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The Scratchpad Series, our newest program, jumpstarts The Realm’s relationship with early-career playwrights by doing one of the things we do best: listening to what playwrights need and then giving it to them. Whether it’s a place to hear a rough draft aloud for the first time, space to fine tune a more mature work or time to focus in on a particular aspect of a piece, we want to give playwrights what they need to thrive. Scratchpad is a chance for us to engage with a whole new group of playwrights each year, erasing limitations of geography or access by working to identify early career playwrights from all across the country to participate.

Scratchpad participants will spend a week in New York City for a developmental reading of their play with top-notch professional collaborators—director, cast, and The Realm’s artistic staff. If the playwright is based outside of New York, The Realm will also facilitate travel and housing for the workshop.

Playwrights Receive
  • One week developmental reading of their play
  • Professional collaborators, such as a director, cast, and The Realm’s artistic staff.
  • Facilitated travel and housing (if the playwright is based outside of New York City).

    Program Criteria
  • Playwright must consider themselves early-career.
  • Play to be considered should be a complete draft.
  • Submitted script has not been produced in NYC.
  • Submitted script is not under commission from, or slated for production by, another institution.

    What We’re Looking For
    We love plays with evocative language, plays that contemplate big, unanswerable questions, that are intellectually curious and embrace the complexity of life, and demonstrate an understanding of the possibilities of dramatic storytelling. And of course, plays that are inherently theatrical—that could never be anything other than a play!

    As a playwright-centric company hoping to help create the next generation of successful playwrights, we believe it is our responsibility to ensure that the playwrights and the stories we support fully reflect the diversity of the society we live in. As such, we encourage writers and stories with unique cultural perspectives, experiences and backgrounds. With Scratchpad in particular, we aim to help artists break through any barriers that may exist—geographical, economic or otherwise—bringing voices and stories as diverse as our country to work with us and hopefully one day be seen on stages all across the United States.


    I have a script that I’d like The Realm to consider for production, but it doesn’t need a reading. Can I still submit to the Scratchpad Series?
    Unfortunately, no. For the Realm, it’s as important that we get to know you as a playwright as it is to get to know your play, and we generally only produce writers we’ve already worked with in some way. We’ve started The Scratchpad Series specifically to create more opportunities to start new relationships with more writers.

    Are there any limitations on the type of work I can apply with?
    Scratchpad scripts must be full-length. (As a guideline, this generally means 60+ pages and/or 60+ minutes of stage time) Also, at this time we don’t consider one person shows. Musicals are accepted as long as at least half of the members of the team—lyricist, book writer and/or composer–identify as early-career.

    Can I apply to Scratchpad with more than one script?
    The Playwrights Realm accepts only one play per applicant, per season. Please keep in mind that if you have already applied to our Writing Fellowship, this means that you may not submit a separate script for Scratchpad.

    Do I have to live in New York to be eligible for Scratchpad? Do I have to live in the U.S.?
    This series was created, in part, to eliminate geographical barriers between The Realm and writers not based in New York City. The Realm will facilitate travel and housing for Scratchpad participants based in other U.S. cities, but we're currently only able to accept submissions from U.S. residents. We do hope to expand Scratchpad to international applicants in coming seasons.

    When will Scratchpad readings be held?
    Specific dates will be discussed during finalist interviews. We will do our best to make schedules work for finalists within the parameters of The Realm’s availability.

    Does enrollment in a graduate program have any bearing on my eligibility for The Scratchpad Series?
    No. As long as you can arrange to be fully present in New York for the duration of the reading, your enrollment status has no bearing on eligibility.

    When can I expect to hear about my Scratchpad application status?
    As this is a new program, we can’t precisely predict how long it will take us to give the appropriate care and consideration to each application. However, our goal is to notify all applicants of their status by the end of October.

    Does whether or not I have an agent affect my eligibility for The Realm’s programs?
    No. We will read any script, regardless of your representation status.

    Is there an age limit for The Playwrights Realm’s programs?
    No, there is no age limit to apply to any of our programs. The only limitation is that applicants must be early-career playwrights. If you consider yourself early-career we welcome you to apply.

    How does The Playwrights Realm define “early-career”?
    If you would consider yourself early-career we encourage you to apply. We make our assessments about “early-career” status on a case-by-case basis but one benchmark we often look to is if a playwright has had a major New York Production.

    What kind of resume should I submit with my application?
    Your resume should list the plays you have written and any readings, workshops and productions they have received. Your resume should also include any other relevant theater experience. We would be glad to see a resume detailing your education or other work experience, though this is not required.

    Will you let me know that you received my emailed application?
    You should receive an auto-response confirming that your application has been received.

    Still have questions? E-mail us at: