Free One-Act Plays for Drama Class

Royalty-Free 10-Minute Scripts for Acting Students

Students rehearsing onstage
Hill Street Studios / Getty Images

Are you looking for original play scripts to use in your classroom? Drama teachers and directors may use these one-act plays free for educational purposes.

Written by playwright Wade Bradford, this collection of short plays primarily includes ​comedies. Your young cast and students can hone their skills on these scenarios that include time travel, talking turkeys, and even a little romance. ​

Each of Bradford's play scripts included here is royalty-free, so you can use them in your classroom or amateur theater productions without worry. Below you will also find a resource for radio drama scripts that can be used with character exercises that emphasize voice for action.

"12 Angry Pigs"

The 10-minute play "12 Angry Pigs" is a parody of the famous play "12 Angry Men." It not only offers a humorous opportunity for actors of all levels, but it also provides a glimpse into the jury and justice system. Of course, there's a little allusion to "The Three Little Pigs" mixed in as well.

The play is educational and hilarious and accessible to a variety of students. "12 Angry Pigs" has been performed all over the world, including Argentina, Australia, Japan, and the Netherlands.

"Back to the Summer"

Perfect for young performers, "Back to the Summer" is a quick and witty play that gives your class a lot of creative freedom. Add your own soundtrack, have students write jokes—do whatever you like to create a positive experience for your young actors.

The premise of the play follows three friends who take a time machine back to the 1980s. This sets a chain of events in motion that stirs up historical figures from the golden age of pirates, the old West, and ancient Egypt. Even Thomas Edison makes a brief appearance. It is a fun romp through time that actors of all levels of experience will enjoy.

"A History of Messy Rooms"

This short play for children is based on Wade Bradford's picture book "Why Do I Have to Make My Bed? Or, a History of Messy Rooms." What begins as a simple question turns into a history lesson that examines the lives (and chores) of children throughout the ages.

In the play, the two main characters—Mom and Jamie—are visited by children from various eras. It is an easy, fun, short production that allows young actors to explore simple dialogue and action.

"Montana Jones and the Gymnasium of Doom"

This play is written specifically for performers between ages 10 and 14. "Montana Jones and the Gymnasium of Doom" is a simple one-act comedy that kids of that age will relate to.

Two friends sit at the bus stop, lamenting their boring life in a new middle school, wishing for the days when they could play at recess and make up pretend adventures. That's when Montana Jones, part-time explorer, and full-time fool, swoops in, taking the kids on a journey to discover their school in a whole new way. 

"Cinema Limbo"

This two-person scene takes place at a movie theater box office. "Cinema Limbo" requires just two office chairs for the stage set.

This is a play that may make some teenagers uncomfortable, because of the romantic dynamics. But such discomfort can be a part of all acting and this piece may provide the opportunity for some of your students to experience working with more difficult material. The simple plot: Employees Vicky and Joshua are having a friendly conversation that suddenly turns romantic (despite the fact that she already has a boyfriend).

"Terri and the Turkey"

Holiday play "Terri and the Turkey," tells the story of an unfortunate turkey who realizes that today is Thanksgiving. Guess who has a date with the chopping block?

Lucky for him, the turkey meets a kind-hearted girl named Terri who wants to give him a second chance at life. Your drama students will get a chuckle out of the ending, so you might want to surprise them by doing the first reading aloud together.

Radio Drama Scripts

The "Generic Radio Drama" website has created a wonderful list of classic radio drama scripts. Although radio drama and live theater are two very different art forms, these scripts can be excellent learning resources for focusing on voice and dialogue. Material exists from the following shows:

  • "Abbot and Costello"
  • "Flash Gordon"
  • "Little Orphan Annie"
  • "The Lone Ranger"

These scripts are suitable for performances within the classroom environment. However, if you are thinking of staging a professional production, check out the website’s discussion about copyrighted material. Some of the radio scripts are now in the public domain, while others require permission.