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The Second City Training Center - Chicago

The Mary Scruggs Works By Women Festival

Attention women writers: We want your scripts!

The Mary Scruggs Works By Women Festival 2014


The Second City Training Center is proud to present the fourth-annual Mary Scruggs Works By Women Festival 2014. This festival is a showcase of new sketches and songs written by women of the Second City Training Center to honor and continue the legacy of Mary Siewert Scruggs, Head of the Writing Program, 2001–2011. Shows are Fridays, November 21, 28; December 5, 12 at 7:30 p.m. in the Skybox Theater.

Who is eligible? Any female student currently enrolled in any of the adult classes at the Second City Training Center Chicago, or who was enrolled in any adult-level classes within one year of the date of the submission deadline. Co-authored scripts are acceptable provided all authors meet the qualifications.

What should you submit? An original sketch or song written for the stage that plays no longer than 5 minutes and that has not been previously produced in front of an audience. (In-class staged readings do not count as “produced.” Writing 6 shows do count as “produced” and are not eligible.) Characters in the script may be male or female, up to a maximum of 6 characters. No video or film scripts please.

Do I have to produce it myself? No! That’s the great part of this festival! To encourage writers of all levels of experience, each accepted work will be assigned a Director. The Director will be a faculty member, or a graduate of the Directing Program, at the Second City Training Center. The Director will be responsible for casting, rehearsing, and staging your Work. If the Work is a song you will also be assigned a musical director to write the music for the song. The Writer will, however, be responsible for providing all props, costume pieces, and sound effects, subject to the approval of the Director.

May I perform in my own work? Ask your director! Your director will work directly with you and include you in the rehearsal process.

When are the shows? The Festival will run Fridays, November 21, 28; December 5 & 12, 2014, at 7:30 p.m. in the Skybox Theater. Accepted submissions will be assigned one time slot during one of those shows. Each show is different. Technical rehearsals will be on the Tuesday of the same week as the show at 10:00 p.m.

Mono/Duo New this year is a feature we call “Mono/Duo.” Selected writers will perform their own monologue, then improvise a scene in that character with one of our Second City alums: Susan Messing, Dana Quercioli, Megan Hovde, and Andy Eninger! See the submission guidelines below.

How do I make a submission?

  • Scripts must be written in “stage” format (not film or TV format, please!)
  • Scripts must be a Word document or PDF format ONLY. Other formats, including Final Draft, will not be accepted. (If you work in an application like Final Draft, save the final as a PDF.)
  • The first page of the script must be a Cover Page with the following information:
    • Title of the scene
    • Name of the Author
    • Telephone and e-mail contact information
    • Show dates you cannot attend (if any)
    • Current class enrolled in the Training Center (level, day of week, time) or the most recent class enrolled in (level, date)
    • Save the file using the title of your scene as the file name. For example: “The Best Day of My Life.docx” or “Granny and Grampy.pdf.” Do not include your name or “Scruggs Festival” or any other information in the file name.
  • E-mail the scripts as an attachment to Write in the e-mail subject line “FESTIVAL SUBMISSION” and nothing else.
  • Submission deadline is midnight October 16, 2014.
  • Limit two scripts per writer. Each script must be submitted in its own email.

Mono/Duo Submissions
Follow all submission criteria listed above. In addition:

  • Scripts must read no longer than 60 to 90 seconds.
  • On the cover page, type “Mono/Duo Submission” on the top line.

Awards!!! This year, the Festival will be offering some amazing awards to the top-selected writers!

  1. A personal tour of the WTTW television studios, followed by a one-on-one conversation about writing for television with Emmy Award-winning writer and director Geoffrey Baer, host of the popular Chicago Tours series on PBS Channel 11.
  2. A personal invitation to sit in on one rehearsal workshop of a new play with the playwright, cast, and director at the Lookingglass Theatre.
  3. Script reading by Dave Kneebone of Abso Lutely Productions in Los Angeles, executive producer for shows on Comedy Central (Nathan For You, Review with Forrest MacNeil), IFC (Comedy Bang Bang, Birthday Boys), and Cartoon Network (The Eric Andre Show, Tim and Eric's Bedtime Stories). The award winner will have the opportunity to send one script of her choosing—TV pilot, sketch, screenplay, etc.—for a professional review and feedback by Dave Kneebone.
  4. Two tickets to a taping of Late Night With Seth Meyers in New York, followed by a personal tour of the television studio and a one-on-one conversation about writing for television with John Lutz, staff writer for Late Night, former writer for Saturday Night Live, former actor on 30 Rock, and former Chicago improviser. We’ll even throw in a voucher for airline tickets!
  5. The opportunity to sit in on a production meeting with the writers and production staff of WBEZ's weekly radio program Wait, Wait...Don't Tell Me!

Questions? Please send an e-mail to and type in the subject line “WRITER QUESTION.” Please do not ask questions in your “Festival Submission” e-mail.

What about the fine print? The Producers will make the selections of scripts for the festival, up to the maximum number of time slots available. Not every submission will be selected. Selected authors will be notified by e-mail by October 31. The Producers will assign directors at their discretion. The Work will be staged in a showcase with other Works on the date(s) and times established by the Producer. The Author retains full rights to the written Work after the festival. The name of the Author and the title of her work will be listed in the production program and may be listed on the Second City website and other media for the purposes of advertising the Festival. There is no pay whatsoever to any Author or actor. This includes proceeds from the box office. The Author will be granted free admission to the Festival show on the night of her performance. No other comp tickets will be offered. Authors understand that acceptance in this festival does not grant them the right to state or imply that they wrote for The Second City or any of its theatrical or business companies.