyn Koning
Brooklyn, New York

Second Place:
The D.I.Y. Fairy Godmother
By Steph DeFerie
Harwich, Massachusetts

Honorable Mention:
The Snakes of Fangore
Book by Kate Leone and John Rea Lyrics and Music by John Rea
Conshohocken, Pennsylvania

Congratulations to our winners!  Thank you again to all submitters, who truly made the decision of our team of readers a difficult one.

How to Enter the Contest:

Please note: These instructions refer to the 2023 contest. Stay tuned for updates for the 2024 contest!

The Jackie White Memorial (JWM) contest seeks original or adapted scripts written for young audiences.  Works may be either a play or a musical.  The contest has two age categories:  Children (Ages 5-13) and Young Adult (ages 14-18).  One winner will be chosen from each category.  Playwrights can submit as many entries in each category as they wish, but each entry must be accompanied by a separate entry fee.  Submitted works should be a fully completed play or musical, and should be a previously unpublished original work.  Adaptations are allowed, but must follow copyright law. 

Submission Requirements:

  1. Entries must be received no later than June 15th, 2023.  Late entries will not be considered for the 2023 contest.
  2. The entry should be a full-length play for a family-friendly audience.
  3. The script should have speaking roles for at least five characters.  At least two characters should be female or be able to be played by any gender.  At least one of the female characters should be a major character.
  4. The entry should be an unpublished original work or an unpublished adaptation (compliance with copyright law is required).
  5. Playwrights may submit more than one entry.
  6. Each entry must be typed/printed according to standard norms.
  7. You must include the following materials for the play to be considered:
  8. Entry form, found at
  9. $35 entry fee (see below for payment info)
  10. Character descriptions and scene synopses.
  11. Curriculum Vitae or resume of the playwright.


  1. Every play will be read by the play selection committee.
  2. Winners will be announced no later than September 15th, 2023
  3. The winners in each category will be produced at the Jackie White Memorial Play Festival, date TBD.  At the sole discretion of CEC, productions may be a staged reading, a table reading, a virtual production (via Zoom) or a more fully-fledged production.
  4. Columbia Entertainment Company (CEC) reserves the right to withhold the award if, in the opinion of the contest readers, no entry merits it.

Submission Process:

To submit your play or musical for consideration, please fill out the form at  You can submit your documents via email or using the submission form– more instructions for each process are provided in the above form.

You may pay the $35 submission fee via Paypal or check.  Paypal is strongly preferred.

Paypal: @cectreasurer

All PayPal payments MUST be marked with the following information:

Your Full Name

“2023 JWM Entry fee”

Play Title

Checks must be made out to Columbia Entertainment Company, with “2023 JWM” and the title of your show in the memo. Please send checks to the below address:

Columbia Entertainment Company

Attn: 2023 JWM

P.O. Box 953

Columbia, MO 65205

We look forward to seeing your entry!  Please email with any questions using the subject line “2023 JWM Question”

“Participating in the Jackie White Memorial Children’s Play Writing Contest as an award-winning playwright with my wife, Meg Phillips Crespy, was perhaps one of the great thrills of my playwriting career – being a part of Columbia Entertainment Company’s wonderful history of this important national contest in creating new dramatic work for young audiences meant so much to both of us, and the event was handled with incredible professionalism, encouragement, and with an eye to creating new audiences for community theatre. It is such an important part of CEC’s mission, and one of the great competitions in American playwriting. Both Meg and I are so grateful for CEC’s presence in our lives, and in the lives of our fellow Missourians, and the Jackie White Memorial Children’s Play Writing Contest is the jewel in the crown of CEC’s wonderful mission of bringing fun and meaningful theatre to mid-Missouri.”
-Dr. David A. Crespy Professor of Playwriting, Acting, & Dramatic Literature Artistic Director, Missouri Playwrights Workshop Co-Director, MU Writing for Performance Program
President, Edward Albee Society