PlayLab Class of 2020 Application

What is PlayLab?

A playwrights group that aids and encourages artists in growing their biggest, wildest ideas into imaginative and daring new plays. Through monthly meetings, workshop-events, and an artistic retreat, each writer is supported in developing their ambitious initial concept into a new script. At the end of the year, each playwright will have the opportunity to present their script as part of Pipeline’s Week of Extraordinary Risk.

What plays are we looking for?

In line with our vision (below!), we want you to send us your most impossible idea for a play that you are dying to write. We are looking for plays that bend the rules, and playwrights who crave a space in which they can dive into new, uncharted territory. We are interested in fostering projects in their earliest stages of conception – the closer you are to first putting pen to paper, the better!

Our vision: we believe that an unbridled imagination is a force of magic with the power to provoke a more courageous and compassionate world.

Who should apply?

PlayLab playwrights should be excited to work within a collaborative group atmosphere, and enjoy providing and receiving constructive feedback. We pay special attention to building a dynamic cohort and encourage playwrights of all races, ethnicities, genders, abilities, physical presentation, and educational and professional backgrounds to apply.

What does a year with PlayLab look like?

The group will spend a year meeting on a monthly basis, sharing pages, and receiving constructive feedback from their fellow writers and the artistic staff of Pipeline. At three points in the year, the group will participate in a Springboard workshop – a one day event tailored to the writer’s specific needs where they will collaborate with members of the Pipeline community (which, depending on the needs of the playwright, may include actors, directors, designers, dramaturgs, etc.) to deepen their exploration of the play. In the spring, the group will go on retreat with the Pipeline ensemble to read their first drafts out loud, get away from the city for some dedicated writing time, and probably play Capture the Flag (be sure to stretch first…there have been injuries). At the end of the year, each playwright will present their play as part of Pipeline’s Week of Extraordinary Risk.

Throughout the season, Pipeline’s artistic team will work closely with each writer to determine ideal goals and writing deadlines to help maintain steady progress leading towards their reading.

Though the primary aim of the PlayLab is to support playwrights in turning their biggest, wildest ideas into finished first drafts, our secondary aim is to expand each playwright’s creative network, and in doing so also build Pipeline’s community. Through Week of Extraordinary Risk, Springboards, and the retreat, we introduce our PlayLab playwrights to our large and vibrant artistic network, while also inviting each playwright to bring in their own contacts to work with us. In this way, PlayLab playwrights can expect to walk away from the program with an exciting new roster of artists to work with for years to come.

When does everything take place?

  • Monthly Meetings (August 4, August 25, September 8, October 6, November 3, December 8, January 12, February 9, March 8, April 5, May 3, June 7)* – All PlayLab playwrights and the Pipeline artistic team will be in attendance.
  • Springboards (3 throughout the season, Fall/Winter/Spring) – “In-progress” workshops throughout our year together. PlayLabbers are given dedicated time, space, and collaborators (including members of our ensemble and community) throughout the season to explore specific questions related to their play development and tailored to the needs of the writer and the material.
  • Annual Retreat (May 15-17, 2020*) – Each playwright will attend the Pipeline annual retreat, during which each developed full-length play will be given its first cold reading.
  • Week of Extraordinary Risk (June 2020): Each playwright will write a full-length play to be presented as part of Pipeline’s Week of Extraordinary Risk in June.
  • PlayLab playwrights are also expected to attend Pipeline events throughout our eleventh season, including the 2020 Gala and any other programming, to speak to their experience to the greater Pipeline community.

*Dates subject to change.

I’m read to apply!

We are now accepting PlayLab submissions! To submit, please complete part 1 and part 2 of the application process by March 17, 2019, 11:59PM.

Part 1

Please email the following to playlab2020@pipelinetheatre.org with the subject line: [LAST NAME] 2020 PlayLab Submission. Please combine all materials into a single PDF document and be sure to name your file in the following format [LASTNAME_Playlab2020].

  • Your Resume
  • Your Bio
  • Information about your proposed play (we’ll take anything from an outline, to a paragraph description, to a sample of 10 pages or fewer)
  • A full-length theatrical writing sample (We wanna get to know you!)

Part 2

Upon submission of your application materials to playlab2020@pipelinetheatre.org, you will be sent a google form. The form must be completed for your application to be final. The form will ask you to provide the following:

  • Your first and last name
  • A working title of your proposed play or project.
    A short proposal of your play/project, in its current stage of conception (400 words or less)
  • Your responses to the following questions (250 words or less each):
    – How does the idea you’re proposing align with the Pipeline mission and vision?
    – What are the big questions you have about your play at this point? What about this play is challenging to you as a writer?
    – Why do you want to write this play now?
    – Why are you excited to be a part of the PlayLab and Pipeline’s community?
    – Why are you interested in developing this play in a group setting? How will you contribute to the group?
  • Major conflicts July 2019 – June 2020
  • Whether you are currently pursuing an MFA and/or in any other writers groups
  • How you heard about PlayLab

Some finalists can expect to be contacted April for follow-up interviews, which can be conducted in person or via phone or Skype.

FAQ:

At what stage of my career should I apply for this program?
We are excited to work with artists at all stages of their careers; however, we have found that this program best serves individuals who are actively interested in finding a new creative home and community. PlayLab provides lots of opportunities to develop relationships with new collaborators and become a part of the Pipeline family, so we encourage you to apply if you’re interested in putting down some roots with us!

If I’m in an MFA program or a writer’s group, is that a problem?
No! We ask that question because it helps us get a picture of how much engagement you have or have had with a writing cohort of this type. And it’s not a problem if you’ve never been a part of this type of group before either.

Can I apply if I don’t live in New York City?
As long as you are able to attend the scheduled events in person, you are encouraged to apply!

Can I submit a play that I am already working on?
For PlayLab, we are interested in the first sparks of ideas. Maybe you have a few pages, or an outline, or just a super exciting concept, and we are thrilled to help develop those first steps into a play with you. For this particular program, we are not looking for plays that already have first drafts. And please refrain from submitting plays that have already had a first production. (We do our research!)

What about musicals?
Musicals are welcome! We’ve developed musicals and plays with music in the PlayLab before, and would be excited to do so again.

Can I apply as a writing team?
Writing teams are welcome! We’ve had writing teams in the PlayLab before, and would be excited to do so again. Please be sure to submit as a team, and indicate that you are a team clearly in your application.

If I don’t have a theatrical writing sample, can I submit something else?
We are looking to learn more about your voice as a writer to get a sense of how you might build your proposed play. The best way for us to see that is through a play that you’ve written before, so that is our preference. However, if you feel like you have another piece of writing that can help us get a sense of how you would approach this process, then please send it along.

I’m having trouble merging files into a single PDF – what should I do?
First of all, thank you for doing this! It makes our reading process significantly easier and we appreciate you taking the time to aid in those efforts. Many versions of Adobe Acrobat are able to merge various files into a single PDF.It is also possible to merge PDFs using Preview on an Apple computer. Simply view the thumbnails of both PDFs and drag and drop them from one PDF into the other. If you don’t have Adobe Acrobat or Preview, try a free website like PDFMerge or CombinePDF. If you try all these options and have no luck, contact philip@pipelinetheatre.org!

Got more questions about our mission and vision, and if your work aligns with ours? We suggest you first familiarize yourself with our production history (specifically work produced from 2012 onward) as well as the work being developed in this year’s PlayLab. Still have questions? Contact our Literary and Community Manager, Philip Santos Schaffer.

What past PlayLabbers Say:

“PlayLab pushed me beyond my comfort zone in the company of brilliant and brave artists, many of whom I continue to work with. Being a part of Pipeline is one of the best decision I’ve made. I can’t recommend it highly enough.”Jacob Marx Rice, Class of 2016

“The capable artistic staff of the Pipeline PlayLab are truly passionate about new plays and the people who write them. Their feedback and support – along with the inspiring work of my amazing PlayLab colleagues – allowed my work to grow in ways I never could have anticipated. I’ll carry this experience with me forever.”Jessica Fleitman, Class of 2014

“Pipeline’s PlayLab is a terrific incubator for new work. They provided me and my fellow playwrights with an environment where I felt safe to share raw pages, but also gave me the challenges and support I needed to craft a brand new play. Pipeline has an ear for unique voices, and brought together such an exciting group of emerging playwrights that I was always thrilled to show up to meetings and hear what was going to be read. I wish I could write everything this way.”Scott McCarrey, Class of 2014

“Pipeline’s Playlab has provided me with the supportive, joyful, hilarious, brilliant space I need in order to create. I gain access to great minds every time I walk into our meetings. And there is laughter. And there is dedication. We are WORKING. There are pages printed if I need them and conversations over cups of coffee upon request. There are treats. TREATS! AND I have a big ol’ bucket full of new, marvelous, play-writing friends. To freak out with. And celebrate with. And get right down to the nitty-gritty with. My play has come miles; Has travelled distances it never could had I been stuck alone in my apartment hashing it out on my own. This Playlab is a treasure!” Salty Brine, Class of 2015

“Pipeline’s Playlab is an island in the sea of melancholy that is being a New York playwright. No, I’m kidding… But seriously, Pipeline has taken care of me, listened to me, and inspired me in ways that I did not dare expect. I’ve found true friends and artistic collaborators and every meeting we had was not quite long enough. It’s incredibly exciting to get in on the ground floor of this burgeoning theater company – I can’t wait to see what they do next almost as much as I can’t wait to meet the talented members of the next Playlab.”Claire Kiechel, Class of 2015

“You guys, Pipeline Theatre Company is the real deal. They helped me write a play that I NEVER thought would see the light of day and not only provided me an outlet for espouse my fierce opinions about ducks and imperialism, but also challenged me to take those ideas further than I ever thought possible. If you have a play idea tucked into a dark drawer because you think it’s too weird or too complicated or too filled with fierce opinions about ducks and imperialism, take my advice and apply to PlayLab immediately. I PROMISE you, you won’t regret it.”A.J. Ditty, Class of 2017