5 Minute Plays

5 Minute Online Play Festival

Please enjoy the following submissions:

As we venture into online theatre learning, one element that students may be missing is the GROUP PERFORMANCE element. 

The 5 Minute Online Play Festival was created to give students the opportunity to write, rehearse, and perform TOGETHER, even while social distancing. 



  • Students will write plays that are no longer than 5 minutes long. Teachers, you may allow students to write in groups, pairs or individually. 
  • Plays must be “school appropriate” (consider what is appropriate to your community and the Alabama Thespians). 
  • All scripts must be original work by students at your school. 


  • Teachers may group students to act in each other’s plays, or students who have written a play together may perform their own play. 
  • Students can rehearse through “virtual meeting” sessions. 


  • Students will perform virtually in the form of a STAGED READING through Zoom, Google Hangouts, or a similar virtual meeting platform. Here is a link to a definition of a staged reading: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AutAaMX-K7c.  Here is a link to a video of Broadway actors talking about the value of staged readings: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MuylebUgfeA
  • Record the session and upload it as an unlisted link on Youtube! You may edit the recording to trim off excess time, etc, but please do NOT create a film of the play. We want these videos to be STAGED READINGS of the play, not film versions of the play.
  • Submit the link to Alabama Thespians, and we will share them online to showcase the talents and determination of your students!  

Each school may submit UP TO 3 staged readings. 

Please “slate” your staged reading to tell the audience your School name, Troupe number (if your school has a Thespian troupe), Title of the play and Cast names. 

  • Teachers, please check with your administrators to make sure that you have permission to share names and images with Alabama Thespians. If your school does not have a photo/film release form, feel free to use this form. Photography/Video Release

[You are NOT required to submit this form to Alabama Thespians.] 



  • Record the staged reading using an online meeting platform. 
  • Upload your staged reading to youtube. 
  • Make sure that the upload is labeled as UNLISTED [Unlisted videos and playlists won’t show up in YouTube’s search results but can be seen and shared by anyone with the link.]  


All plays that fit the guidelines will be shown in the 

Alabama Thespians 5 Minute Online Play Festival 

(in late May or early June depending on prep time). The STO will announce the date/time on their social media. We will also announce the date/time through email to Thespian troupes. 

  1. You will not get an email confirming your submission. You will just need to watch the online show. NOTE: We reserve the right not to broadcast a 5 minute play reading on our social media and website.
  2. Viewers may give constructive criticism of the 5 minute works in the YouTube and social media comments. 


What is a Staged Reading? 

  • Actors are seated (or incorporate minimal movement).
  • Actors MAY or MAY NOT have their scripts in hand. (NOTE: If your actors are holding scripts, your reading will be more effective if actors do NOT RELY on the script.)
  • Actors MAY or MAY NOT wear costumes or use props.
  • You MAY or MAY NOT incorporate foley sound into the reading. 
  • In addition to the lines, you may designate one actor to read the stage directions to communicate elements of the story that we can’t see or hear in a staged reading. 

For example, Lights up on two surgeons leaning over an operating 

        table. A patient lies under a hospital sheet. 

OR Connie slams the door as she exits. 

OR Curtain opens to reveal a massive shipwreck.


QUESTIONS you might have

*Does it have to be recorded on zoom? No. The readings may be recorded on any platform.

*Can we write a musical? Yes. (NOTE: Music and lyrics must be original, too.) 

*Do we have to submit a copy of the script? No

*Is there a cost? No 

*Will I get confirmation after I submit my recording? No. We will not alert applicants on whether their video was accepted or not.

*What happens if my play is longer than 5 minutes? We won’t show it.

*Here is a link for additional help. This is a film of a performance of the Vermont Young Playwrights competition. Some of the content might not be specifically appropriate to your school or community. There is strong language. Teachers, you can measure what will work for your students.    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BjpMy42EAvg    Fast forward to minute 2:45