The McKnight Foundation, a family foundation based in Minnesota, advances a more just, creative, and abundant future where people and planet thrive.
The McKnight Fellowship in Playwriting recognizes and supports mid-career playwrights living and working in Minnesota who demonstrate a sustained body of work, commitment to their craft, and distinct artistic vision. The fellowship, which runs July 1, 2024-June 30, 2025, includes: a $25,000 stipend, an additional $2,500 to support a play development workshop and other professional expenses, and $1,400 in travel funds. Past recipients include: Carlyle Brown, Lisa D'Amour, Barbara Field, Keli Garrett, Marvin González De León, Jeffrey Hatcher, Christina Ham, Rachel Jendrzejewski, Tori Sampson, TyLie Shider, Carson Kreitzer, May Lee-Yang, Kira Obolensky, Savannah Reich, Harrison David Rivers, Stacey Rose, Katie Ka Vang, and Rhiana Yazzie.
Applicants must reside in and have the legal right to work in the U.S. during the fellowship term. Applicants must have been continuous residents of Minnesota since at least January 11, 2023, and must maintain residency in Minnesota during the fellowship year. Applicants must have had a minimum of one work fully produced by a professional theater at the time of application. Recipients of 2019-20, 2020-21, 2021-22, 2022-23, and 2022-24 McKnight Artist and Culture Bearer Fellowships in any discipline are not eligible. Full-time students are not eligible. Staff and board members of the McKnight Foundation and the Playwrights' Center and their immediate family members are not eligible. Fellowship recipients may not receive any other Playwrights' Center fellowships, grants, or Core Writer program benefits during the grant year. If a recipient is a Core Writer, the Core term will be extended by one year. Applicants may only apply for one McKnight Artist and Culture Bearer Fellowship each year in any of the disciplines listed below.
The McKnight Fellowship disciplines include: Printmaking (Highpoint Center), Book Arts (MCBA), Fiber Arts (Textile Center), Choreographers and Dancers (Cowles Center), Media Artists (FilmNorth), Visual Artists (MCAD), Ceramics (NCC), Composers (ACF), Musicians (MacPhail Center), Writers (the Loft), Playwrights (Playwrights’ Center), Theater Artists (Playwrights’ Center), Culture Bearers (Indigenous Roots), and Community-Engaged Artists (Pillsbury House).
"I’m at a point now where I’m having fun with my writing again. I’ve begun to let go of the fear of a piece never being fully realized and am instead choosing to focus on writing the stories I want to see. I’m on a mission to create those things that make my heart feel full and that’s exactly what I’ll do."
– JuCoby Johnson
McKnight Fellow in Playwriting 2021-22
McKnight Foundation Community Values
The McKnight Foundation and the administering partners for the McKnight Artist and Culture Bearer Fellowships are committed to creating and supporting an artistic community in which all individuals are treated with respect and dignity. The community of the McKnight Artist and Culture Bearer Fellowships includes people who engage with the fellowships program whether as applicants, fellows, panelists, contractors, collaborators, fellowships administrators, and staff of the McKnight Foundation and partnering organizations. As a community, we commit to creating and maintaining relationships that are free from harm, prejudice, and harassment. Community members agree to communicate directly and transparently regarding issues of conduct that could negatively impact the well-being of participating members and organizations. In the case of an accusation, legal action, or conviction, the McKnight Foundation and its fellowship program partners may gather and assess relevant information. If deemed necessary, the McKnight Foundation and its fellowship program partners may take administrative action up to and including the recommendation of participation in reconciliation or restorative justice processes; disqualification of an application; the termination of a contract; and the recall and/or termination of a fellowship. This community will be what we make it and our aim is to collectively create an experience in which all artists and members of the McKnight Artist and Culture Bearer Fellowships community thrive.
(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)
Please note clearly which productions listed on your resume (if any) meet the criteria for being "fully produced by a professional theater." Professional productions are defined as full length productions—running at least 45 minutes in performance— for which the author and primary artists (actors, directors, and creative collaborators) were reasonably compensated and that received at least three public performances each. Ten-minute or one-act plays and university, college, secondary school, amateur, and Equity showcase/waiver productions are not considered full professional productions. Productions that open after January 11, 2024 do not count.
Use this one-page 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. Please also discuss how you hope to take advantage of the fellowship resources.
-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 firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss. All script submissions must be written only by the applicant—no co-written submissions will be accepted. Scripts for musicals may be submitted by the book writer only. If you have previously received a McKnight Artist and Culture Bearer Fellowship in any discipline, this script must have been completed after that fellowship year.
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.
Please list two individuals who are familiar with your work as a playwright and who we may contact during the evaluation process.
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 13, 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, 2023—in partnership with Springboard for the Arts—on the topic of creating successful artist statements. Register for this free event here.
Applications for the 2023-24 McKnight Fellowship in Playwriting are due Thursday, January 11, 2024 at 11:59 p.m. CST.