Playwrights' Center sustains, develops, and advocates for playwrights and their work to realize their full artistic potential.
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 Daniel Alexander Jones, Lee Blessing, Carlyle Brown, Sheila Callaghan, Karl Gadjusek, Marcus Gardley, Idris Goodwin, Sarah Gubbins, Jordan Harrison, Jeffrey Hatcher, Craig Lucas, Martyna Majok, Melanie Marnich, Qui Nguyen, Kira Obolensky, and August Wilson. Work developed through Center programs has been seen nationwide on such stages as The Guthrie, Lincoln Center Theater, New York Theater Workshop, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Steppenwolf, The Public, Woolly Mammoth, and many others.
Programs and services
The Core Writer Program gives 25-30 of the most exciting playwrights from across the country the time and tools to develop new work for the stage. All Core Writers receive play development workshops at the Center, in collaboration with prominent directors, actors, dramaturgs, and designers. Selected work by Core Writers makes up our formal season of public readings: the PlayLabs festival and the Ruth Easton New Play Series. Core Writers are also promoted by the Center and provided opportunities through an extensive network of colleges and universities, cultural institutions, and producing theaters.
Fellowships, made possible by the McKnight and Jerome foundations, provide more than $315,000 each year for residencies, commissions, and development funds. Through these fellowships, the Playwrights’ Center functions as a home for:
- Jerome Fellows, three emerging American playwrights
- Many Voices Fellows, two early-career playwrights of color
- Many Voices Mentees, one Minnesota-based beginning playwrights of color
- McKnight Fellows in Playwriting, two accomplished Minnesota-based playwrights
- McKnight National Residency and Commission, one playwright selected annually from an impressive national pool
- McKnight Theater Artist Fellows, three exceptional Minnesota-based theater artists (other than playwrights)
Membership is open to all and provides over 2,300 playwrights worldwide with tools, resources, and support. Benefits include a database of playwriting opportunities, online and in-person seminars and classes, access to readings with professional actors, dramaturgical services, and more. 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.
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 collaborations include partnerships with Denver Center on Idris Goodwin’s Victory Jones and the Incredible One Woman Band, Marin Theatre Company on Carson Kreitzer’s Lasso of Truth, Mixed Blood on Aditi Kapil’s Brahman(i) and Shiv, Pillsbury House Theatre on Tracey Scott Wilson’s Buzzer, and The Walker Art Center and Elevator Repair Service on Sibyl Kempson’s Fondly, Collette Richland. The Center also flies in 10-15 artistic leaders each year to meet writers and hear their work. The newly-launched Regulars program brings together a group of nearly 100 producing theaters in the United States who seek the support of the Center in order to meet new writers, develop their work, and move them into production.