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 to their craft, and distinct artistic vision. The program is available to committed professional playwrights nationally and offers significant resources intended to further a playwright's career. Playwrights who have benefited from the Core Writer Program include: Christina Anderson, Lee Blessing, Carlyle Brown, Erin Courtney, Kristoffer Diaz, Larissa FastHorse, Marcus Gardley, Marvin Gonzalez deLeon, Idris Goodwin, Dipika Guha, Jeffrey Hatcher, Sherry Kramer, Carson Kreitzer, Martyna Majok, Mona Mansour, Melanie Marnich, AriDy Nox, Qui Nguyen, Kira Obolensky, Stacey Rose, Jen Silverman, Susan Soon He Stanton, Alice Tuan, and Rhiana Yazzie.
The Core Writer program annually gives 25-35 of the most exciting playwrights from across the country the time and tools to develop new work for the stage. Each year, Playwrights’ Centers selects 4-7 new writers to join this group, as 4-7 other writers wrap up their three-year term. 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, and Core Writers who are not local are provided travel to and housing in Minneapolis for their workshops.
Core Writers are eligible to be included in our formal season of public readings: the PlayLabs festival, the Ruth Easton New Play Series, and the In the Lab 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. 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. Playwrights’ Center Staff who are directly involved in administering fellowship programs are not eligible. The Core Writer term will be July 1, 2024-June 30, 2027. At least one slot each year is reserved for a Minnesota writer.
“Honestly, this has been the best development experience I have ever had. I have been gushing about it for weeks… The gift of time is truly invaluable. To be able to deeply dive into the work and uncover new crevices of it without worrying about 'the presentation' allows for such a deeper exploration and evolution of the work. I cannot overstate how grateful I am for the time Playwrights' Center gave me to work on this piece."
— AriDy Nox
Core Writer, 2022-2025
“In this late-pandemic moment, it’s been harder than ever to find opportunities to cultivate early work in progress. Many beloved development centers have shuttered or cut back their operations, and yet, new plays are being written and need space to grow! Over the last many months, I’ve been writing a brand new play, and I was at a point where I could not go any further without a rehearsal room. The Playwrights' Center swooped in to save the day."
— Emily Feldman
Core Writer, 2020-2023
(NOTE: The primary language used by evaluators during the selection process is English. If text is intentionally written not in English, a line of context would be helpful to an evaluator. Playwrights’ Center acknowledges this is an ethnocentric practice. While most Fellowship activities and engagements are conducted in English, Playwrights' Center staff are available to discuss additional support and resources as necessary.)
Each application will contain the following pieces:
(including contact details, eligibility, and demographic information)
-Playwriting Resume (any legible format)
-1 page Artist 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, as outlined in the program description, 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.
NOTE: If you are planning to apply with a musical, please be aware that only text submissions are allowed. We do not accept any audio files or links to external websites, and evaluators will be instructed to not seek out any demos or audio tracks related to submitted scripts. We recommend that you consider the strength of just the text of your piece—separate from any music or other elements—as you select which piece to submit.
-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 25, 2024. You will be sending a request through the application portal below. You may request a letter through the application system before finishing your final application, so we recommend that you click on the link below and begin your application sooner rather than later to give your recommender time to complete their letter. Letters of recommendation are valid for three years. If you would like to resubmit a past letter of recommendation, please email Artistic Programs Manager Julia Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org at least two weeks before the application deadline. We try to keep all letters on file, but we cannot guarantee that each letter will be available.
Questions may be addressed to Artistic Programs Manager Julia Brown at email@example.com.
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.
An information session about the application and program will be held on Wednesday, December 20, 2023 at 12:00 p.m. CT on Zoom at this link. The recording of last year’s information session is below.
We are offering a working session on Monday, January 8, 2024—in partnership with Springboard for the Arts—on the topic of creating successful artist statements. Register for this free event here.
Applications for the 2024-27 Core Writer Program are due Thursday, January 25, 2024 at 11:59 p.m. CST.