Update: Virtual Desktops for Playwrights



A resident playwright Virtual Home desktop.


In July 2013, thanks to a generous grant from the Scherman Foundation’s newly-formed Katharine S. and Axel G. Rosin Fund, New Dramatists launched a three-year Virtual Home initiative, designed to provide virtual desktop computing ability, and fully licensed/updated software, to our entire resident writer company.

This project grew out of New Dramatists’ observations of the shifting, practical needs of playwrights. In years past, one of the most valued practical New Dramatists benefits was free access to a high-volume copier. In the 21st century, the Virtual Home Project ensures that resident writers will have uniform access to quality computing resources no matter where they are, and a virtual space that belongs to them, for storage of works in process. It also ensures that ND writers have access to free, fully licensed and supported writing software.

The Virtual Home project will provide highly available virtual desktop workspaces to all residents – a workspace complete with fully licensed software, and easily accessible by the writer’s device of choice (e.g., laptop, iPad, even a smartphone).

Throughout FY16, our Director of Operations Ron Riley and affiliated members of the Virtual Home team, worked intently to bring the XenDesktop virtual system to full operation; to configure and open an internet gateway to support secure remote access; and research and build a software package for playwright VDI desktops.

By December 2016, a prototype playwright desktop had been designed and entered a beta-testing phase with five New Dramatists resident playwrights. Part of this process includes securing software licenses for all 50 playwright desktops, including FinalDraft, the accepted industry-standard screenwriting software. We expect to present these desktops to the full resident company in May 2017.

LEARN MORE about all the support New Dramatists provides its writers

Virtual Desktop Resources

• Computers are pooled into a central system that distributes resources as needed
• Eliminates multiple aging desktops of different types with different operating systems – with VDIs, each desktop is the same
• Cloud computing allows users to easily access an ND desktop and network
• Greater energy efficiency; ensures all software is fully licensed and updated