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.


Tickets are $10 per person and can be purchased online (service charges will apply) by clicking the box at the bottom of each play synopsis, 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.

Michael Defrancesco

October 11, 2022

The Car Ride

The Car Ride is about a couple taking a trip when suddenly a woman jumps into the back seat of the car. The ensuing journey will have an indelible impact on their lives.

About the Author: Michael Defrancesco grew up in Cincinnati and attended a Catholic seminary. Having had a keen interest in theater and after attending a summer drama program at UC, he sought and was awarded a Rockefeller grant to the University of Cincinnati’s Theater Arts program, where he earned an M.A. in Theater Arts. He became more interested in writing than acting, and engaged in that off and on over a number of years. In the past dozen years, he has written four plays: three full length and two as one-acts. His first CPI staged reading was a full-length play, The Circle, held last January. He is married with three children.

Susan Medure Decatur

November 15, 2022

Not Just Cousins

A fictionalized memoir inspired by the lives of two small-town, teenage girls in the “sexy seventies.” As these close-knit cousins grapple with how to break out of their working class lives, we watch them grow into fearless females navigating the balance between career and family while remaining true to themselves and each other until fate steps in.

About the Author: After a successful career in Advertising, Susan Medure Decatur was reintroduced to the theater working as a dancer, actor and now a playwright.

Susan’s first 10-minute play, Denise’s Do-Over was selected for the February 2019 CPI playwriting competition, Lovefest. Denise’s Do-Over was later selected for a staged production at The Drama Workshop’s 10-minute play festival, “Home Brew Theater” in June 2019 at the Glenmore Playhouse. Denise’s Do-Over was again selected by TDW for their “Home View Theater” virtual play performances on December 4th 2020.

She co-wrote her first full-length play Unfinished Business with her husband, Doug Decatur, which received a CPI staged reading in September 2021. Unfinished Business received national recognition at the Austin Film Festival playwriting competition in October 2020 and the Screencraft playwriting competition in December 2020.

During the pandemic she wrote Not Just Cousins which received a virtual reading by the Dramatists Guild of NY on May 15, 2020. It was the inspiration for her 10-minute play Buy the Book which was virtually performed at the Know Theatre in February 2021 at its Serial 11 Thunderdome play competition.

Susan received her B.S. from Miami University and MBA from Indiana Wesleyan University. She has served on the CPI board as its Treasurer and Marketing Manager since 2018.

David Hughes

January 10, 2023

The Cost of Living

An exotic dancer and a drug dealer try to forge a “normal” relationship as the city where they live collapses with protests and looting after a police officer shoots an unarmed man. Based on the true story of Timothy Thomas’s death in Cincinnati in 2001.

About the Author: David Hughes has had a life in the theatre for 45 years. David’s full-length play, Acapulco was one of two plays in Ohio selected by OCTA for the Regional American Association of Community Theatre Festival 2017. David’s ten-minute play, I Am Not A Shoe, was selected for a staged reading at CPI’s recent Foolsfest playwriting competition this past April. He has a B.A. in Theatre Arts, U.C.  He is chairperson of CPI’s Writer’s Workshop.

February 14, 2023

Lovefest 2: An Evening of Eight Romantic Short Plays in celebration with the American Heart Association’s centennial celebration fundraiser

Plays and Playwright names to be announced by mid-October.

Mary Beringer

March 14, 2023


When Mrs. Brown’s husband disappears, she gets an offer from his employer- a technology company that can put Mr. Brown’s brain into the body of a willing participant, essentially bringing him back to life. Mrs. Brown agrees, but she may come to regret that decision.

About the Author: Mary Beringer 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.

Roger Collins

April 4, 2023

Symone with a Y

Symone Edwards, an African American woman diagnosed with “unexplained infertility,” hopes to publish a children’s book with her friend and book illustrator who has recently become pregnant.  That the women met at an infertility clinic makes their contrary circumstances all the more challenging for Symone.  As disappointments mount and childhood wounds resurface, Symone is driven to the brink of her ability to cope.

About the Author: Roger Collins is professor emeritus at the University of Cincinnati where he received the Cohen Award for Excellence in Teaching.  His fiction has been published in literary journals and his plays produced in Cincinnati and Dayton, Ohio, Fort Thomas, Kentucky, Brooklyn, NY, and San Francisco, CA.  His debut novel, ‘Cities of Glass,’ was published June 2022 by All Things That Matter Press.

DEADLINE for submission: June 30, 2023

New Playwright Submissions For 2023-2024

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. In order to be accepted for submission for our season of “new works” plays must be unpublished and not produced elsewhere. Membership in CPI is required prior to submission and can be done electronically on the “member” button. 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.


Romantic Short Plays For Lovefest 2

Lovefest 2 submissions are now closed.

Plays and Playwright names to be announced by mid-October. 

January 2022 staged reading The Circle
Photo Credit: Karen Adams

November 2021 staged reading Planting Grandma
Photo Credit: Karen Adams

Contact Us

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