What is Fighting Words?

Fighting Words is BWBTC’s script development program. Each season we choose three scripts for development and read each one aloud three times–first within the company, then with a small group of invited guests, and finally as part of a festival that includes all three plays. Discussions after each reading provide feedback for the playwrights, assisting them in developing their scripts further.

I hope the evolution of Deeds Not Words made it really clear how valuable I found the BWB script development process. The performances (it doesn’t seem adequate to call them mere ‘readings’) showed me how the pacing worked (or didn’t), the audience responses identified gaps, and the discussions with y’all really helped sharpen my thoughts about what I want the piece to do. And it was thrilling to see the fights.” -Anne Bertram, The Good Fight (workshopped as Deeds Not Words)

BWBTC Script Submission Requirements

Babes With Blades Theatre Company is proud to offer a truly open script submission process.  We are committed to maintaining this openness as a means of reducing barriers to entry for emerging playwrights.  However, we are also a small storefront company with no paid staff, and in order to help us manage our submission volume, all scripts submitted to us must adhere to these requirements.

All submissions must be accompanied by a cover e-mail that includes:

  • A specification of whether you want the script to be considered for production as is or for development via our Fighting Words program.
  • A brief description of how the play fits our mission/why you think this script is suited to us.
  • A brief description of the type of stage combat used (i.e. unarmed, sword and shield, found object) and page numbers where fight sequences may be found in the script (ex. “slap pg. 23, rapier and dagger duel pg. 56-57, found object brawl pg. 71”).
  • A character breakdown by gender (characters, not actors), ex. “Characters: 4 female, 1 nonbinary, 2 male.” If it is relevant to the story that a character is cisgender or transgender, please specify this. Characters described simply as “male” or “female” will not be automatically assumed to be cisgender. “Open gender” is also an option.
  • If you wish to submit a synopsis/bio/artist statement, include it at the end of your cover e-mail; do not send it as an attachment.

Requirements for the script file itself:

  • Scripts must be submitted in .pdf format.
  • The filename must start with the title of the play (ex. “Patchwork Drifter – J. Mickelson 5-9-19.pdf”). If the title of the play begins with “the,” “a,” or “an,” please place that article at the end of the title (ex. “Last Daughter of Oedipus, The – J. Mickelson 12 Jan 2020.pdf”).
  • The first page of the script must include the title of the play, the playwright’s name, and the playwright’s contact information.
  • If it is relevant to the story that a character is of a particular racial/ethnic background (including white), please specify this in your character list. Characters of unspecified racial/ethnic background will not be automatically assumed to be white.

Fighting Words submissions may be e-mailed to newplays@babeswithblades.org.

Submissions that do not follow these requirements will not be read.

Things to consider:

  • We do not accept or produce musical scripts.
  • Both our venues and our budgets tend to be small.
  • If your play does not pass the Bechdel Test, it is unlikely to fit our mission.
  • If your play does not include stage combat, it does not fit our mission.
  • Characters fight as a realization of high narrative stakes. Scenes of characters training to fight are usually lacking in stakes.
  • If your script includes sexualized violence, consider whether the sexualization is truly necessary to the story. Sometimes it is; often it’s not.
  • The Joining Sword & Pen competition has different requirements and a specific, limited time frame for submission. Please visit the JS&P page for details.
A calligraphy pen