About Play On Words

Play on Words is a collaborative literary performance series in San Jose that pairs performers with up-and-coming and already established writers, resulting in a live performance. What does that look like, you ask? Check out our 2014 Highlights Reel to get a glimpse of what we do:

Founded in 2013, we have hosted quarterly performances in San Jose and even graced the stages of San Francisco at the 2014 Lit Crawl. We received support from the San Jose Downtown Association, in partnership with The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, for our June and July 2015 shows.

Submission Guidelines

We accept works of fiction, nonfiction, theater and poetry on an ongoing basis. While our aesthetic tends toward the funny, unusual, thought-provoking and absurd, more than anything we want to read work that surprises us and pops off the stage. We cap submissions at 1500 words, though there is some wiggle room with works of theater.

To submit, email an attachment of your work to playonwordssj@gmail.comUse this opportunity to tell us a little bit about yourself and how you see this piece being performed.

During our inaugural season, we produced quarterly shows. In 2015, we received funding to produce a few shows, and in 2016, we took an extended hiatus for maternity leave and graduate school. In 2017 we had our first official theatrical debut with Leading Women, a special show at Redwood City’s Dragon Theatre. We also began our partnership with San Jose’s Flash Fiction Forum to create our first chapbook, Activate, which we plan to sell and promote in 2018. Going forward, we hope to partner with local nonprofits and series to offer themed shows that benefit causes close to our heart. If you are interested in partnering with us, we’d love to hear from you.

About Our Founders


JHJ_Schmitz2Julia Halprin Jackson’s work has appeared in Oracle Fine Arts Review, West Branch Wired, California Northern, Fourteen Hills, COLLAGE Magazine, Flatmancrooked, Sacramento News & Review, Fictionade, Catalyst and Spectrum, as well as selected anthologies. She has been awarded scholarships from the Tomales Bay Writer’s Workshops and the Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference and is a graduate of UC Davis’ M.A. in Creative Writing program. She is at work on a collection of 100 one-hundred-word stories, which she is illustrating as postcards, and a novel set in southern Spain. Read more at juliahalprinjackson.com.



Melinda Marks has performed in the Bay Area for over 20 years, and has more recently begun trying her hand as a writer of short plays and as a director. She holds a BA from UCSC in Theater with an emphasis in dramaturgy, and an MA from San Jose State in Theater Studies.

Nicole HughesNicole Hughes is the events manager at Kepler’s Books in Menlo Park, and the former director of San Jose State University’s Center for Literary Arts. She completed an MFA in fiction writing from San Jose State University, where she taught composition in the English & Comparative Literature Department. Her story “Impasto Portrait” was published in Liebamour. As an MFA student, she was awarded the 2011 Ann Lillis Creative Writing Scholarship and the 2009 and 2011 James Phelan Literary Award. She currently lives in Oregon.

Want to join the conversation? Like us on Facebook, follow us on Instagram (@playonwordsanjose) and Twitter (@PlayOnWords_SJ), or send us an email at playonwordssj@gmail.com.


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