Applications for our 2019-20 Writing Fellowship are now closed.
Thank you to all that applied!

About the Program

The Playwrights Realm Writing Fellowship Program awards four early-career playwrights with nine months of resources, workshops and feedback designed to help them reach their professional and artistic goals. Over the course of the season, Fellows develop a single new play. Monthly group meetings provide a collaborative, energizing space for writers to share and refine their work. One-on-one meetings with The Realm’s artistic staff support each writer’s specific artistic process. Fellows work with a director, design consultants, and actors over the course of two readings to see their work come to life. Professional development resources are also an integral part of the program and are tailored to the individual group of Writing Fellows. Mentor opportunities, meet-and-greets, and professional seminars are designed to shed light on the business of theatre, and empower the Fellows to be active, informed participants in their own careers. The culminating event of the program is our INK’D Festival, which features a public reading of each Fellow’s play. 

Writing Fellows Receive 

  • $3,000 Award

  • Internal reading

  • Public reading

  • Professional development activities

  • Access to Realm office resources

  • An occasional hug

What We’re Looking For 

Above all, we look for dedicated early-career writers who crave a long-term, rigorous development process. We value intellectual curiosity, imagination and bravery. We love plays with evocative language, plays that contemplate big, unanswerable questions, that 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. 

Program Criteria

  • Playwrights must be able to attend meetings and readings in New York City approximately twice monthly from September 2019 through early June 2020.

  • Playwrights should identify as early-career. 

  • Submitted script must be a full-length play, at a stage of development that would benefit from a nine-month developmental process. 

  • Plays should have no commitments to other theaters that will limit their development with The Playwrights Realm. 

  • Those enrolled in an academic program during the span of the fellowship are not eligible.

  • Plays which have had a production outside of an academic environment are not eligible.

  • Plays committed to another similar development process during the same period as the Writing Fellowship are not eligible.

Writing Fellows Application Components

  • Online application (short-answer questionnaire)

  • Theatrical résumé (example here)

  • complete draft of the play you wish to develop, with your name and play title on a cover page (PDF format)

  • OPTIONAL professional reference or letter of recommendation.

Looking for info on our other open application program, the Scratchpad Series? Click here.


Can I apply to the Writing Fellowship if I don’t live in New York?
Because many of the program activities and resources available to Fellows are in New York City, you must live within commuting distance to be eligible. Fellows meetings occur on average twice per month in the evenings, and there are other activities, play outings, rehearsals, and group events on a regular basis. We have had fellows commute from other locations along the East Coast, though we cannot offer additional funds to cover that travel. If you live beyond the Tri-state area we’ll just ask you to explain how you plan to make sure you can attend all meetings. Please note: we do not recommend moving to New York City for this fellowship! 

Are there any limitations on the length or type of work I can apply with?
Submitted scripts must be a full-length play. (A full-length play is a single play that constitutes a full evening of theater. For example, a 90-minute intermission-less play is a full-length play.) Plays cannot have been produced outside of an academic environment, and cannot be committed for production or another similar development process during the Fellowship period. At this time we don’t consider solo performance projects or one-person shows. We also don’t consider musicals for the Writing Fellowship, though they are eligible for Scratchpad Series. (See Scratchpad FAQ for specifics)

Can I apply to both the Writing Fellowship and Scratchpad Series?
Our process allows you to apply to both programs with a single application. However, The Playwrights Realm accepts only one play per applicant, per season, across all programs. This means you may not submit separate scripts for the Writing Fellowship and Scratchpad Series.  For Scratchpad, preference will be given to projects that can’t be served by the Writing Fellowship (ie musical projects, playwrights who do not live in the greater NYC area etc.)

How does The Realm define “early-career”?
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. For example, a playwright in their late 30s who has not yet had a major New York production would most likely be eligible, while a writer in their early 20s who has had such a production may not be.

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

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. 

Does enrollment in an academic program have any bearing on my eligibility for the Writing Fellowship?
Yes. You are not eligible for the Writing Fellowship if you will be enrolled in a full-time undergraduate or graduate program during the 2019-2020 academic year. 

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. It should also include any other relevant theater experience, education or affiliations. An example of a basic playwrights’ resume can be found here and we would strongly suggest you follow that format. If you would like to include other pertinent, non-theatre information please list it at the end of your resume. Please note that a bio will not be accepted in lieu of a resume.

Will you let me know that my application was received?
You should receive an auto-response e-mail confirming that your application has successfully been submitted via our online portal.

When can I expect to hear about my Writing Fellowship application status? 
You will be able to track the status of your application through the online portal you use to apply. Because of the volume of applications we receive, it generally takes 6-8 months to select program participants, and we are unable to respond to individual requests about application status. We do, however, commit to contacting every applicant regarding their status prior to publicly announcing the program results.

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