Theater Begins Here 

The Playwrights' Center Mission:

The Playwrights' Center champions playwrights and new plays to build upon a living theater that demands new and innovative works.


The Playwrights' Center Vision:

The Playwrights' Center is nationally recognized as the undisputed leader in the cultivation and promotion of playwrights and their work.



Founded in 1971 by five writers seeking artistic and professional support, the Playwrights' Center today serves more playwrights in more ways than any other organization in the country.

One of the nation's most generous and well-respected theater organizations, the Playwrights' Center focuses on both supporting playwrights and promoting new plays to production at theaters across the country. The Center has helped launch the careers of numerous nationally recognized artists, notably August Wilson, Lee Blessing, Suzan-Lori Parks, Jordan Harrison, Carlyle Brown, Craig Lucas, Jeffrey Hatcher, Melanie Marnich, and Kira Obolensky. Work developed through Center programs has been seen nationwide on such stages as the Yale Rep, Woolly Mammoth, Guthrie, Goodman, and many others.

Programs and Services


The Ruth Easton Lab brings the Playwrights' Center Core Writers - 25-30 of the most exciting playwrights from across the country - and their collaborators to Minneapolis for play development workshops and a formal season of public readings with prominent directors, actors, dramaturgs, and designers. Core Writers are promoted by the Center and provided opportunities through an extensive network of colleges and universities, cultural institutions, and producing theaters. More »

Local and National Partnerships elevate the role of living playwrights. The Center works with several theaters each year to develop work for their stages. Recent partners have included Tectonic Theater Project, Mixed Blood Theatre, Actors Theatre of Louisville, The Public Theater (NY), Goodman Theatre (Chicago, IL), Oregon Shakespeare Festival, the Guthrie Theater, Ten Thousand Things Theater Company, and others. The Center also collaborates with local cultural institutions as the Walker Art Center and Minnesota History Center to develop theater that deepens their programming.

Fellowships, made possible by the McKnight and Jerome foundations, provide approximately $200,000 each year for residencies, commissions, and development funds. Through these fellowships, the Playwrights' Center functions as a home for:

  • Many Voices Mentorship recipients, two beginning Minnesota playwrights of color. More »
  • Many Voices Fellows, two early-career Minnesota playwrights of color. More »
  • Jerome Fellows, four emerging national playwrights. More »
  • McKnight Advancement Grants, two established Minnesota playwrights. More »
  • McKnight National Residency and Commission, one celebrated national playwright. More »
  • McKnight Theater Artist Fellows, three professional Minnesota theater artists other than playwrights recognized for their outstanding skill and talent. More »

Membership is open to all for just $50 per year and provides access to an online hub of information about the field including articles by theater luminaries, a database of playwriting opportunities, and access to dramaturgical services, readings with professional actors, discounted classes, and free seminars. In addition, the Playwrights' Center's New Plays on Campus program serves dozens of colleges and universities nationwide, providing script-matching services, arranging playwright residencies, and offering immersive apprenticeships to student playwrights and dramaturgs. More »

ANNUAL REPORT: Read our 2012-13 annual report on Issuu or as a PDF (2 MB)

Join our email newsletter to stay up-to-date on Playwrights' Center news and events, including our acclaimed PlayLabs Festival of New Plays, our popular monthly Ruth Easton New Play Series, and other new play events!

Contact Us:

The Playwrights' Center
2301 Franklin Avenue East
Minneapolis, MN 55406-1099
Phone: (612) 332-7481
Fax: (612) 332-6037
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