Welcome to New Dramatists



Executive Director Joel K. Ruark, Artistic Director Emily Morse, President Emerita Isobel Robins Konecky and Chairman Seth Gelblum (in memoriam).


When you enter these virtual doors to our building dedicated to the playwright, you will be introduced to one of the most diverse and dynamic artistic communities in the country.

We approach each year as we approach each playwright we serve, on the terms set by the tasks at hand. Just as there is no way to predict the worlds into which we’ll be invited when serving an eclectic group of 50 resident playwrights plus four fellows and any number of alumni, there is no way to know exactly the course programming will take from year to year. To view it in hindsight is remarkable, not only for the sheer volume of work undertaken, but also for the variety of ways that the individual artists and collective community engage our resources.

We encourage playwrights to unleash their creative ambitions, which often takes them in directions unseen at the outset. With the knowledge that they can return to the Lab for continued exploration on the same or different projects, they don't have to solve every puzzle in one session. The resulting scripts are more what the writer envisions because they have extended time to think and work dynamically through the plays.

Since New Dramatists operates without earned revenue, all of this is made possible through generosity that takes many forms, from decades-long funding partnerships with institutions and individuals to our dedicated volunteer Board of field-leading professionals who have devoted their efforts to this community. Just after the 2015-16 season reflected in this report, New Dramatists suffered an incalculable personal loss with the passing of our Board Chair, Seth Gelblum. Seth brought his loving and wise leadership to New Dramatists for nearly three decades and you will find more reflections on his exemplary service elsewhere throughout this report.

Thank you for your interest in the work of these amazing theatre artists and the playwright founded community that is New Dramatists. We invite you to take a closer look.

  • Emily Morse
  • Artistic Director
  • Joel K. Ruark
  • Executive Director


Program Summary

This year brought milestones in programming and in our organization's history, including a bequest from Jerry A. Tishman to support extended playwright-driven workshops, and new general operating support from the Howard Gilman Foundation.

Annual programs that ground our calendar include Semi-Annual All-Writers Meetings, the New Playwright Welcome in the fall and the After Seven Festival celebrating outgoing writers in the spring. In late fall, we offer the PlayTime Developmental Studio, a two-week, in-house, lab retreat for five playwrights undertaking ambitious projects; and in early spring, we continue the 30-years running Composer-Librettist Studio, a workshop that animates different tenets of collaboration through new music theatre writing assignments.

The bulk of our annual calendar is programmed by writers driving their own projects. Our Activity Report provides an overview of the many ways the playwrights explore their work: one and two day readings; extended working sessions supported by the Jerry A. Tishman Playwrights Creativity Fund; generative think tanks; and community-building initiatives.