The SheLA Summer Theater Festival is the premier festival for new, original, creative works by women playwrights and composers in Los Angeles


Script submissions to the 2022 Festival are now closed as of 11/15/21.


The SheLA Summer Theater Festival

The premier festival for new, original, creative works by women playwrights and composers in Los Angeles


Script submissions to the 2022 Festival are now closed as of November 15th, 2021.



That’s a wrap!

We were back in the Zephyr Theatre July 14-18th, 2021 for an in-person summer theater festival of three new plays, followed by digital performances. We’re so proud of all of our cast, crew, and creative team members for putting up one of the first live theater events since the pandemic hit. 


Script submissions for the 2022 SheLA Summer Theater Festival are now closed as of November 15th, 2021. We will next open script submissions in September 2022. If you missed the deadline, read on below for more details on our festival process and how you can apply next year!

Not Your Typical Theater Festival.

We empower women writers to self-produce their work, in a safe environment with subsidized costs and mentorship along the way. 



The typical theater festival is an opportunity for playwrights to self-produce their work in full onstage, for a paying audience. Festivals have multiple shows which all share resources (like the theater itself, front-of-house staff and supplies, and technical equipment), making the process far less expensive for everyone than producing your show in full on your own. If you’ve done developmental readings already and feel like you’re ready to take the next step of seeing your piece fully staged, a festival is probably the right fit for you!

There is no participation fee to participate in the SheLA Summer Theater Festival.

SheLA Provides:


The rental of a theatre and all of the equipment that goes inside of it is the biggest expense when you’re trying to self-produce. But when you’re in the Festival, SheLA covers it, including:

  • All light rentals
  • Laptop and speaker system for sound cues
  • Miscellaneous tech items like gaff tape, common tools, etc.
  • A 5-hour long tech slot to tech your show
  • General Liability insurance for your time inside the theater


We provide the staff IN the theater to make your tech and performances run smoothly, including:

  • A Production Manager and Associate Production Manager to run your tech and call your show
  • A lighting designer to design your lights and program the light board during your tech
  • 1-2 additional backstage crew members to use in a way that best fits your show
  • Full front of house staff – Ushers, Box Office, Concessions, and House Manager


  • We provide some limited miscellaneous set pieces that will be shared by all of the shows, exact pieces TBD. In the past, we’ve had tables, chairs, and couches to offer to all of our productions. Our Production Manager will poll the shows in advance of tech to get an idea of what the furniture needs may be.
  • We will provide a piano in the space for those using music.


  • We have a marketing campaign advertising the festival as a whole with social media ads, Google Ads, and various ads on other digital outlets that theatergoers frequent.


  • Unique to SheLA, we provide a Mentor to each show. This is a member of our Festival staff who is there to guide you through the festival process, offer advice, and be an extra set of hands to help out as needed.


Some other tools and items we provide are:

  • Programs for all shows
  • A closing night party with awards determined by a panel of industry judges
  • Full ticketing system managed by SheLA Box Office staff
  • Outreach to local organizations that may apply to your show’s subject matter
  • Production photography & videography
  • Our Tip The Writers program allows patrons to leave you a tip, which we pay out to you at the end of the Festival
  • A life-long community of artists who will support all of your work in the future!

You Provide:


You can choose to work with Union or non-Union artists.

  • If you do hire AEA actors, you will need to manage your contract or code with them, make sure you’re paying them the amount that your contract mandates, and provide the insurance required by AEA (your show mentor can help explain!).

Note that SheLA provides a lighting designer. You are welcome to hire your own lighting designer to work alongside ours if you would like. Since you’ve only got a small amount of time to tech your show and load in and out, we encourage you to keep design elements simple, but if you would like a set, props, or costume designer, you’re responsible for finding and hiring those people for your show.


Any set, costumes, and props that aren’t covered by our shared pieces.

If you need more than just a piano for your music, you or your musicians bring their own instruments.



You handle the entire rehearsal process before you get into the SheLA Theater. Booking rehearsal studios tends to be the biggest expense in your budget, so we encourage creativity – have your read-through in someone’s living room; rehearse outside in a park when it’s nice out!


While we manage paid ads for the festival, we need your help to spread the word about your show to your networks! You likely won’t need or want to put money into this — just some old-fashioned effort of creating social media pages for your show, emailing your network to let them know about your performances, and otherwise spreading the word to family & friends.

Festival Timeline

September 15, 2021: Script submissions open. You’ll be able to submit your application and script any time between then and November 15 at 11:59pm PST.

February 2022: We will notify you if you’re a finalist for the Festival.

March-April 2022: We notify all shows of their acceptance to the festival. (We will also let you know if you’re not accepted.) You then accept your slot by a deadline that will be specified in your acceptance email.

May: All the fun stuff starts! We’ll have a meet and greet with Festival staff and all your fellow writers.

May/June: Start casting and rehearsals for your show! This is the part where you and your creative team take over. Our staff will be checking in about your progress, answer any questions, and to help market your show. NOTE that you will only have 5 hours to tech your show, and 15-30 minutes to load-in and load out, so we recommend you keep it simple when it comes to tech elements.

July: The SheLA Festival runs for one week in July, exact dates TBD. Each show will get a 5-hour tech and dress rehearsal, followed by 2 performances within those two weeks. We will also leave a few empty performance slots in the schedule so that any show that sells out its first two performances can add extra performances.

Ready to submit your show?

ARCHIVE: Learn more about our 2021 Shows

Written by Ailema Sousa

Directed by Ani Marderosian

Set in segregated America, FORT HUACHUCA follows the lives of five African American women who enlist in the army to train as nurses. They are sent to an army base camp in Arizona, where they embark on one of the biggest challenges of their lives. Universal and real, this story tackles social issues that are still relevant today: racism and sexism. It’s an inside look at survival in the army in the 1940s, when society treated women and people of color as “less than”.

Content warning: Please be advised that as a part of depicting this story and history honestly, this play contains offensive language and racial slurs.


FRIDAY, JULY 16 @ 7:30PM

*NEW: Digital Performance JULY 22 @ 7:30pm

Angolan born British actress & writer Ailema Sousa (Playwright) graduated from the renowned Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in 2016. Winner of ‘The Most Promising Playwright’ award at the Los Angeles Fringe festival (2018), she was later commissioned to write her second play ‘Morongo’ by the Inkwell Theatre Company for a staged reading. Ailema will be debuting her first full length staged play ‘Fort Huachuca’ at the SheLA festival this year.

Ani Marderosian (Director) holds a degree in Theatre (Directing and Education emphasis’) from CSU Fullerton. Most recent acting roles include: Maria (West Side Story) Fantine (Les Miserables), and Olivia (Twelfth Night). Most recent directing credits include: Wonder of the World, The First and the Last (Encore Award), The Baltimore Walt, and Bismillah. Ani is currently a full-time actor for Kaiser Permanente’s Educational Theatre as well as a voiceover artist for KCRW. Special thanks to SheLA, Ailema for the opportunity, and her friends and family! Phil 4:13. 


Written by Ali MacLean

Directed by Jason Weiss

THIS WILL BE OUR YEAR is a rock and roll Greek tragedy about a star-crossed, toxic love affair between a British musician and a New York designer. In this modern tale of love and longing, Hugo and Gen, over the span of ten years, are cursed to destroy each other’s lives. This is the second from MacLean’s Zombies Plays Trilogy – plays based on songs by the 60’s rock group The Zombies. Each play examines relationships from a different toxic theme. When love is the drug, relationships have the ability to make zombies of us all.


Trigger warning: Depiction of violence, sexual assault, and strong language.

Ali MacLean (Playwright) is a graduate of the Miami University and LaJolla Playhouse acting conservatories She won the John Gassner and Julie Harris Playwriting Awards, She NYC Arts Best Production, and finalist for The O’Neill and BroadwayWorld Best Director. She’s a Women In Film mentee, Writer For Writer and Stow Story Labs fellow, and won the David Sedaris Writing Prize. Ali’s a member of Ensemble Studio Theatre Company, Antaeus Theatre Playwrights Lab, and the Dramatists Guild.

Jason Weiss (Director) is the Artistic Director of No Pants Theatre Co, a Board Member of Celebration Theatre, and an award-winning director, writer and actor. He lives in West Hollywood, CA with his wife Grace and his dog Atticus. Find him on social media @TheJasonWeiss.

Written & Directed by Caroline Ullman

.Alex and Julia return to their childhood home after their youngest sister, Eva, has a particularly bad panic attack that sends her to the hospital. Together for the first time in over a year, the sisters are forced to come to the realization that despite being related, they don’t really know anything about each other. Through reminiscing, the comforts of home, and a few secrets they can’t believe they’ve never told each other, they begin to unpack their own mental health, and discover what it truly means to be there for one another.


SUNDAY, JULY 18 @ 1:30PM

Content Warning: Depiction of anxiety disorder.

NEW: Digital Performance JULY 23 @ 7:30pm

Caroline Ullman (director/playwright) is a writer and director based in Los Angeles. Her previous theater credits include Charlie Boyd, which she directed as part of the SheLA 2019 festival. Caroline wrote this play for her sisters, who she still enjoys reading her diaries out loud to, and for her parents, who raised three incredibly strong women. She also wants to thank Tierney, Abbey and Anna for being absolute rockstars.