Third Annual Undergraduate Playwrights’ Workshop

The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts is offering the Third Annual Undergraduate Playwrights’ Workshop at the Kennedy Center, May 28-June 3, 2018.

Up to five current undergraduate playwrights will be selected and brought to the Kennedy Center for six days to develop one of their full-length plays with a director/dramaturg team, and an acting company made up of leading actors from the Washington, D.C. community. This will be followed by a full-scholarship to participate in the Kennedy Center Playwriting Intensive, led by Gary Garrison.

The workshop process will be completely driven by the particular needs of the playwright and her/his play. There is ample writing time, meetings with the director/dramaturg team, and daily four-hour rehearsal blocks with actors. If the team chooses to present a concert reading at the end of the workshop process, the feedback session will led by the play’s dramaturg and will be wholly based on the playwright’s objectives for the development process.

The creative teams will be supplemented, as needed, with additional artists that the playwright feels are necessary to the exploration of the work [for example: a sound designer, a choreographer, a federal prosecutor, a composer, a movement consultant, a puppetry consultant, etc.]

All undergraduate students are eligible for nomination, including those receiving their degrees in the Spring of 2018.

This is an invitation to nominate outstanding undergraduate playwrights from your school. The nomination need only be the name and email address of the playwright, no letters of recommendation are required or expected, at this stage. The selection process will proceed on the assumption that if you’ve nominated the student, you feel s/he’s ready for the experience. Representatives from the reading panel may reach out to you for more information and guidance as final invitations are being considered. Please communicate your nominees to me at your convenience (via and ask your nominees to send the following:

1-      A letter that introduces the playwright, the playwright’s work, and a brief discussion of one or more works-in-progress that s/he is interested in developing while in residence at the Kennedy Center in late Spring.

2-      A selection of work that the playwright feels best represents their voice (ten-minute plays, one-acts, monologues, spoken-word poetry)

[In Word: with a full title page as page 1 and a blinded title page [title only] as page 2.


[In PDF: the complete play with a blinded title page and a full title page sent as a separate document]

3-      A complete or partial draft of full-length work, or a detailed “treatment” and discussion of a proposed full-length work-in-process.

[In Word: with a full title page as page 1 and a blinded title page [title only] as page 2.


[In PDF: the complete play with a blinded title page and a full title page sent as a separate document]


via PDF or word document to: by December 17, 2017. All of the work will be read “blind”- the reading panel will not know the student’s name or school affiliation.

In late-January 2018, the selection panel will contact a group of finalists to discuss the workshop further. These playwrights will be invited to send updated information and a current draft or “treatment” of a proposed work-in-progress for the Kennedy Center residency.

The reading and selection panel will be made up of literary managers, dramaturgs, directors, and actors with an affinity for the development of new work.

The selected playwrights will be provided with round-trip transportation, lodging in a George Washington University residence hall, per diem of $50, and a daily lunch voucher for the period of the residency. The playwrights and teams will be gathered on Monday May 28 and head home late afternoon on Sunday, June 3, 2018.

Every effort will be made to notify the invited playwrights by April 1, 2018.

Some thoughts from the inaugural Workshop in June 2016:

“Growing up and leaving home means finding many new homes along the way, and I can say that I have found one at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. I am still blown away by the experience; it was totally surreal in the most wonderful way. Thank you for making my experience not only possible, but brilliant and inspiring.” Jamie Berry, University of Missouri

“To the Someone Who Isn’t Me Team: It’s taken me a few days to process my thoughts. Here goes: your support and belief in this process has been absolutely invaluable. As a first foray into playwriting, your insightful feedback and generous and specific attention to the inner workings of the script have unlocked many possibilities for where the story may go- and I owe that to each and every one of you. To have people as talented and intelligent as all of you was truly a gift.” Michael Keita Hisamoto, Boston University

“It has taken me a few days to gather my thoughts and write this. Over the past week, I have been at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts at the first Undergraduate Playwrights’ Workshop… During the week, I workshopped my full-length play Snapdragon with the most amazing team: Director Gus Heagerty, Dramaturg Ally Currin, Stage Manager Joey Blakely and actors Audrey Bertaux, Gabriela Fernandez-Coffey, Laura C. Harris, Alyssa Wilmoth-Keegan, Thomas Keegan and Kimberly Schraf. Your talent, honesty and support served as inspiration for me to write like I never had before and take this script to a new level I am so proud of. This immersive experience has changed the way I look at the future of theatre and I will take all the lessons (and many pages of notes I took) with me as a compass for becoming a playwright who isn’t afraid to collaborate and take risks in order to create impactful theatre.” Nicholas De Los Santos, Loyola Marymount University