The Core Writer Program is a three-year appointment designed to support a diverse group of playwrights who demonstrate a sustained body of work, commitment, and artistic excellence. The program is available to emerging and established writers nationally and offers significant resources intended to further a playwright's career. Playwrights who have benefited from the Core Writer Program include Christina Anderson, Trista Baldwin, Lee Blessing, George Brant, Carlyle Brown, Marcus Gardley, Jeffrey Hatcher, Sherry Kramer, Carson Kreitzer, Martyna Majok, Melanie Marnich, Qui Nguyen, Kira Obolensky, Jen Silverman, Alice Tuan, and Rhiana Yazzie.
The Core Writer program gives 25-35 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 with the Center, in collaboration with prominent directors, actors, dramaturgs, and designers. All writers are paid for their workshop time. Core Writers are eligible to be included in 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.
Each term is three years; Core Writers may reapply for additional terms. Applicants must reside in and have the legal right to work in the U.S. It is not required for an applicant to have had professional productions in order to apply. However, please note that this program is highly competitive and is designed for committed professional playwrights who are pursuing playwriting as their primary career. Students enrolled in a full-time educational program are not eligible. The Core Writer term will be July 1, 2021-June 30, 2024.
“This was such an extraordinary experience: everything about the process was vigorously centered around the needs of the play. As a playwright I felt absolutely heard, supported, and challenged. It is hugely liberating and wildly humbling when everyone in the room—everyone in the building, is focused on helping you grow your work."
— Allison Gregory
Core Writer, 2017-20
Each application will contain the following pieces:
-Application Form (including contact details, eligibility, and demographic information)
-1-2 paragraph Artists Statement.
Use this statement to describe your artistic goals and vision as a theater maker. This is also an opportunity to provide context for the play you submitted and discuss how it fits into your larger body of work and how you envision your work developing.
-1 page statement of Core Writer Goals
This is a statement, around one page in length, explaining how the Core Writer Program would benefit your career as a playwright. You may want to discuss projects you hope to develop as a Core Writer, specific resources you hope to take advantage of, and/or goals you have for your career. This statement should reflect a clear understanding of the program and the Playwrights' Center and explain to the evaluators why becoming a Core Writer is the right next step for you.
-Full-length play script
A full-length play generally runs at least 45 minutes. If you are hoping to submit a script that is shorter than 45 minutes in length, please contact Julia at email@example.com to discuss. If you are submitting a script for a musical or a play that was written in collaboration with another artist (i.e. lyricist), please clearly indicate your role in the writing of the play. Co-written work that does not have a clear division of who created which part will not be accepted—the evaluators need to be able to evaluate your work specifically.
-One letter of recommendation
Please request one letter of recommendation from an individual who is familiar with your work as a playwright. Letters must be received by the application deadline: January 21, 2021. You will be sending a request through the application portal below.
Questions may be addressed to Artistic Programs Manager Julia Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note: You will need to make a SlideRoom account in order to apply. If you are a Playwrights' Center member, your PWC login will not automatically log you in to SlideRoom—they are two different systems. If you already have a SlideRoom account, you should be able to access the application using your existing login.
For a video tutorial on using SlideRoom, please click here.
Applications for the 2021-24 Core Writer Program are due Thursday, January 21, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. CST.
An information session about the application and program was held on Friday, December 18 at 12:00 p.m. CST on Zoom. The recording is below.