Learn more about this program!
We are pleased to announce that Samuel French will begin publishing an annual anthology of the winning plays from our National MFA Playwrights Festival! The inaugural publication includes our playwright winners from 2015:
Lydia Blaisdell, Paula Vesala, Chas LiBretto, Phillip Howze, Matthew Capodicasa, Sean David DeMers, David Jacobi, & Lin Tu.
Learn more and order your copy!
Each year, Theater Masters hosts a national 10-minute playwriting competition among the students at the top MFA Playwriting programs in the country. Participating schools include: Brown University, Cal Arts, Carnegie-Mellon University, Columbia University, Fordham/Primary Stages, New York University, Northwestern, University of California-Los Angeles, University of California-San Diego, University of Iowa, the University of Texas at Austin, and the Yale School of Drama.
Between 8-10 winning plays are selected from these submissions by a Distinguished Adjudicator along with Co-Artistic Directors Julia Hansen and Naomi McDougall Jones, and a reading panel made up of industry professionals. The winning playwrights are then flown, first to Aspen, Colorado in January for a workshop production, as well as a professional critique of their plays by visiting professional Theater Artists, alongside the winners of the Aspiring Playwrights Competition.
The MFA playwrights are then given three months to re-write their plays, based on the feedback they received in Aspen and what they learned about their play by seeing it in front of an audience. They are they flown to New York City in April for a professional Equity Showcase production of their plays.
During this New York leg, Theater Masters also provides the playwrights with "Wonder Week," during which we arrange meetings with the top agents, literary managers, and artistic directors in the industry, offer them professional development panels with working playwrights, and introduce them to the writers' guilds as well as major theaters in NYC. This is a unique and career-starting program for these young playwrights that has launched the careers of our many successful alumni.
There is a need for an organization to bridge the gap between the training playwrights receive in their MFA programs and the professional careers that lay ahead of them. The National MFA Playwrights Festival strives to provide this bridge.