McKnight National Residency and Commission

McKnight Foundation

The intent of the McKnight National Residency and Commission is to support an established playwright from outside of Minnesota who demonstrates a sustained body of work, commitment, and distinct artistic vision. The Recipient of the Residency and Commission will create a new play which will be developed with the Playwrights' Center through a series of workshops and will culminate in a public reading of the play.

Recipients will not move to Minnesota but will have opportunities to engage with local artists and the Playwrights' Center staff and fellows throughout their term (July 1, 2022-June 30, 2023). One of the goals of this program is to create dialogue between Minnesota-based artists and those outside of the community. Benefits include: A $15,000 commission, up to $12,250 in workshop funds to support the development of the play, and a public reading. Past recipients include: Kia Corthron, Erik Ehn, Idris Goodwin, Karen Hartman, Daniel Alexander Jones, Sibyl Kempson, Taylor Mac, Dan O'Brien, Heather Raffo, Betty Shamieh, and Mfoniso Udofia.

Applicants must reside in and have the legal right to work in the U.S. Applicants must be nationally recognized playwrights who have had at least two different plays fully produced by professional theaters at the time of application. (Note for 2020, 2021, and 2022: any programmed/announced professional productions cancelled due to COVID-19 can be counted. Please be sure to mark cancellations or postponements clearly on your resume.) Minnesota-based playwrights are not eligible for this award. Recipients of the 2017-18, 2018-19, 2019-20, 2020-21, and 2021-22 McKnight Artist Fellowships in any discipline are not eligible. Full-time students are not eligible. Staff and board members of the McKnight Foundation and the Playwrights' Center of their immediate families are not eligible. Recipients may not receive any other Playwrights' Center fellowships or Core Writer benefits during the grant year. If a recipient is a Core Writer, their Core term will be extended by one year. Applicants may only apply for one McKnight Artist Fellowship each year in any discipline. Recipients must create a new play according to the terms of the contract.

"The McKnight National Residency and Commission has been an extraordinary experience. This piece might have languished on my "to-do" list for years had I not had this opportunity to write it and work on it. I am forever grateful."
– Sibyl Kempson
McKnight National Residency and Commission 2013-14

McKnight Foundation Community Values

The McKnight Foundation and the administering partners for the McKnight Artist Fellowships are committed to creating and supporting an artistic community in which all individuals are treated with respect and dignity. The community of the McKnight Artist Fellowships includes people who engage with the fellowships program whether as applicants, fellows, panelists, contractors, collaborators, fellowships administrators, and staff of the McKnight Foundation and partnering organizations. As a community, we commit to creating and maintaining relationships that are free from harm, prejudice, and harassment. Community members agree to communicate directly and transparently regarding issues of conduct that could negatively impact the well-being of participating members and organizations. In the case of an accusation, legal action, or conviction, the McKnight Foundation and its fellowship program partners may gather and assess relevant information. If deemed necessary, the McKnight Foundation and its fellowship program partners may take administrative action up to and including the recommendation of participation in reconciliation or restorative justice processes; disqualification of an application; the termination of a contract; and the recall and/or termination of a fellowship. This community will be what we make it and our aim is to collectively create an experience in which all artists and members of the McKnight Artist Fellowships community thrive.

The Application

Each application will contain the following pieces:

-Application Form
(including contact details, eligibility, and demographic information)

-Playwriting Resume
Please note clearly which productions listed on your resume (if any) meet the criteria for being "fully produced by a professional theater." Professional productions are defined as productions for which the author and primary artists (actors, directors, and creative collaborators) were reasonably compensated and that received at least three public performances each. Ten-minute or one-act plays and university, college, secondary school, amateur, and Equity showcase/waiver productions are not considered full professional productions. Productions that open after the application due date of December 2, 2021 do not count. (Note for 2020, 2021, and 2022: any programmed/announced professional productions cancelled due to COVID-19 can be counted as long as they would have met the criteria above. Please be sure to mark cancellations or postponements clearly on your resume).

-Full-length play script
Submit a play that is representative of your work. 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 to discuss. Co-written work will not be accepted, and musicals may be submitted by the book writer only.

-2-3 page Project Proposal
This proposal should explain the project you intend to create if you receive the commission. The evaluators are looking for a project that is relevant, compelling, original, and that could reasonably have a first draft finished within the year. Please also detail why you would like to develop  this piece with the Playwrights’ Center and your interest in engaging with the community here.

-One letter of recommendation
Please request one letter of recommendation from an agent or theater professional. Letters must be received by the application deadline: December 2, 2021. You will be sending a request through the application portal below.

Questions may be addressed to Artistic Programs Manager Julia Brown at

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.

An information session about the application and program will be held on Wednesday, November 3, 2021 at 1:00 p.m. CST on Zoom at this link. A recording of last year's information session is available below.

Applications for the 2021-22 McKnight National Residency and Commission are due Thursday, December 2, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. CST.

Click here to access the application in slideroom »

December 2, 2021
McKnight National Residency and Commission, Core Writer