Updated 18 January 2024: added Aurin Squire’s Six Perfections Blog to Online Playwright Submission Opportunities
Updated 25 December 2023: added The Playwright’s Spotlight Podcast and The Subtext Podcast to Miscellaneous Playwriting Resources
One of my favorite activities at Theatre Unleashed is hosting our quarterly writing retreat. Once every three months or so, I rent a house up in the mountains about an hour and a half north of Los Angeles, and I take a group of writers and creatives (usually 6-8 total) up there for a long weekend of writing and bonding.
It used to be that I’d only invite playwrights, librettists, and other theatre-specific creatives with the idea that everyone attending would be working on something that could potentially end up on stage with the company. However, in recent times, I’ve begun inviting novelists, screenwriters, and composers as well.
Our retreats are very free-form; each artist is able to work at their own pace without a set schedule or agenda. We do group meals and bring board games, and by the time we head back to the city on Sunday, not only have we each made significant progress on our individual projects, but we’ve created new friendships or strengthened existing bonds.
These retreats are an offshoot of the Theatre Unleashed Writers’ Den, which used to meet monthly at a tea shop in North Hollywood. We’d get together and swap pages, offer feedback, and then spend time alone together focusing on our individual projects. Sometimes we’d hold symposiums or group discussions about the craft of writing itself, or even the Business of Playwriting.
It was one such conversation about The Business that prompted me to assemble a list of Playwriting Resources. I originally created this list in 2017, and revised it in 2018. After some serious digging through old database files, I’ve managed to recover the list and I’m thrilled to repost it with updates!
Categories of Playwriting Resources
Nicole Ohara as Valerie Van Leeuwen in The Watchers In the Walls: A Rick Diamond Mystery, directed by Matt Ritchey as part of Dime Store Detective Stories. Presented by Theatre Unleashed at studio/stage as part of the 2023 Hollywood Fringe Festival. Photo by Matt Kamimura
The Dramatists Guild is the professional association of playwrights, composers, lyricists & librettists. The Guild is for established writers, but offers a plethora of resources and opportunities to members. https://www.dramatistsguild.com/
The National New Play Network is the country’s alliance of nonprofit theaters that champions the development, production and continued life of new plays. They strive to pioneer, implement, and disseminate ideas and programs that revolutionize the way theaters collaborate to support new plays and playwrights. http://nnpn.org/
The Alliance of Los Angeles Playwrights (ALAP) is a service and support organization dedicated to protecting the rights and addressing the professional needs of the Los Angeles playwriting community through providing playwriting resources. Founded in 1992, ALAP has a large and diverse membership of area playwrights ranging from students and beginning writers to established professionals. http://www.laplaywrights.org/
The Los Angeles Female Playwrights Initiative is an LA-based movement working to ensure that women playwrights are fairly represented on local stages, and beyond. http://lafpi.com/
The Playwrights’ Center champions playwrights and plays to build upon a living theater that demands new and innovative works. Theater begins here. https://pwcenter.org/
Online Playwriting Submission Opportunities
Soda Persi and Michael J Lutheran performing “Connection Lost,” as part of (It’s Been Seventy-Six Years and We’re Still) Waiting for Lefty by Gregory Crafts (featuring poetry by Wade F. Wilson). Directed by Richard Piatt for the 2021 Hollywood Fringe Festival, presented by Theatre Unleashed at studio/stage. Photo by Matt Kamimura
Play Submissions Helper is a subscription-based service featuring a list of play submission opportunities from around the world. Updated monthly. Subscriptions are $20 per year. http://playsubmissionshelper.com/
On the New Play Exchange, create profiles for your plays in this online catalog used by artistic directors, producers, and literary managers searching for new material. http://newplayexchange.org/
NYCPlaywrights provides playwright submission opportunities; discounts; free shows and other theatre items for New York City and the world. https://nycp.blogspot.com/
Kat’s Play Submission Central is a Facebook group featuring Play & Musical submission opportunities galore! All in one handy location! Updated every two weeks. https://www.facebook.com/groups/172232179854587/
The American Association of Community Theatre (AACT) is the national community theatre organization, whose chief goal is to enable community theaters across the country to become the cornerstones of the creative life of their communities—to provide quality entertainment, intellectual stimulation, challenge and opportunity, and to be worthy contributors to an improved quality of life for the communities which they serve. https://www.aact.org/
Six Perfections is a blog that features a monthly post titled “Get What You Want,” which lists submission, residency, and grant opportunities for playwrights and librettists. http://sixperfections.blogspot.com/
Festivals and Self-Producing Opportunities
Heather Rose in Six Word Story by Gregory Crafts, presented as part of 25 Plays Per Hour at studio/stage by Theatre Unleashed as part of the 2022 Hollywood Fringe Festival, directed by Corey Lynn Howe and Travis J Dixon. Photo by Matt Kamimura
As I have been known to say, DIY can be the best way to get your work up on stage. Here are a few such opportunities!
The Biggest Little Play Festival in The World! Short+Sweet is a global festival brand, presenting highly successful Theatre, Dance, Cabaret, and Song Festivals around the world. We provide audiences with exciting and contemporary works that challenge and entertain. Short+Sweet’s mission is to build theatre-going audiences around the world. Short+Sweet made landfall in America in 2016, launching Short+Sweet Hollywood. https://www.shortandsweet.org/
The Samuel French Off Off Broadway Short Play Festival started in 1975 and is Manhattan’s oldest, continuous short play festival. Pro tip – this is how Samuel French scouts new talent. Just ask Michael Shapiro. https://www.oobfestival.com/
The World Fringe Alliance combines the resources of some of the world’s largest festivals to create a conduit for communication, visibility opportunities and cross-festival participation. The members meet annually to reflect on the status of the modern festival and take actions to better the enjoyment of participants and patrons on a global scale. Members include the Edinburgh International Festival, Hollywood Fringe Festival and FringeNYC – The New York International Fringe Festival. http://www.worldfringealliance.com/
CAFF’s member festivals have worked together for more than thirty years to pioneer a made-in-Canada model unique in the Fringe world. Our festivals are designed to put artists and audiences in direct contact, fostering experimentation and discovery on both sides of the fourth wall… A movement for artistic innovation through audience-driven “curation.” Members include the San Diego International Fringe Festival and the San Francisco Fringe Festival. Because Canada. http://fringefestivals.com/
Outfitting youth writers and creators with the tools they need for navigating the world of playwriting and theatrical production. The Young Playwrights Guide features a map with playwriting contests, festivals, and programs for young playwrights across the world.
Miscellaneous Playwriting Resources
Travis J Dixon as M-Pulse, The Eminence of Electromagnetism in Tattered Capes by Gregory Crafts, Directed by Corey Lynn Howe, presented at studio/stage by Theatre Unleashed for the 2019 Hollywood Fringe Festival. Photo by Matt Kamimura.
Read My Play is the simple, anonymous and powerful way to collect useful feedback from fellow playwrights on your scripts-in-progress. https://www.ReadMyPlay.com
Playwright Donna Hoke coordinates Trade-A-Play Tuesday, where playwrights can exchange ten-minute plays for same-day feedback! Full details at https://blog.donnahoke.com/trade-a-play-tuesday/
The Official Playwrights of Facebook has over ten thousand members. The purpose behind this group is that, traditionally, being a playwright is difficult work, but succeeding as one is tough as shit. The support, advice, and camaraderie of fellow playwrights is paramount. So, here it is, an attempt to reach across the whole of the international Facebook community to unite playwrights so that we can improve our chances to become vastly wealthy, buy giant mansions, bathe in water imported from the glaciers of Norway, Eugene O’Neill, Henrik Ibsen, and Euripedes, and generally not go crazy. We’ll probably be drinking brandy and wearing monocles, too. Top hats in the bathtub are optional, but highly recommended. https://www.facebook.com/groups/2351514659/
Because Reddit. A subreddit for writing for the stage — from 10 minutes plays to full-length productions.
- Post questions about playwriting (format, submissions, etc)
- Converse with other playwrights (share ideas, successes, etc)
- Submit your own work for feedback (pdf is best, via google docs)
- Add articles or websites that other playwrights may find helpful
A commons by and for people who make performance. HowlRound is a condition—one that results in a howling noise when sound from a loudspeaker is fed back into a microphone. It’s an amplified feedback loop. This idea of a feedback loop represents the condition upon which HowlRound was born five years ago—as a place for artists to provide feedback, learning, expertise, frustration, and vision—in an effort to enliven the fields of theatre and performance to the aspiring and established artist alike. http://howlround.com/
World Theatre Map (was New Play Map)
The World Theatre Map is a user-generated directory and real-time map of the global theatre community. It’s a digital commons, free and open to all. The World Theatre Map aims to make the field visible to itself by providing a collectively-owned, people-powered infrastructure to connect isolated theatre-makers to vital information resources and knowledge. http://worldtheatremap.org/
A very thoughtful theatre blog. Thinking outside the Black Box. Sadly, this excellent blog hasn’t been updated since 2018. However, I’m leaving the link here for archival purposes. There are some excellent and thoughtful entries posted there worth your time. http://www.2amtheatre.com/
Serial Killers at Sacred Fools Theatre Company is regular hit factory. Shows that were developed through SK include Absolutely Filthy (Winner – Top of the Hollywood Fringe 2013), The Poe Show, The King of Kong, and more. Serial Killers is currently on hiatus, but will hopefully be back soon! Btw, you can check out a scene I wrote for Serial Killers right here. This storyline would later go on to become my play, Tattered Capes, which won the Fringe Award for Dance and Physical Theatre in 2019.
Write a Play a Month is a Facebook Accountability Group for playwrights who want some help and motivation to stick to the grindstone. https://www.facebook.com/groups/518515198241396/
A select group of writers perform original pieces, based on the same one-word topic, to a sold-out theater. Produced by John Pollono & Sara Fenton. https://www.roguemachinetheatre.org/rant-rave
2 opposing writers. 2 opposing ideas. 7 minutes apiece. Audience picks a winner. Writers compete for cash going to a charity of their choosing. https://www.facebook.com/WRITECLUBLosAngeles/
Playwright’s Spotlight features interviews with emerging as well as established playwrights in which we discuss common playwriting struggles, avoiding and conquering obstacles and celebrating victories. https://www.youtube.com/@playwrights_spotlight
Side note, you can check out my episode of the Playwright’s Spotlight podcast here:
From AMERICAN THEATRE magazine, The Subtext is a podcast where playwrights talk to playwrights about the things usually left unsaid. In a conversation that dives into life’s muck, we learn what irks, agitates, motivates, inspires and—ultimately—what makes writers tick. https://www.americantheatre.org/category/audio/the-subtext/
So that’s my list of 28 playwriting resources for playwrights and theatricians! What other playwriting compilations would you like to see? How about a list of play and musical theatre publishers and how to submit your scripts to them?