Improbable Fiction- New Works Series

In theatre, a "new work" is an original play that has been previously unpublished and unproduced - these plays are typically developed by an artistic team including actors, a director, a dramaturg, and, of course, the playwright to work toward the goal of a finished, polished product for audiences to enjoy. Wisconsin Shakespeare Festival's mission ties strongly to the power of the written word and individual perspectives, which led to the creation of the Improbable Fiction series; for us, it is much more about celebrating the craft than the man. Our new works series allows writers and artists from across the region and the country to showcase their talents in the form of original theatrical works.  Playwrights are invited to submit one-act theatre works in one of three categories - Young Voices, Diverse Perspectives, or Shakes-pired - and their plays are evaluated by a panel of adjudicators. The playwrights' identities are initially obscured to allow for complete objectivity in the scoring process -- because it is, after all, all about the words and the story being told. Once all plays have been evaluated, the winning submissions are workshopped by a team of actors, led by a director, and supported by a stage manager and dramaturg. The workshopped plays are then produced onstage as world premiere performances for an audience, either as fully-staged productions or staged readings, on our replica of Shakespeare's Globe in the Jamf Theatre!

Get involved - follow the links below to learn more about Improbable Fiction, submit your work, or register as a reader/adjudicator!


We are seeking submissions that fit the following guidelines:

  • All submissions must fit one of the following categories:

    • Young Voices - playwrights between the ages of 16-24

    • Diverse Perspectives - playwrights who identify as LGBTQIA+

    • Shakes-pired - open to all, this category is specifically for works inspired by, derived from, or an homage to Shakespeare, his plays, and/or his characters

  • We are seeking one-act plays that are complete works, not a scene or act from a larger work or work-in-progress

  • Plays that will have an ultimate runtime of 15-45 minutes, and have not previously been published or produced

  • Production criteria includes scripts able to be produced with open staging and minimal design/technical support for a 400-seat black box theater. Scripts not fitting this criteria may be considered, but may be given a staged reading versus a full production.

More Info


If your play meets the criteria above and fits into one of our three categories (Young Voices, Diverse Perspectives, or Shakes-pired, as outlined above), we encourage you to submit!

Submissions are due no later than December 22, 2023

One winner will be selected in each category - winning playwrights will receive:

  • A $750 honorarium

  • A one-year membership to Playwrights’ Center in Minneapolis, MN

  • A virtual workshop session of their play (to be completed virtually in spring 2024)

  • A staged world premiere performance of their play as part of our season!

More Info

Adjudicator Interest

Improbable Fiction is seeking volunteer script adjudicators to help bring this program to reality! Adjudicators will each be assigned a nominal number of scripts to read and evaluate based on criteria determined by the Festival. All adjudication will be done blind - adjudicators will not know the name or any identifying information about the playwrights whose works they are reading.

Those interested in adjudicating may choose which category they’d like to evaluate (Young Voices, Diverse Perspectives, and/or Shakes-pired). We also welcome submitting playwrights to adjudicate in a category other than the one they submitted in!

More Info


Each winning submission will be workshopped by a team of actors, led by a director, and supported by a stage manager and dramaturg. The workshopped plays will then be produced onstage, either as a fully staged production or a staged reading, in late July on our replica of Shakespeare’s Globe in the Jamf Theatre!



Improbable Fiction will return to the stage on Wednesday, July 24, 2024, at 7:30 PM in the Jamf Theatre at Pablo Center.

Tickets will be available starting April 23, 2024, for Pablo members, and April 30, 2024, for the general public. Tickets cost $9 for adults and $3 for youth and students, plus fees, and are available online, in-person at the Pablo box office, or at the door.

Following the performance, the audience will be invited to a reception to discuss the works they just viewed, facilitated by our dramaturg.


Playwright Bios

Coming soon, once winning plays are selected!