The Core Writer Program is a three-year appointment designed to support a diverse group of playwrights who demonstrate a sustained body of work, commitment, and attributes of artistic merit. The program is available to committed professional playwrights nationally and offers significant resources intended to further a playwright's career. Playwrights who have benefited from the Core Writer Program include: Christina Anderson, Trista Baldwin, Lee Blessing, George Brant, Carlyle Brown, Kristoffer Diaz, Larissa FastHorse, Marcus Gardley, Marvin Gonzalez deLeon, Idris Goodwin, Jeffrey Hatcher, Sherry Kramer, Carson Kreitzer, Martyna Majok, Melanie Marnich, Qui Nguyen, Kira Obolensky, Jen Silverman, Susan Soon He Stanton, Alice Tuan, and Rhiana Yazzie.
The Core Writer program annually gives 25-35 of the most exciting playwrights from across the country the time and tools to develop new work for the stage. All Core Writers receive play development workshops with the Center, in collaboration with prominent directors, actors, dramaturgs, and designers. All writers are paid for their workshop time, and Core writers who are not local are provided travel & housing to Playwrights’ Center for their workshops.
Core Writers are eligible to be included in our formal season of public readings: the PlayLabs festival and the Ruth Easton New Play Series. Core Writers are also promoted by the Center and provided opportunities through an extensive network of colleges and universities, cultural institutions, and producing theaters.
Each term is three years; Core Writers may reapply for additional terms. Applicants must reside in and have the legal right to work in the U.S. It is not required for an applicant to have had professional productions in order to apply. However, please note that this program is highly competitive and is designed for committed professional playwrights who are pursuing playwriting as their primary career. Students enrolled in a full-time educational program are not eligible. The Core Writer term will be July 1, 2022-June 30, 2025.
“This workshop gave me the financial and human resource that I needed in order to be in sacred time with my work in-process. Being held in this way allowed me to carve out time away from home with no other work or distractions—which allowed me to work with my collaborators in a dynamic way. The unconditional support from the Playwrights' Center staff fueled us. I left the workshop with a strong draft and a clear knowing about what I need to do to re-enter the writing as I continue to develop the work."
— Sharon Bridgforth
Core Writer, 2020-23
Each application will contain the following pieces:
(including contact details, eligibility, and demographic information)
-1 page Artist Statement
Use this 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.
-1 page statement of Core Writer Goals
This is a statement, around one page in length, explaining how the Core Writer Program would benefit your career as a playwright. You may want to discuss projects you hope to develop as a Core Writer, specific resources you hope to take advantage of, and/or goals you have for your career. This statement should reflect a clear understanding of the program and the Playwrights' Center and explain to the evaluators why becoming a Core Writer is the right next step for you.
-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 email@example.com to discuss. If you are submitting a script for a musical or a play that was written in collaboration with another artist (i.e. lyricist), please clearly indicate your role in the writing of the play. Co-written work that does not have a clear division of who created which part will not be accepted—the evaluators need to be able to evaluate your work specifically.
-One letter of recommendation
Please request one letter of recommendation from an individual who is familiar with your work as a playwright. Letters must be received by the application deadline: January 20, 2022. You will be sending a request through the application portal below.
Questions may be addressed to Artistic Programs Manager Julia Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
Applications for the 2022-25 Core Writer Program are due Thursday, January 20, 2022 at 11:59 p.m. CST.
An information session about the application and program will be held on Wednesday, December 15, 2021 at 12:00 p.m. CST on Zoom at this link. The recording of last year’s information session is below.