The Kennedy Center

The Kennedy Center presents IRELAND 100: Celebrating a Century of Irish Arts & Culture

Tiny Plays for Ireland and America Playwriting Challenge

Over 500 budding playwrights from across the country answered our call for original "tiny plays" inspired by President Kennedy's life and legacy, celebrating the resilience and power of the human spirit. After a rigorous selection process involving 20 theater professionals and the Kennedy Center's International Programming department, the six plays below were the chosen submissions in their respective categories. Each of these plays will be produced alongside 20 tiny plays from Ireland as part of Fishamble: The New Play Company's U.S. debut, Tiny Plays for Ireland and America. This project is presented in Washington and New York in collaboration with the Irish Arts Center, and is part of JFKC: A Centennial Celebration of John F. Kennedy.

  • Submission Category: Middle School/Age 11–13

    Getting to the Polls
    by Daniel Covino (Rockville, MD)

    On Election Day in 1960, a happenstance meeting between a young boy and his elderly neighbor offers a heartening answer to an oft-asked question: Can one person truly make a difference?

  • Submission Category: High School/Age 14–17

    by Paige A. Colvin (Corte Madera, CA)

    President Kennedy's famous words, "Ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country," find fresh meaning through the lens of contemporary issues in this probing riff on the state of our Union.

  • Submission Category: Age 18–26

    No More Excuses
    by Yael C. McCue (Oakland, CA)

    After the sudden loss of her dear friend and assistant, a young scientist searches for a reason to continue her work. With help from her lovable roommate—and a stale loaf of French bread—she discovers the importance of carrying on her late friend's legacy.

  • Submission Category: Age 27–59 

    A Nation of Immigrants
    by Keya Guimarães (Silver Spring, MD)

    Two Mexican teens prepare to take the ultimate risk for an uncertain future at the southern border of the United States. Meanwhile, far from the border patrol and its searing searchlights, a young girl practices a strikingly parallel speech by the late President Kennedy.  

  • Submission Category: Age 60+

    No Irish Need Apply
    by Monica E. Bauer (Tuscon, AZ)

    A "now hiring" sign at a Detroit dollar store sparks an impromptu interview between two people from wildly different backgrounds. In an era filled with polarized views and the potential for prejudice, the unlikely pairing finds more common values than one might expect.

  • Submission Category: Kennedy Center Family

    by Scott C. Bushnell (Arlington, VA)

    Before departing for his home back in Louisiana, a Peace Corps volunteer and a Kenyan villager share a brief farewell with a lasting impact. As polite small talk branches into a discussion of experiences and aspirations, each reveals that there is much to be learned from the other.

All dates, artists, programs, and prices are subject to change.