"Royalty-free" one-act plays are those which you don't have to pay the author a performance fee. A creative work will usually become
royalty-free after it has passed a copyright period, following which it falls into "public ownership".
The length of the copyight term can vary, but for any creative work created after 1978, the copyright protection usually lasts
during the artist's lifetime, and for 50-70 years following that. However, that is only a very general guide, and there are variations.In other words, different countries have different terms of copyright. If you want to read all about it, click here,
otherwise suffice to say, royalty-free works, or works that are in the public domain, tend to be quite old and are "done-to-death".
However, some new playwrights will allow their work to be used by the public royalty-free, simply as a way to getting their work "out there". I have
included some of these writers under Other Web Sources, and, as I like to encourage new works to be performed, do recommend that you check them out!
Here is a collection of royalty-free one act plays that I have located online, with links to the online text. (Be sure to check that the work is royalty-free in your country/region):
The Jewel Merchants by James Branch Cabell
One Day More by Joseph Conrad
The Lamplighter by Charles Dickens
Makers of Madness by Hermann Hagedorn
Why the Chimes Rang by Elizabeth Apthorp McFadden
Rada by Alfred Noyes
St. Patrick's Day, or, The Scheming Lieutenant by Richard Brinsley Sheridan (Farce)
Chitra by Rabindranath Tagore (Lyrical Drama)
War Brides by Marion Craig Wentworth (Drama)
The Noble Lord by Percival Wilde (Comedy)
The Reckoning by Percival Wilde
Washington Square Plays by Various Authors, including:
- The Clod by Lewis Beach
- Eugenically Speaking by Edward Goodman
- Overtones by Alice Gerstenberg
- Helena's Husband by Philip Moeller.
The Bear (aka
The Boor), The Wedding,
The Proposal (and some full-length plays) by Anton Chekhov.
A very fine collection of royalty-free plays can be found here at one-act-plays.com
A collection of royalty-free one act (and full-length) plays are available here by D.M. Bocaz-Larson
A catalog of royalty-free plays written by Robert "BO" Bruce Anderson.
Royalty Free One Act Plays by Stephen C. Yednock Jr.
PlaysPlus offers royalty-free plays for directors with theatre training as their objective.
Full-length as well as one act plays can be found at royaltyfreeplays.com
One act plays for no-budget to low-budget theaters, available free for public use by Eitan Loewenstein.
Royalty-Free One Act Plays by Various Authors
Five Comic One Act Plays by Anton Chekhov
Morituri - Three One Act Plays by Hermann Sudermann (this link goes to Google Books)
If you are aware of a good one-act resource, or have a royalty-free play you would like us to mention, please contact us.
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To check out our own selection of NEW one-act plays,