Scouts, churches, schools and all kinds of social groups know the effect of using skits that make people laugh, cry or understand a topic on a deeper level. They perform them regularly and professional and non-professional playwrights have responded by writing short scripts and making them readily available through online databases. Many scripts in the following websites are avaible free-of-charge, but the playwrights ask you seek permission prior to use.
The 10-minute-plays website has a wide range of comedies and dramas, searchable by cast size and gender. All are about ten minutes long. The website makes full texts available to read and print at no cost and offers a list of books you may find in your local library. The plays include modern ( and therefore copyrighted) adaptions from the works of Robert Frost, Herman Melville and Mark Twain. The scripts are free to read or print but you must get permission to perform them in public. The website says if you are not charging admission, the playwright will often grant you the rights to perform without paying royalties, as long as you acknowledge his work.
Lazy Bee Scripts
Lazy Bee Scripts' website has 250 full skit and short play texts, available for free online perusal. Interested parties can search by cast size and gender, skit length or the skit type (religious, musical, plays for kids, or a number of other choices). Lazy Bee Scripts asks that you obtain permission before printing or performing these pieces, but groups not charging admission generally will be allowed to use the pieces for free.
Boy Scouts will find the MacScouter Big Book of Skits full of humorous five-minute skits just for them, but other groups will find the majority of the pieces applicable to their needs. Many skits give basic structure outlines and rely on the improvisation of the actors to bring life to the story. More than 400 scripts are for free use and those containing more than three people can almost always be modified to reduce the number of actors needed.
J. Lynn Patten has her bachelor's degree in psychology from Central Michigan University and is working on her master's in drama from Texas Woman's University. She has worked with the young for more than eight years, in educational, social and artistic venues.