PlayLab Class of 2021 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 season’s close, each playwright will have the opportunity to present their script as part of Pipeline’s end-of-year reading series.

What plays are we looking for?

In line with our vision, 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! We are excited to announce that in the upcoming year, we will be focusing our resources on only three plays! This will allow us to work even more closely with the PlayLab playwrights, and find new ways to provide support in bringing impossible ideas to life.

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. At the start of the year, the group will go on retreat with Pipeline to get to know each other and start writing their projects. At the season’s close, each playwright will have the opportunity to present their script as part of Pipeline’s end-of-year reading series.

Throughout the season, Pipeline’s artistic team will work 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 plays, our secondary aim is to expand each playwright’s creative network, and in doing so also build Pipeline’s community. Through Pipeline’s end-of-year reading seriesSpringboards, and 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?

PlayLab playwrights commit to participate in the following programs:

  • Annual Retreat (Aug/Sep 2020*) – Each playwright will attend the Pipeline annual retreat, during which they can get to know their cohort and begin the initial phases of development of their projects.
  • Monthly Meetings (August 9, September 13, October 4, November 8, December 5, January 10, February 21, March 7, April 11, May 2, June 6)* – All PlayLab playwrights and the Pipeline PlayLab staff 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 artistic community) throughout the season to explore specific questions related to their play development and tailored to the needs of the writer and the material.
  • End-of-Year Reading Series (June 2021): Each playwright will write a full-length play to be presented as part of Pipeline’s end-of-year reading series in June.
  • PlayLab playwrights are also invited to attend Pipeline events throughout our twelfth season, including the 2021 Gala and any other programming, and may be asked to speak about their experience to the greater Pipeline community.

*Dates subject to change.

I’m ready to apply!

We are now accepting PlayLab submissions! To submit, please complete part 1 and part 2 of the application process by the deadline. Knowing that many artists are going through significant life adjustments this past week, we have extended this Monday’s deadline for PlayLab submissions to Friday, March 20th at 11:59pm.

Part 1

Please email the following to with the subject line: [LAST NAME] 2021 PlayLab Submission. Please combine all materials into a single PDF document and be sure to name your file in the following format [LASTNAME_Playlab2021].

  • 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, 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 2020 – June 2021
  • Whether you are currently pursuing an MFA and/or in any other writers groups
  • How you heard about PlayLab

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


At what stage of my career should I apply for this program?
We are excited to work with artists at all stages of their career; 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 working with playwrights in the beginning stages of conceptualization. Maybe you have a few pages, or an outline, or just a super exciting pitch, 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. If you don’t have Adobe Acrobat, try a free website like PDFMerge or CombinePDF. 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 try all these options and have no luck, contact our Literary Manager Philip Santos Schaffer

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 Manager Philip Santos Schaffer.

What past PlayLabbers Say:

“Here’s the thing about Pipeline PlayLab… There are absolutely no restrictions. In an industry that can be hyper-focused on the producibility of a play, a playwright’s imagination can easily become stunted. Pipeline asks playwrights to imagine without the constraints of the business. PlayLab’s only goal is to nurture the imagination and outrageousness of what seems impossible. The support I received during my time at PlayLab allowed me to write two of my most ambitious plays. I only dream big now and I have Pipeline’s PlayLab to thank for that.” – J. Julian Christopher, Bruise & Thorn (Class of 2017) & Bundle of Sticks (Class of 2018).

“Pipeline encourages you to dream big! The artistic team is very supportive in helping writers realize their vision. Nothing is too impossible or crazy or out there. Through the year long work sharing, I was amazed by the imagination of the other writers in Playlab and the heart they put into their work. I look forward to seeing new exciting plays that emerge from Playlab.” Divya Mangwani, Rise of the River, PlayLab Class of 2018

“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, Heart of Duckness, PlayLab Class of 2017

“If collecting participation in all the various and sundry playgroups in New York City is a crown, Pipeline’s PlayLab is absolutely one of the brightest, weirdest, warmest gems set into it. The community is joyous, supportive, professional, a glittery explosion of talent and inclusivity — but most of all it is one that simultaneously evolves to suit your work and pushes you to deepen that work without being prescriptive. Pipeline curates groups of writers with absurd and wonderfully-differing energies and pops them into a nurturing space together where they can explore their wildest ideas, the ones that everyone else say can’t be done. They nurture impossible things and make them feel possible.” – Matt Minnicino, wyrd, PlayLab Class of 2018