So you want to enter a Theatre Festival – but which one? (Updated 2020).

One of my go-to recommendations for my writer consultation clients with new works is to hit the festival circuit.

While there are definitely some cons to being one show in a sea of so many others (can’t choose your venue, physical production limited to the set-up/strike time, etc.), the long list of pros usually makes it worth at least submitting the application to see if you get in (and if you don’t, you’ve learned something already – maybe it’s time to do a redraft).

My clients inevitably ask, “Which festivals should I enter and how do I find out the info?”  I always rattle off a few, and they jot ’em down, and inevitably I end up wondering, “Why isn’t there a list of the most important festivals online somewhere?”

And the way my mind works, if I can’t find something that I think should exist, well, then, I just make it myself.

So that’s what I did!

This blog contains a list of a bunch of theater festivals around the world.  It’s not every one, mind you, and we definitely focused on the festivals in the NY area (putting a show in a festival here has much more of a chance to be discovered than at a festival in East Wichita).

I usually don’t like to do “list” blogs.  I like to have a point of view; a take on something that will hopefully inspire you to take action one way or another that will help you get your career to the next level.   So I tend to avoid lists of links and general info like this one.

But then I got to thinking . . . this list could provide you with much more of a springboard than my point of view.  Festivals give your shows a chance to be seen.  And that’s what shows were designed for.  To be seen.  Not to be read, or just listened to.  They need to be seen.  Or they are dead.

So I’m letting you off easy today.  No KD slant on this post.  Just simple information that happens to be invaluable if you use it.

(Oh, and if you know of a great theater festival, throw the info in the comments section of this blog and we’ll add it to this list!)


Theater Festivals From Around The World

The Big Ones:

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Edinburgh, Scotland

Festival of New Musicals, New York, NY

London International Festival of Theatre, London, England

New York International Fringe Festival, New York, NY

Rave Theater Festival, New York, NY

Thespis Theater Festival, New York, NY

Venus/Adonis Theater Festival, New York, NY

Williamstown Theatre Festival, Williamstown, MA

Other Awesome Ones:

Bard SummerScape, Annandate-on-Hudson, NY

Barrington Stage’s Musical Theatre Lab, Pittsfield, MA

Berkshire Theatre FestivalStockbridge, MA

BSU Discovery New Musical Theatre Festival, Muncie, IN

Children’s Musical Theatre Festival, New York, NY

Contemporary American Theatre Festival, Shepherdstown, WV

Dorset Theatre Festival, Dorset, VT

Downtown Urban Theater Festival, New York, NY

Dream Up Festival, New York, NY

Dublin Theatre Festival, Dublin, Ireland

Estrogenius, New York, NY

Festival of New American MusicalsLos Angeles, CA

Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival, Auburn, NY

Fresh Fruit Festival, New York, NY

Frigid Festival, New York, NY

Junior Theater Festival, New York, NY

KO Festival of Performance, Amherst, MA

Midtown International Theatre Festival, New York, NY

Minnesota Fringe Festival, Minneapolis, MN

National Black Theatre Festival, Winston-Salem, NC

The New York Children’s Theater Festival, New York, NY

Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Ashland, OR

Pacific Playwrights Festival, Costa Mesa, CA

Planet Connections Festivity, New York, NY

Revolutions International Theatre Festival, Albuquerque, NM

Rogue Festival, Fresno, CA

The Samuel French Off Off Broadway Short Play Festival, New York, NY

Spoleto Festival USA, Charleston, SC

Strawberry One-Act Festival, New York, NY

Thespian Festival, Lincoln, NE

United Solo Theatre Festival, New York, NY

Village Theatre: Festival of New Musicals, Issaquah, WA

The West Village Musical Theatre Festival,  New York, NY

World Stages International Theater Festival, Washington, DC



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Still need more writing insight beyond festival submissions and writing consults? Check out my post The One Thing all Writers Want and How to get it, to get an inside glance into the industry and learn what a passive income is.

P.S. If you’re ready to speed things up but know you need some help, get on a call with my team. They’ll give you an honest assessment of where you are and if you’re ready to go to the next stage. Click here.

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Ken created one of the first Broadway podcasts, recording over 250 episodes over 7 years. It features interviews with A-listers in the theater about how they “made it”, including 2 Pulitzer Prize Winners, 7 Academy Award Winners and 76 Tony Award winners. Notable guests include Pasek & Paul, Kenny Leon, Lynn Ahrens and more.