Each resident playwright acts as the artistic director of their own seven-year new play laboratory, utilizing a menu of programming resources to pursue their artistic, process and development goals. Their Lab work is housed in a mindfully cultivated environment, free from financial and critical pressures, with guidance and support from a dedicated staff who encourage expansive, creative, and strategic thinking. Writers map their own journeys with complete creative authority.
Each resident playwright has access to and can schedule one or two-day play readings or working sessions with volunteer collaborators, calendar permitting, on a first come first-serve basis, with casting and additional collaborator support from New Dramatists staff. Writers decide at which point it is helpful to invite an audience into their development process, and all public readings are free of charge.
Additionally, playwrights may hold one extended workshop during the course of one year. With generous support from Foundation partners, New Dramatists offers approximately 12-14 of these extended workshops per year, scheduled on an ad hoc basis. Because we cannot offer every playwright an extended workshop each season, with the combined goal of accommodating individual requests and equity for the whole company, when programming extended workshops, we consider who has had greater or lesser access to these resources over time, who’s later in residency years, and calendar availability. Like all development at New Dramatists, each playwright determines their own artistic goals and terms of engagement for the extended time, and all writers and their collaborators are compensated financially when working on extended workshops in the Lab.
Each year, Covid safety protocols permitting, we also offer two in-house retreats for multiple writers and companies of collaborators with programming and support intended to inspire ambitious creation, spark collaboration, and encourage artistic growth.
New Dramatists’ array of practical resources for playwrights illustrates our founding principal, that playwrights are one another’s greatest resource. Staff work to connect and foster community through a range of physical and virtual resources: in-person meetings, a manuscript library, shared web-based platforms, writing spaces, computing & office resources, as well as three residence rooms and a stocked pantry, available when not under strict Covid safety protocols.
Playwrights find at New Dramatists everything an itinerant, professional artist needs in a home base – host meetings with collaborators, print brand new pages, query other resident writers about a sensitive issue through a secure listserv, find a quiet place to write away from their children, or even do laundry (Covid and environment permitting).
In addition, New Dramatists provides financial resources in the form of reimbursements for some travel, childcare, and substitute teachers covering for the residents when participating in extended workshops, and administration of an assortment of awards.
The life source of New Dramatists is our ever-changing company of playwrights. Each year, through the annual admissions cycle, we consider anew the question, “What is a New Dramatist?” Selecting a new group of incoming playwrights is a cyclical process of self-reflection, renewal, and redefinition. It is our belief that this contemplation keeps the organization and playwright community vibrant and ensures that we continue to represent emerging new writers and trends in American theatre.
The required submission materials include two full-length original plays, a statement of intent, and a biography or resume. We accept applications online during a window each summer.