Only 20 productions will be selected to receive three performances in the 99-seat Theatre Two at the renowned Off Broadway performance center, Theatre Row. Right on 42nd Street, in the heart of the theater district, this space is the choice of many professional Off Broadway premieres.

From acceptance, BBTF participants receive all the tools we believe they need to ensure a successful production. This includes workshops, regular information packets, access to our interactive online forum, personal relationships with our key festival staff members, an audience talk back, and complimentary tickets to attend every other show in the festival.

On this page you'll find everything you need to know about the festival before you submit - what makes our submissions process different, how to submit, what you get out of BBTF, and information on our eligibility and fees. If you are interested in finding out more about our theatre space you can view our preliminary technical documents here.



  • A blind submission process allows for the selection of the highest caliber of writing. This means that all selections are based on the merits of the submission and does not allow the process to be lead (whether consciously or unconsciously) by the expectations inspired by the author's institutional affiliation, reputation, gender identity, race, ethnicity, religion, abilities, age, sexual preference or orientation.

  • All submissions are read in full by the Festival Director and one of our professional playwrights. 

  • All submissions undergo careful scrutiny. Upon completion of the decision-making process, BBTF will email you a critique of your script, which should help you understand the reason your play was or was not selected to participate in the festival. Our critiques provide dramaturgical advice and professional feedback of your work. 

▪    Detailed critiques and other dramaturgical services are available for purchase in our online store. 

▪    Critiquing Rubric: Each play is vetted using the BBTF critiquing rubric. It consists of two categories: Plot Development and Character Development. The third category is where we share our non-prescriptive advice on how to make your play stronger. Based on all these assessments, we divide the plays into finalists and those that need much more work. 

  • We are most proud of the support we at BBTF give our playwrights. If a production is selected to participate in BBTF, we promise to never put our stamp on it. BBTF neither requires any acknowledgment of its festival in future productions, nor does it take a percentage of any future revenues or require the distribution of producer points, nor will it instigate negotiations for credit should any participating production be approached with financial interest during or after the festival.


for BBTF 2022


Step 1

March 15, 2022

Final application deadline is on March 15 at 11:59 PM EST. All submissions must be made through this web page. Late applications, applications mailed via the postal serve, e-mailed or faxed will not be accepted – no exceptions will be made.

Step 2

End of March, 2022

The 40 Finalists will be interviewed by the Festival General Manager, via telephone.

Step 3

April 1-10, 2022

Acceptance offers for the 20 available participation slots will be made.

Step 4

April 15, 2022

If invited to participate, your contract and non-refundable participation fee is due no later than 11:59 p.m. EST on April 15. If you miss this deadline, your spot will be offered to another finalist.



Your play or musical must be a new, non-commercially produced production (have NOT sold tickets, been in a festival or been paid for any version or part of your show) to be considered to be a part of BBTF! 

There is a $25 nonrefundable reader fee for all applications. This fee compensates the professional playwrights who read your play or musical and compose your critique. BBTF has an open submission process, which is a massive undertaking spanning months and includes hundreds of scripts read cover-to-cover. The enormity of this process requires that it be self-sustaining and the readers be compensated for their time and effort. 

More detailed Critiques and Dramaturgical Consults are also available for purchase in our online store.



We are dedicated to providing playwrights with a professional venue and all the tools they need to effectively and affordably produce and market the Off-Broadway premiere of their play or musical. This includes workshops, regular information packets, access to our interactive online forum, personal relationships with our key festival staff members, an audience talk back, and complimentary tickets to attend every other show in the festival.

  • Our Critiques - BBTF is a festival where playwrights take center stage. Toward that end, everything we do within the festival framework is to help educate and support the playwrights to produce their own shows. And part of that process is offering them comprehensive, professional feedback from the moment they send in their submission. Each applicant gets a critique, regardless of whether or not they are accepted, that covers the major structure points of their play or musical. The critiques the playwrights receive are therefore comprehensive and useful, providing dramaturgical advice and professional, non-prescriptive advice of how to make your script its strongest and ready for staging. If you are selected to participate in BBTF you can rest assured your play was picked based on its quality alone, since the festival utilizes a double-blind submission process and no one knows the authorship of the production until after they have been selected. 

  • Our Packets - From acceptance through showtime, we will be sending out detailed information packets about every aspect of producing your show. These range from how to consider scenic design in a festival setting to how to create a digital marketing campaign. Other topics include but are not limited to: creating a timeline, establishing a crowdfunding campaign, effective use of social media promotion, putting together a creative team, and preparing for tech. It is against our policy to share packets with anyone other than the participating playwright as the packets are designed to engage playwrights in the learning processes of become a producer. 

  • Our Forum - All playwrights are invited to join BBTF’s private Facebook community, which serves as a sounding board and a social forum. In the past we’ve used this forum to host digital workshops, to enable expedient distribution of materials, to communicate directly with playwrights about time-sensitive topics, to discuss our prop/set sharing lists, to share videos of our festival light plot channel check, and to promote each other’s projects as well as get to know each other.

  • Our Workshops - Every season we host a number of workshops during which our playwrights have the opportunity to interact with working industry professionals and discuss things that both relate directly to the festival experience and to the theatre industry overall. Past workshops have included: The Art of Rewriting, Marketing Your Play, and Let’s Talk About Tech, Baby.

  • Our Team - We limit our seasons to up to 20 plays so that personal relationships can be maintained with each of our playwrights throughout the production process.

    • An efficient email system ensures that no question is left unanswered for longer than 24 hours. 

    • Our Festival Director is readily available to discuss the development of your script.

    • Our Business Manager will discuss cross-promotion, ticket sales and box office.

    • Our team regularly supports current participants and our alumni in their theatrical endeavors outside of BBTF by attending shows and promoting projects on our social media.

  • Our Venue - Right on 42nd Street, nowhere could be more exciting (or impressive) to present your Off Broadway premiere. The 99-seat Theatre Two provides an intimate audience experience while the Theatre Row complex is a complete theater experience, from the front of house to the lounge and bar. It is newly renovated with a brand-new deck, new aisle lights and new backstage fixtures. Playwrights would not want to miss an opportunity to have their show on this stage. Participants will all be invited to a pre-festival tour of the theater and Theatre Row complex, followed by Q&A with the festival staff.

  • Our Talkbacks - We give every playwright a sit-in audience talkback. We know the future of theatre is the collaboration between theatre-makers and an actively engaged audience, who celebrate the evolution of their work and work to create great theatre that is meaningful and relevant today. And will continue to live long after its BBTF premiere.

  • Our Comps - All our playwrights are given up to 19 complimentary tickets (one for every other show in the festival) and all festival participants (including actors, directors, stage managers, operators, etc.) are invited to see any participating production without charge on a standby basis. We are committed to creating a community of encouragement where theater professionals can meet, discuss, collaborate, and freely network with their fellows.






This is a nonrefundable reader/critique fee for all applications which compensates the professional writers who compose your critique. (Waived for Dramatist Guild Members.)



There is a one-time, non-refundable $1000 total participation fee. This participation fee only applies if your show is invited to participate.


The BBTF participation fee covers three full performances in Theatre One at Theatre Row as well as all the tools we feel playwrights need to effectively and affordably produce and market their plays, including regular information packets, workshops, and a private Facebook forum.

This festival is going to be a serious player in the theatre community... I was pleased, honored and excited to be part of the festival. It is well run and caring — that is unusual — but all the folks involved demonstrated such complete professionalism that I always felt that I and my play were the priority.

Rob Dames, 2018

Nowhere Man


  • BBTF is a festival for all playwrights. We welcome scripts of all genres representing people of all ethnicities, religions and sexual orientations. We encourage playwrights to submit scripts that give voice to underrepresented viewpoints and have social relevance.

  • BBTF is dedicated to keeping the producing as economic as possible. Therefore, we fully embrace the spirit in which festivals were originally created―as an affordable option to seeing a professional performance on one's work. Therefore, we neither encourage nor endorse overspending. This minimalist approach is a cornerstone to our model. 

  • BBTF accepts musicals and performance art pieces as if its 2020 season.

  • Plays must run no less than 60 minutes and no more than 90 minutes, with no intermission. Scripts submitted may not run under 45 pages or over 80 pages in length. If your play is over or under that length, be fully prepared to edit it.

  • Musicals may run up to 120 minutes not including a 10 minute intermission. Digital audio must be included in your application. Please include a maximum of nine 60 second samples of your musical score. No CD's will be accepted. But you cannot have canned or taped music for your performances. Live music only, but it will be restricted because of space.

  • If you are submitting a musical, please understand that Theatre Two is a small, boutique space. The stage is limited (23'x 22') for your cast, any instrumentation, and sound equipment. Keep this in consideration when deciding whether or not BBTF is RIGHT for you.

  • Scripts should follow standard format. If you have any concerns over script formatting, please visit the following link. Improperly formatted scripts will be automatically returned.

  • All participants are fully responsible for producing their own plays. This includes covering the costs of production (e.g. rehearsal space, transportation fees, salaries, marketing, etc.) and operation. 

  • BBTF will not accept applications filed by anyone other than the playwright themselves (barring legitimate medical reasons explained on the application).

  • Playwrights submitting to BBTF are expected to play an active role in the production of their script, such is the spirit of the experience. Productions that have been found to have been handed off to an independent contractor will be subject to cancellation.

  • Applicants may not act in or direct their own shows. This includes solo shows. We expect the energy of our participants to be solely focused on the BBTF experience. Shows found to be in violation of this clause will be subject to cancellation.

  • BBTF participants may not stage any other productions of the accepted play (in part, or in its entirety) in the tri-state area during, or up to 12 weeks prior to or post the BBTF opening and closing dates. This includes productions that decide to participate and later withdraw from BBTF prior to the festival's commencement.

  • International playwrights are welcome to submit to BBTF using the same blind submission process as any other applicant. We strongly suggest international applicants enlist a NYC-based co-producer to help with the marketing, housing, and financing that go hand in hand with producing in NYC. All participants are responsible for all aspects of production and publicity for their production, as well as travel expenses and accommodation.

  • Playwrights who receive a “conditional acceptance” are expected to take a second look at their play through the lens of our critique and perform the necessary rewrites to meet the BBTF standard for staging.

  • By submitting an Application and choosing to participate in the Festival, applicant acknowledges and agrees that if applicant is selected as a Participant, applicant will not disclose to any person or third party the fact that applicant was selected until notified by BBTF that such disclosure is permitted.