Reimagining the Relationship Between Playwrights and Institutions

Announcing an Open Call for the Third Round of the National Playwright Residency Program

What happens when playwrights are positioned not at the periphery of producing organizations, but at the center? Do you want to be part of finding out?

This is one of the questions at the heart of the National Playwright Residency Program (NPRP), which the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, in collaboration with our team here at HowlRound Theatre Commons, established in 2013. Since then, the program has provided three-year residency terms at theatres around the US to two groups of playwrights, providing them salary, benefits, and a flexible research and development fund. Learn more about current and past participants.

A group of people posing for a photograph

Attendees at the National Playwright Residency Program convening in March 2018. Photo by Anya Prudente.

More than a standard residency, this initiative was conceived as an intervention into the traditional relationships between artists and institutions, as a way of reimagining what institutions might look like when an artist’s voice is at their cores. NPRP has four primary goals:

  • Advance the state of playwrights in the American theater by providing them with space, time, and resources, and greater access to the institutions in which they work;
  • Influence the working environment of theaters by embedding playwrights in them;
  • Generate public value through the interaction of playwrights with local artistic and civic communities;
  • Document and disseminate the findings to help benefit the field.

To learn more about how the program came about and what it has accomplished, check out this program assessment by Helicon Collaborative, published in 2018. They found that "the program has helped expand diversity in the plays produced on American stages, and offered fresh ways to think about the playwright-theatre relationship and the role of playwrights in a theatre’s relationship with its community."

four people sitting and talking

Attendees at the National Playwright Residency Program convening in March 2018. Photo by Anya Prudente.

We are thrilled to now be offering a third round of the program, with residencies expected to begin in the summer of 2020. Residencies will be selected through an open application process. Theatres and playwrights must apply jointly by submitting statements of intent from the playwright and artistic director; a scope of work; and other specified materials to demonstrate eligibility, potential to achieve the goals of the program, and desire to participate in a growing network to advance artist-centered practices in the theatre field. 

five people sitting

Attendees at the National Playwright Residency Program convening in March 2018. Photo by Anya Prudente.

Interested in being a part of this experiment? Apply today!

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