The Frost/Dodd Student Play Contest & Festival

For the Department of Theater, summer days are a time to focus on the cultivation and development of new work. At the heart of this annual initiative is the Frost and Dodd Student Play Festival, which brings to the Bentley stage the winners of two annual student one-act playwriting contests: The Eleanor Frost Playwriting Contest and the Ruth and Loring Dodd Playwriting Contest. 

About the Festival

The Frost & Dodd Playwriting Festival

Each spring, two Frost contest play submissions are selected to be produced as staged readings, while the winnng Dodd contest play is mounted as a fully-produced production. Performances take place in July, in the Bentley Theater; winners also receive a cash prize.

2019 Contest Rules



The 92nd Annual Eleanor Frost Contest
and the
44th Annual Ruth & Loring Dodd Contest

2019 SUBMISSION DEADLINE: Monday, March  25 @ 4:00 pm
**open to undergraduate students only**
Submit your play by email to Department Administrator Milena Zuccotti


  1. Dartmouth undergraduates are invited to submit original, previously unproduced, one-act plays for the Eleanor Frost Playwriting Contest and the Ruth and Loring Dodd Playwriting Contest. Submitted one-act plays will be considered for both the Frost and Dodd Awards. Playing time of the one-act plays may not exceed one hour. Play adaptations will be accepted only on the condition that the playwright submits a copy of the original work from which the competing script was adapted. (Please note that the ‘original work’ must be in the public domain or the submitting playwright must have the rights to do an adaptation.)
  2. In summer 2019, the three winning plays from these two playwriting contests will be combined into several evenings of theater called the Frost & Dodd Student Play Festival. The Festival will be produced July 26, 27, and 28 in the Bentley Theater.
  3. Two plays will be selected as the Frost Award winners and will be produced and directed as readings during two evenings of the Frost & Dodd Student Play Festival. (A reading means that no design elements will be employed.)
  4. One play will be selected as the Dodd Award winner and will be fully produced and directed by a faculty member during two evenings of the Frost & Dodd Student Play Festival.
  5. Playwrights must be available to work on their plays via email and phone during the summer term. In addition, playwrights will be required to be on campus for initial readings of their plays and also the beginning of the rehearsal process - exact dates TBA - and for the week of tech and dress rehearsals. If a playwright is not enrolled or on campus in the summer term, the department will provide the playwright with transportation to/from Hanover and housing during these required periods.
  6. Winning playwrights may obtain academic credit by enrolling in Theater 80: Independent Study during the summer term.  Playwrights may not act in their own plays, so that they may work with the director of their play during the rehearsal process.
  7. Please submit a PDF copy of your script to Department Administrator Milena Zuccotti no later than 4 PM on Monday, March 25. Number the pages of the script and include a cover page with your name, Hinman Box and title of play. Your name should not appear anywhere else in the script. 
  8. The Director of Theater and/or the Department Chair will organize a reading panel of three individuals who will read all the submitted plays (with authors' names removed by the Theater Office). This panel of judges will choose the two Frost Contest winners and the one Dodd Contest winner. The panel may also choose to award "Honorable Mention" status to additional plays. The Frost and Dodd winners will receive cash awards, which will be presented at the Arts Award Ceremony in May.
  9. Neither the Theater Department nor Dartmouth College will retain any rights to any play submitted to the Frost & Dodd Festival other than the right to produce the play in the Festival.
  10. Plays submitted to the Frost & Dodd Festival, but not chosen for production in the Festival, may (with the permission of the author) be submitted for consideration for a YourSpace, Studio Lab, or Student Workshop Production in a later term.

Summer 2018 Festival Performance Schedule


The 2018 Ruth & Loring Dodd Playwriting Contest Winner
by Jennifer West '20

Friday July 27 @ 8:00 pm
Sunday July 29 @ 8:00 PM
The Bentley Theater
A Fully-Produced Production
$3 General Admission

A musical in one act, First Year follows a freshman student as she experiences the twists and turns of life at fictional Ivylane College.

Jennifer D. Y. West is a ’20 from Washington, D.C. studying Government and History. Jennifer has written songs, short stories, and comedic articles for years, but her Frost-Dodd entry First Year is her first foray into writing full-length plays. After completing a playwriting course as her freshman seminar, she was inspired to begin writing a short piece about her and her friends’ experiences at Dartmouth, which eventually became what is now known as First Year. Jennifer is honored to be this year’s Dodd winner, and thanks her family, friends, and professors for their support.

A 2018 Eleanor Frost Playwriting Contest Winner
by Tess McGuinness '18

Saturday July 28 @ 8:00 pm
Sunday July 29 @ 4:00 PM
The Bentley Theater
A Staged Reading Performance
$3 General Admission

A group of regional theater actors perform a production of Much Ado About Nothing while engaging in a Shakespearian comedy of their own backstage - one filled with love triangles, mistaken identities, betrayals and triumphs.

Tess McGuinness is a graduating senior majoring in Art History modified with Classics and minoring in theater. She is an avid participant in the Theater Department, where her performances have included Juliet in Romeo and Juliet, the sixth part in Don Juan Returns from the Wars, Mrs. Peters in Trifles, and Catherine in Proof. She also directed and performed in the Dartmouth Rude Mechanicals' productions of Much Ado About Nothing and Hamlet, appearing as Beatrice and Gertrude, respectivelyTess has served as the Company Manager of the Rude Mechanicals, auditions-chair for her acapella group, the Subtleties, and worked as the senior programming intern for the Hood Museum. She will be in New York next year pursuing television writing and acting. She was the Dodd winner last summer.

A 2018 Eleanor Frost Playwriting Contest Winner
by Savannah Miller '21

Saturday July 28 @ 8:00 pm
Sunday July 29 @ 4:00 PM
The Bentley Theater
A Staged Reading Performance
$3 General Admission

Brothers must come to terms with their family history during the sale of their childhood home. A lesson in where we come from and how it can define us.

Savannah Miller is a ’21 from Windsor, Virginia studying Theater and English. Her recent acting credits at Dartmouth include The Houses with Ramps and 1984. She has been active in the Theater Department both onstage and off, working as an assistant stage manager and in wardrobePrior to Dartmouth, Savannah wrote plays and acted with her high school competition theater team. In 2016, a production of her one-act play Anna won Best One-Act Play at the Virginia Theatre Association High School Theatre Festival and Honorable Mention overall. Outside of theater, she enjoys writing for The Dartmouth and working as a Dartmouth Tour Guide.


Special Note:

A 2018 Eleanor Frost Playwriting Contest Honorable Mention

by Nicholas I. Gutierrez '20

Nicholas Gutierrez is a sophomore from Miami, FL. He is a Film and Linguistics modified with Geography/LALACS double major and theater minor, but this can (and will probably) change. He is a directorate in the Dartmouth Film Society, a UGA, and holds various other odd jobs around campus. He has spent this term becoming more involved in the theater department, performing in a student thesis production of Hair. Over this past winter term, he interned with the National Association of Latino Producers, and worked as a Writer’s Assistant on an upcoming new television series. After graduation he has plans to go into screenwriting and playwriting.