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

Scratchpad Series opens The Realm’s doors to early-career playwrights from around the country, deepening our ability to do what we do best: listening to what playwrights need, and 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, The Realm aims to provide playwrights with what they need to thrive. Scratchpad is a chance for The Realm to engage with an entirely new group of playwrights each year, erasing limitations of geography or access by identifying and inviting playwrights from across the U.S. to participate.

Scratchpad participants receive a developmental workshop of up to one week in New York City, working with top-notch professional collaborators—director, cast, and The Realm’s artistic staff. If the playwright is based outside of New York, The Realm also facilitates the playwright’s travel and housing for the workshop.

Playwrights Receive

  • Developmental reading of up to one week. 

  • Professional collaborators, such as a director, cast, and The Realm’s artistic staff.

  • Travel and housing or per diem if the playwright is based outside of New York City.

Program Criteria

  • Playwrights should identify as early-career. 

  • 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.).

  • 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, 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.

With regards to Scratchpad, preference will be given to projects that can’t be served by the Realm’s Writing Fellowship (i.e. musical projects, playwrights who do not live in the greater NYC area etc.)

Scratchpad Series Application Components

  • Program-specific online application form 

  • 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)

  • Music samples, if applicable

  • OPTIONAL professional reference or letter of recommendation

Looking for info on our other open application program, the Writing Fellowship? Click here.


I have a script that I’d like The Realm to consider, but it doesn’t need a developmental  reading. Is there a way to submit just for production consideration?
Unfortunately, no. For the Realm, it’s as important that we get to know you as a playwright as it is that we 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? 
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.) 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. At this time we don’t consider solo performance pieces or one-person shows.

Can I apply to both the Scratchpad Series and the Writing Fellowship?
Our process allows you to apply to both programs with a single application. However, The 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.  Please note that applicants for the Writing Fellowship must live within commuting distance of NYC as that program involves regular evening writer meetings, rehearsals and events in NYC over a 9 month period.

Do I have to live in New York to be eligible for Scratchpad?
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 elsewhere in the United States.

Do I have to live in the U.S. to be eligible for Scratchpad?
Currently we're only able to accept submissions from people living in the United States, but we are gathering information about international interest and may expand in the future. If you are a playwright, writing in English (or able to personally translate your work to English), based outside the U.S. please send an email to to let us know that you are interested in the program.

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 educational program make me ineligible for The Scratchpad Series?
No. As long as you can arrange to be fully present in New York for the duration of the reading, playwrights enrolled in academic programs are eligible.  

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.

When will Scratchpad readings be held?
Readings will be part of the 2019-20 season, between September 2019 and August 2020. 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. 

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 Scratchpad 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 will be in touch with all applicants regarding their status prior to publicly announcing the program.

Still have questions? E-mail us at: