The 2021-22 PlayLabs Festival
The 2021-22 PlayLabs Festival

photo by Paula Keller

PlayLabs Festival

April–May 2022

PlayLabs is one of the nation’s most comprehensive new play festivals.

This year marks the 38th PlayLabs festival. (Yes, you read that right: almost 40 years.) Partnering with a team of artistic collaborators of their choosing, playwrights receive 36 hours of rehearsal time as well as two public readings and time for rewrites in between. This year’s festival will also feature a showcase of scenes by our 2021—22 playwriting fellows.

Each year, we fly in a number of the Regulars partners to join in this premiere new play incubation program. Because of this, nearly 70% of the plays featured in PlayLabs move to production, and this event has become a must-attend event for theater leaders across the country as well as fans near and far.

DIRTY LAUNDRY
by Mathilde Dratwa

In-person: Monday, April 25 at 7:00 p.m. and Saturday, April 30 at 1:00 p.m. CST
Available online: Saturday, May 7 – Friday, May 13

Following the unexpected loss of her mother and subsequent discovery of her father’s infidelity, an adult daughter alternates between grief and anger. Her dad attempts to put into words his complicated feelings about love, loss, and lust. Meanwhile, the “other woman” ponders: What is an affair when it's no longer an affair? In Dirty Laundry, Mathilde Dratwa explores the absurdity and messiness of life and death.

 

THE PERCY MEACHAM DANCE EXPERIENCE
by Darren Canady 

In-person: Tuesday, April 26 and Saturday, April 30 at at 7:00 p.m. CST
Available online: Saturday, May 7 – Friday, May 13

The Percy Meacham Dance Experience is known the world over as a vibrant, propulsive ambassador for Black life and culture. But new times demand new dreams…and apparently new bodies. When Percy Meacham’s board and managing director tell him their dollars will be tied to a new vision for the company, Percy decides that only innovation and change will ensure the company’s survival. But when the revolutionary spirit he inspired in his core dancers refuses to be snuffed out or ignored, a battle over legacy, cultural ownership, and what it means to be a family threatens to tear the company apart.

 

TRAPT
by Stacey Rose

beats and lyrics by Zion “No!z” Rose

In-person: Friday, April 29 at at 7:00 p.m. CST
Available online: Friday, May 6 – Thursday, May 12

Part fable and part documentary theatre with an ensemble cast, Trapt explores the world of trap music, its artists, and its culture. Inspired by the events surrounding the legal woes of Soundcloud rapper Tay K 47, Trapt seeks to understand the motivation behind the music, the infamy that propels its biggest stars toward success and often tragic failure, and the reasons why America loves it so much.

 

Playwrights' Center Playwriting Fellows Showcase

In-person: Sunday, May 1 at 1:00 p.m. CST
Available online: Sunday, May 8 – Saturday, May 14

Join us for an afternoon of scenes from plays-in-progress by the 2021–22 Playwrights’ Center Fellows. This year’s showcase will feature works by Jerome, Many Voices & McKnight Writers.

  • Lucas Baisch, Jerome Fellow
  • Zola Dee, Many Voices Fellow
  • Marvin González De León, Jerome Fellow
  • Gethsemane Herron, Jerome Fellow
  • JuCoby Johnson, McKnight Fellow in Playwriting
  • Cristina Luzárraga, McKnight Fellow in Playwriting
  • Lester Mayers, Many Voices Fellow
  • Nubia Monks, Jerome Fellow
  • Atlese Robinson, Many Voices Mentee
  • James Anthony Tyler, McKnight National Residency and Commission
  • P.C. Verrone, Many Voices Fellow
  • James A. Williams, Many Voices Mentee
The 38th Annual PlayLabs Festival
by Mathilde Dratwa
A headshot of playwright Mathilde Dratwa. She is standing in front of a stair case. Her hand is resting on her hip.
In-person: Monday, April 25 at 7:00 p.m. and Saturday, April 30 at 1:00 p.m. Available online: Saturday, May 7 – Friday, May 13
Venue:
Cost:
Free
by Darren Canady
Darren Canady
In-person: Tuesday, April 26 and Saturday, April 30 at at 7:00 p.m. Available online: Saturday, May 7 – Friday, May 13
Venue:
Cost:
Free
by Stacey Rose
In-person: Friday, April 29 at at 7:00 p.m. Available online: Friday, May 6 – Thursday, May 12
Venue:
Cost:
Free
The 2021-22 Playwrights' Center fellows prepare to depart for a retreat in Northern Minnesota
In-person: Sunday, May 1 at 1:00 p.m. Available online: Sunday, May 8 – Saturday, May 14
Venue:
Cost:
Free