This site describes 5518 one-act plays using four or fewer actors. It names unpublished and published scripts in multiple languages and various media by worldwide playwrights.

Each citation presents any available information, sometimes bare bones, sometimes with extensive analysis or even script text. The citation seeks to provide playwright nationality, occupations, and birth and death dates, title (even alternate titles), approximate running time, genre, language, setting in place and time, cast size and gender, copyright, bibliographical entry data, dramatis personae (with character name, gender, age, program description), plot synopsis or synopses, production needs and history, author's biography, critical commentary, suggestions of scripts with which it could pair, record of mounting online and updating, literary themes.

"What's the point of a play that no one ever sees?"
David Eliott Brown, Scottish playwright (1964-2005)

"And to be a playwright today is to be a Willy Loman, where you take your plays in a suitcase and go anywhere."
John Guare, responding to Arthur Miller in a round table,The New York Times, September 24, 2000

Small-Cast One-Act Guide Online is a free resource for playwrights, actors, agents, directors, dramaturgs, producers, publishers, students, and librarians. It encourages the publication, perusal, production, payment of royalties, and preservation of scripts.

visits since 1995

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Five tips for choosing a great one-act play are at

Anyone seeking permission to read or use these plays can e-mail, telephone, or write a playwright or agent and should first give a clear, adequate self-introduction and present all pertinent information about intentions.

Small-Cast One-Act Guide Online encourages paying living playwrights. Remuneration for script use enables them to continue their creative output. A handy chart explains free use of scripts through public domain.

Playwrights should read News Flashes for addresses to send scripts for production or publication or competition.

Librarians have a special theatrical role, that is, to keep scripts available for stage and study. For this, librarians can e-mail individual playwrights for archival copies. Or, playwrights can donate their scripts to libraries for archiving.

Are you available? The staff of this site seeks help to research, format, and upload citations from a backlogged six thousand items. Willingness to use pmWiki tools and a general knowledge of dramatic literature are prerequisites. A graduate theatre degree is ideal but not required. Contact

Updated September 30, 2013.

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Play Spotlight


By Armand Salacrou