How To Format a Stage Play

by Trisha Sugarek

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Posted by trishsugar
Format is extremely important. If you submit your new play to anyone they will not read it if it is not in the proper format. There is software out there that offer auto-format but sadly I have not found one that demonstrates correct formatting. Notice the character names are in CAPS and centered. Setting, Rise and Dialogue are justified left. Single space between character’s name and first line of dialogue. Blocking (action) is indented and double-spaced from the line above. (The playwright gives the characters instructions on when and where to move. But, keep it short. Remember there will be a director who has their own ideas of where they want their actors to be.) If blocking is only one word, place next to character’s name in parentheses. A ‘beat’ is to enhance the pace of the speech and is in parentheses within the dialogue. Here is a formatting example:


Scene 1 ©

Setting: A loft studio in Greenwich Village. Late afternoon. There are many paintings but all of the same woman. Large, open windows overlook the street.

At Rise: Monty is standing at his easel. Voices are heard off stage.

(MONTY is painting. His clothing is

paint smeared.)

VOICE (Off.)

Hey, beautiful! You’re home early.

(Brush in one hand, palette in the other,

MONTY crosses up to the windows and peers

into the street below. The lilting laughter of a

young woman is heard.)


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