Workshops

There have been, from time to time, concerns among playwrights that we have too many workshops and not enough productions. There may be some merit to the case. Plays production costs enormously, both in dollars and time, at almost every level, but companies that can’t risk a new play dying on their mainstage (or even a second stage) might be able to swing a workshop. In doing so, they feel they’ve played their part in giving birth to new plays.

Things get considerably trickier when theatres workshop plays and then want a piece of future percentages. They get even more complicated if workshop directors or other individuals want a piece of possible earnings. That’s a discussion for another place.

It should be said, however, that plays aren’t ready for staging when they first roll out of a printer. The words must be said by actors, because a playwright can work magic staging, performing, and even supplying applause in his or her head, but you have to get the thing up on its feet to see if its really going to work. And, let’s face it: very few of us can build a perfect play entirely by ourselves. So we have workshops. And they can be really fun. At least until the talkbacks start.

Again, workshops overlap somewhat with conferences, festivals, and other gatherings of the theatre tribe.

Academy for New Musical Theatre

Offers a core curriculum for musical theatre writing, enabling writers, composers, and lyricists to enhance their skills through craft-specific labs and to share their knowledge and experience through collaborative work assignments.

Asian American Theater Company – NewWorks Incubator

Actors, writers, directors, and mentors collaborate to create new Asian American plays.

CherryLaneTheatreMentor Program

A program engaging leading dramatists in one-on-one mentoring relationships with emerging playwrights for a theater season, resulting in a showcase production at Cherry Lane’s Studio theatre.

David Henry Hwang Writers Institute

A 10-week workshop designed to help new and experienced writers start or develop new plays into scripts ready for staging.

Fieldwork (The Field) 

A unique forum for artists to share developing works and exchange feedback, peer to peer. Fieldwork’s structure reveals how each piece is perceived by others, and fosters a detailed information exchange. Usually scheduled as weekly or bi-monthly sessions, many groups culminate in an informal showings, open to the public.

The Lark Play Development Center

A laboratory for new voices and new ideas, providing playwrights and their collaborators with resources to develop their work in a supportive, rigorous environment, and encouraging artists to define their own goals and creative processes in pursuit of a unique vision.

Nightswimming

A dramaturgical company that develops new Canadian plays, performance works, and dance. Nightswimming commissions, develops, and workshops these projects and seeks out established theatre companies as partners in extended development.

The Original Workshops

A script development program in Los Angeles for beginning and advanced stage and screen writers. One-day workshops are held Saturdays, cost $125, and have limited class sizes.

Pataphysics Playwriting Workshops

Four-session, intimate workshops at The Flea Theater for new work and for discovering new ways of working.

Playground

Supports development of new local voices for the theatre. A Bay Area playwright incubator, providing “opportunities for the cultivation and development of early-career local playwrights and partnerships with leading professional directors, actors, and theatres.”

Playwrights’ Workshop Montréal

A professional theatre centre dedicated to development of contemporary work and new writers for the Canadian stage.

PTC – Playwrights Theatre Centre

A dramaturgically-focused theatre company that supports Canadian playwriting, from play creation to performance. PTC engages with the professional theatre community nationally and internationally in developing new work.

Playwrights Gallery

Founded in 1991 to nourish the work of emerging New York City playwrights. The Gallery holds twice-monthly playwriting workshops from September to June, and produces staged readings in the fall, winter, and spring. Its acting company reads work in progress and performs finished work for invited audiences.

Playwrights Platform

Non-profit Boston-area cooperative of playwrights, directors, and resident actors “developing new theater by providing a forum to explore the process of creating new dramatic work.” Holds regular readings of new works; each summer, it produces an annual festival of new plays, written by its members.

Pulse Ensemble Playwrights Lab

A group of playwrights meeting for three hours a week, on Monday nights, to listen to actors read scenes from their plays. After the readings, discussions examine how well the work serves the playwright’s objectives.

Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab

Fosters collaboration between early-career writers and directors in the beginning stages of the creative process. Each year, up to five writers and directors pair to create a new play, culminating in a spring public reading series. Readings are free and open to the public.

Southern Writers Project

An event giving modern-day storytellers a chance to develop their stories by working with actors, directors, dramaturgs, and an audience. Presented by the AlabamaShakespeare Festival.

Sundance Institute Theatre Lab

A three-week play development retreat designed to support the creation of new work by playwrights, directors, composers, and librettists, and to provide a place where that work can be effectively mentored and challenged. The process culminates in a closed presentation of each work-in-progress for the Lab community, followed by an intimate artist-led feedback session.

The Playcrafters Group

Works with dramatic writers from across the country to develop producible scripts for motion pictures and theatre. Through balanced, constructive feedback, they seek to help writers focus their creativity, organize their ideas, and present their work in clear, credible, and dramatically compelling ways.

The Scripteasers

Provides writers with an opportunity to hear their scripts read aloud by experienced actors. They accept unsolicited ​submissions.

Women’s Theatre Project Lab

A two-year residency for women playwrights, directors, and producers. Selected through a competitive process, the Lab provides members with a professional network, entrepreneurial and leadership training, rehearsal space, and tangible opportunities for development and production of new work for the stage.

Other Playwriting Resources


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