The Playwrights' Lab

The Playwrights' Lab comprises our writer-driven readings and workshops series. Each resident playwright has unlimited access to schedule one or two-day play readings. New Dramatists also provides the playwrights with numerous opportunities to participate in one or two-week workshops, longer sessions designed to flesh out existing plays or to begin brand new works for the stage. These readings and workshops are fully supported by New Dramatists through free work space and the provision of a director, stage manager, and professional actors.

Playwrights' Lab

Playwrights' Lab Programs

Full Stage USA

Full Stage USA paired New Dramatists residents with producing organizations nationwide.

The initiative, conceived by New Dramatists and underwritten by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, addressed the field-critical issues of new works “stalling” in development with no resulting full production and the special challenge of securing subsequent productions after a world premiere. Full Stage has established five institutional collaborations between an eclectic mix of New Dramatists writers and an equally diverse group of producing organizations from across the country. Each partnership provided a $25,000 commission to a writer; supported two years of enhanced writer-driven development in New Dramatists’ Playwrights Lab; and culminated in the full production staged by the partner theatre.

Our partners for Full Stage USA, launched in winter 2010-11 are: Cornerstone Theater Company in Los Angeles, The National New Play Network (NNPN), Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF), Yale Repertory Theatre, and a consortium of theatres in Austin, TX (Rude Mechanicals, Salvage Vanguard Theatre, Physical Plant, Rubber Rep, Fusebox Festival, Austin Scriptworks, and the University of Texas at Austin playwriting program).

Full Stage USA was made possible by a lead grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Jerry A. Tishman Playwrights Creativity Fund

The Jerry A. Tishman Playwrights Creativity Fund offers residents the opportunity to workshop new plays or musicals for up to five days.

Blending the flexibility of a one-day play reading with the intensive focus of a two-week workshop, these workshops are structured according to each writer’s needs at any stage of development enabling playwrights to experiment and explore in depth with collaborators of their choice. The writers’ multi-year tenure here ensures they have access to the Fund whenever they most need the resources.

The Fund is sustained by the Jerry A. Tishman Living Trust. It was established in 2008 with a lead grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

A reading of GIRL shakes loose her skin by Zakiyyah Alexander. Photo by Luis Oliveira.


PlayTime provides three or four New Dramatists residents with a two-week writers’ retreat, right in the heart of New York, with their collaborators and a company of actors.

PlayTime is a laboratory designed to give playwrights the opportunity to explore, workshop, rethink, and revise ambitious new works of theatre by drawing from a supportive resident company of actors, directors, stage managers, staff, and fellow playwrights.

The round-the-clock schedule offers intensive and flexible time for rehearsal, rewrites, feedback, and community engagement. PlayTime has helped bring close to fifty plays to fruition since 2001.

PlayTime is made possible by major funding from Concord Theatricals, Jody Falco & Jeffrey Steinman, and The Ted Snowdon Foundation.

Daniel Alexander Jones leads a discussion of his play during PlayTime 2006.

The Composer-Librettist Studio

The Composer-Librettist Studio, offered in partnership with Nautilus Music-Theater, gives writers a chance to face the joys and challenges of Music-Theatre.

The Studio, now in its 28th cycle, rotates collaborative teams between five New Dramatists residents, five composers, and five singer-performers. Ben Krywosz, Artistic Director of Nautilus Music-Theater and his long-term music director Roger Ames work with these writers, most of whom are new to the music-theatre form, leading them through a series of exercises exploring collaborative principals, the possibilities of this blended form, and artistic community. At the end of the Studio, each playwright has worked with each composer and 25 new music-theatre pieces have been created by the group.

The Composer-Librettist Studio receives major project funding from the Jerome Foundation.