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What is Standard Play Format?

Many theaters and competitions ask for "standard play format." What's confusing for playwrights is that there are different definitions of "standard play format." Which doesn't make any sense — standard format should be standard, right? Different countries use different standards, but that makes more sense.

If a theater or competition gives you specifics, follow them. Otherwise, here are some specs to look at:

U.S. Standard Play Format

The Standard that's Referred to the Most

Web sites refer to this standard the most:

Playwriting Seminars by Richard Toscan, Virginia Commonwealth University
(this link is to an archive of the site; the original page doesn't have the info any more)

Every time I Google that link, I get hundreds of thousands of hits. Other sites, not so many. That may just mean it's popular rather than "standard," but on the other hand it's probably a safe bet.

Other U.S. Standards

Yale Press

Samuel French

Playwriting 101, by Jon Dorf

Theater Department at Indiana State University Sample%20Playwriting%20Format.pdf

UK Standard Play Format

The BBC have a whole page of standard formats, including one for UK stage-play format.

Canadian Standard Play Format

As far as I know, Canadian standard play format is the same as the British standard format. If I'm wrong, please let me know: