Cincinnati Playwrights Initiative

New Plays, New Voices, New Talents

CPI was formed in November 1996 and exists to serve the local Cincinnati community of playwrights, directors and actors who wish to pursue the art and craft of playwriting. CPI’s goal is to enhance the cultural awareness of the community by offering new, original work by local playwrights in both an entertaining and educational setting. We present low cost staged readings to the general public for playwrights to receive valuable feedback on their work and for audiences to be part of the creative process with the playwright. 

Aronoff Resident Company

CPI has been a resident company of the Aronoff Center for the Performing Arts since its inception as a 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code in July, 2001. All staged reading performances take place in the Fifth Third Theater unless capacity attendance requires us to move our performances to the larger Jarson-Kaplan Theater.


Season tickets are $50 per person and get you into all 6 staged readings including our Ten-Minute Play Festival in April. Tickets can be purchased online by clicking the purchase subscription button in the red box (service charges will apply) by phone at 513-621-2787 or at the box office (650 Walnut Street downtown Cincinnati). We strongly urge advance ticket purchases due to limited seating in the Fifth Third Theater.

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Purchase a subscription for 5 staged readings and get 1 FREE!

Mary Beringer

September 19, 2023

Howdy Neighbor

Sasha and Cam just moved to the neighborhood, and they love it! The only problem is the neighbors, who are just a little strange. It starts with probing questions and moves on to vague threats. Everyone knows it’s dangerous to be gay, but Sasha and Cam never expected this.

About the Author: Mary was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. After working as a high school English teacher, she now writes grants for a non-profit. You may know her plays from performances at the Know Theatre, Cincinnati Lab Theatre, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, or University of Dayton’s Studio Theatre. This is Mary’s second CPI staged reading. Last season she had Synapse done at the Aronoff in March.

Michael Defrancesco

October 10, 2023

The Hound

The Hound is a taut drama thriller about a mystery  man — Bud  30ish –  visiting another mystery man – Lester  70ish in a marginal nursing home. In a hound and fox game between them, they gradually reveal who they are. A third character – Athena –  a LPN completes the mystery trio whose actions were precipitated by Bud finding a family album upon the death of his mother.

About the Author: Michael is familiar to CPI audiences for his play The Circle, a narrative of priestly abuse, that received a staged reading in January 2022. He had a second staged reading for his play, The Car Ride in October, 2022 in addition to his 10-minute play, A Box of Mom’s Photos that received a staged reading for Lovefest 2 in February 2023. After attending a summer drama program at UC, Michael was awarded a Rockefeller grant to UC’s Theatre Arts program, where he earned a Master’s degree. Michael is a native Cincinnatian and resides in Clifton with his wife.

Clint Bramkamp

October 10, 2023

Jason’s Footage, Buffalo Girl 1973 and Monumental Art

In Jason’s Footage, when their star dies of an overdose, four filmmakers try to salvage their unfinished film and their own relationships. In Monumental Art, a former campus misfit at Grand Lakes U donates a sculpture to his old school, but is it gratitude or a different kind of gesture? Buffalo Girl 1973 takes place in a discotheque. A man who used to fly women to New York to obtain legal abortions unexpectedly meets a former passenger.

About the Author: Clint Bramkamp has been privileged to have plays performed, and to be a performer, at CPI in the past. He is a board member at The Drama Workshop in Cheviot, and is the founder of Home Brew Theater, their annual 10-minute play festival. Clint’s ten-minute play, The Courthouse, was selected for CPI’s first Lovefest play competition in February 2019. Clint has been acting since the 1970’s at venues including the Cherry County Playhouse in Michigan, Dayton’s Human Race Theater, and the Showboat Majestic. He most recently appeared in this year’s Cincinnati Fringe Festival in Kevin Crowley’s The Rembrandt Job.

Susan and Doug Decatur

November 14, 2023

Lovestruck (4 short plays about love and romance: Forever Soulmates, Naked Neighbors, The Big Bad Wolves and Tiny Dancer)

Lovestruck was inspired by the Decatur’s own love story through a series of short plays showing the trials, tribulations and triumph of love. From feeling like you’ve been together in a prior time in Forever Soulmates, keeping things spicy in your marriage in Naked Neighbors, showing your vulnerability about relationships and love in The Big Bad Wolves and connecting to that special person whenever and however it happens in Tiny Dancer, we recognize that anyone can become Lovestruck.

About the Authors: Susan and Doug Decatur became a writing team after their marriage in 2018 where each of them had their 10-minute plays selected for Cincinnati Playwright Initiative’s first playwriting competition, “Lovefest-Romantic Shorts from the Heart” at the Jarson-Kaplan Theater. Susan’s play Denise’s Do-Over was rated third and Doug’s play The Pool Boy received second place audience ratings. Denise’s Do-Over was later selected by the Drama Workshop in Cincinnati for both its HomeBrew and HomeView playwriting events before and during the pandemic.

Doug has had four full-length plays stage read with CPI over a 10-year period: 1832, Redford’s Rules, Righting Redford and Ticket to a Lotto Love.

Susan had her first full-length play, Not Just Cousins, cold read at the Dramatist’s Guild in NY from which her excerpted 10-minute play Buy the Book was performed virtually during the pandemic at the Know Theatre in Cincinnati, in addition to being selected at Miami Writes in Hamilton. Not Just Cousins went on to receive a staged reading with CPI in November 2022 at the Fifth Third Theater. Doug also had his 10-minute play, Special Delivery performed virtually at the Know Theater during the pandemic.

Susan and Doug co-wrote their first full-length play, Unfinished Business, which was nationally recognized as a Second-Round stage play finalist at the 2020 Austin Film Festival in addition to being selected as a Finalist in the 2020 Screencraft playwriting competition. Unfinished Business also received a staged reading with CPI at a sold-out performance in September 2021 at the Fifth Third Theater.

Lovestruck, a series of 8 short plays was inspired by the Decatur’s journey from “almost” meeting when they were in their twenties to finally finding each other 40 years later at a dance class and some of the humorous, touching and romantic moments in their life as singles leading up to their marriage.

The Decaturs are both native Ohioans. Susan graduated from Miami University and holds an MBA in Executive Management from Indiana Wesleyan University. Doug is a University of Cincinnati graduate with an MBA in Finance from Xavier University. Doug plays basketball with the Shooting Stars National Senior Games team (of Unfinished Business fame) who won the Gold Medal for the State of Indiana last September and competed at the National Senior Games this July bringing home 6th place honors in the 65+ age bracket.

Together Susan and Doug share 4 grown children: Jared, Jenna, Stephen and Joseph along with their 2 “kids with fur”: Heidi, their tabby/calico kitty and Ryou, their Golden Retriever. When they’re not writing together they enjoy playing tennis, ballroom dancing, hiking and eating dark chocolate.

Bertha Davis

November 14, 2023

Boy Meets Girl, a ten-minute play

Colby and Michelle couldn’t be more different, on the face of it. Colby a hard-charging White business executive, Michelle a meditative Black woman. When the elevator they share stalls, facades fall, and new discoveries are made.

About the Author: Bertha Lynn Davis (“Bertha/Lynn”) is a playwright, motivational speaker, life coach and retired corporate manager based in Norwood, OH.

Bertha/Lynn has appeared on stage and film produced by Throne of Grace Productions. She also enjoys volunteer work in the community supporting youth programs and diversity and inclusion programs.

Bertha/Lynn ‘graduated’ from the Procter & Gamble company in 2022 after 33 years of service. Soon after she launched Three Babies Productions, which combines her business experience, her passion for the arts and for people through her plays and public speaking.

Barry Cobb

November 14, 2023

Can’t Stop What’s Coming, a ten-minute play

Can’t Stop What’s Coming is a play about two men who meet at a 30-year college reunion and renew a somewhat tenuous previous relationship. The play focuses on their lives, trials and tribulations. Fred was on a positive trajectory to be a professional Cellist but that career ended due to serious wounds from combat in Viet Nam. He also suffered the untimely loss of his wife. Will, on the other hand, a ne’er-do-well in his early life, always in trouble, became more established as he matured and took more responsibility for himself. Through happenstance, Will was offered a once-in-a lifetime opportunity which is revealed at the end of the play.

About the Author: Barry is a retired clinical psychologist. A Maine native, he graduated from the University of Maine and then Miami University (Ohio) graduate school. Barry moved to Cincinnati in 1970, where he began a clinical psychology career in Kentucky, Cincinnati and Middletown. He practiced mostly in community mental health and was CEO of the Middletown Area Mental Health Center following which he worked at Trihealth in the Employee Assistance Program. He is currently a community member of the Ethics committee at Jewish/Mercy Hospital. Barry and his wife have two sons, a daughter, six grandchildren and two dogs. Barry started writing play scripts in 2018 while in a course offered at Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI). His hobby has been learning to play guitar.

Leo Bradley

February 20, 2024

The Magic Opry

Rock Fork Records has fallen on hard times, and producer Nelson Easten is desperate to save both the recording company and his job. In the golden era of classis country music, Easton was on top of the country music world with hit songs, many emanating from the writing and singing of Rankin Winters, Nashville’s most successful male singer and song writer.

Together they were the Elvis and Colonel Parker of country music. However, time and the changing genre made them both passé in the country music industry. Although Easton has hung on to his role at Rock Fork Records, Rankin Winters has fallen into hard times and is now playing second venues and attempting to cope with forgotten fame, lost family, booze, and pills.

Easton, responding to pressure from his corporate bosses, comes up with a scheme to resurrect the fortunes of Rock Fork Records and the career of Rankin Winters. It all depends on whether Rankin still has hit songs in his soul, and how Nelson can parley the past glory into a new future for Rock Fork Records.

About the Author: Leo Bradley, Ed. D, is a prolific writer of both fiction and non-fiction. The Magic Opry is as realistic musical play that traces the evolution of country music from the hills of Appalachia to its current more universal popularity through the eyes of characters with different interests. Bradley’s play, Bleachers, presents, through music and dialogue, the parallels between the history of baseball and the story of America. His third play, Here’s to Living, is about the joys, conflicts, and challenges of aging. Dr. Bradley has also authored three novels published by Losantiville Press, one with an historic Civil War setting, a family saga of the 20th century, and a contemporary music tale set in Nashville, Tennessee.

Leo is also a songwriter, musician, and singer, having written and recorded three albums and having over forty of his songs recorded by Fraternity Records.

In his career as an educator in public schools and universities, Dr. Bradley authored eleven professional books on baseball history, school law, curriculum and instruction, and educational leadership theory.

Reece Niederhausen

March 12, 2024

Janitor’s Closet

Ethan, a lonely gay student at Ridgewood High, is attempting to make it out of his senior year alive by hiding away in a janitor’s closet for as long as possible. However, when his ex-best friend Allie reveals that she is secretly pregnant, hiding may not be a viable option anymore.

About the Author: Reece is currently in his Junior Year at Xavier University and is majoring in Theater Education. Janitor’s Closet is both Reece’s CPI debut and his Playwrighting debut as a whole. He is absolutely thrilled to be sharing this story with you and hopes that you will enjoy the piece! Reece would like to thank his family and friends for their undying support of him throughout his various theatrical pursuits. He truly could not have done this without them.

April 16 or 17, 2024

Earthfest 2024

8 ten-minute plays celebrating Earth Day 2024. Ticket sales will support the Miami Group Sierra Club.

Playwright selections will be announced this fall.

DEADLINE for submission: May 31, 2024

CALL FOR Submissions For NEW Works 2024/2025

We accept submissions of One Act, Full Length and short plays (10 minutes in length) that together make a performance of 90 minutes of work to present as a cold or staged reading.

Play formatting and designated page counts based on play length are outlined by clicking the Submission Guidelines button. In order to be accepted for submission for our season of “new works” plays must be unpublished and not stage produced elsewhere, although cold or staged readings of a play in development is acceptable.

Membership in CPI is required prior to submission and can be done electronically on the “Members” button at the top of the homepage. Playwrights living outside the Cincinnati designated market are eligible for cold readings only. Playwrights are encouraged to attend our free monthly playwriting workshops to prepare their work for submission.

Submissions that receive a cold reading receive valuable feedback from other playwrights and audiences at a local venue where attendance is free. Plays that are selected for a staged reading are performed at the Aronoff during our designated season and receive live audience feedback after the performance.

Call for Submissions for CPI’s Earthfest 2024 Ten-Minute Play Festival

CPI is celebrating Earth Day next year with our next Ten-Minute Play Festival
on April 16 or 17, 2024!

We’re saving both dates at the Aronoff next year depending on ticket sales and theater capacities.

So, all you tree huggers out there who love Mother Earth in all her glory tell us your story and submit your ten-minute script (LIMIT TWO per playwright) for EARTHFEST 2024
on or before Sepetember 30, 2023. 

But here’s the best part! CPI is partnering with our local Miami Group Sierra Club to help raise funds for their environmental work right here in Cincinnati.

So, all you hikers, bikers, gardeners, farmers, campers, conservationists, fishing aficionados, environmentalists or just plain star gazers, write a ten-minute script that will earn you a spot at
EARTHFEST 2024! Please follow our script submission guidelines under the “Submissions” tab at the top of the homepage for formatting and membership eligibility.  Eight plays will be selected for EARTHFEST 2024 so get your short play in soon! 

November 2022 staged reading Not Just Cousins
Photo Credit: Karen Adams

November 2022 staged reading Not Just Cousins
Photo Credit: Karen Adams

Contact Us

P.O. Box 40
Terrace Park, OH 45174-0040