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The Emerging Writers Group is not currently accepting applications.

If you have specific questions, please email [email protected] after reading the below sections.  Please pay close attention to the Frequently Asked Questions section below. No phone calls please.

For info on the Emerging Writers Group Program, click here.

Playwrights participating in the Emerging Writers Group will:

  • Receive stipend of $7,500

  • Participate in a biweekly writers group led by The Public’s New Work Department

  • Receive at least one reading at The Public in the Emerging Writers Group Spotlight Series Reading Series

  • Participate in master classes led by established playwrights

  • Observe rehearsals for productions at The Public

  • Receive an additional stipend for theater tickets to productions at other theaters

  • Receive complimentary tickets to Public Theater shows, invited dress rehearsals and other special events

  • Receive artistic support and professional development guidance from the literary department and artistic staff

Requirements for Eligibility

  • Cannot have professional representation for playwriting including, but not limited to, agent, manager or lawyer.
  • Cannot be a full-time student at any point during the duration of the program.
  • Cannot be enrolled in any academic playwriting course during the duration of the program.
  • Must not have had productions in New York other than those using the showcase code or in an off-off Broadway theater with 99 or fewer seats. (If your New York show used a higher contract tier than the showcase code, you are not eligible to apply. If your New York show received a festival production in a theater with more than 99 seats and did not use an Equity contract, you are eligible to apply.)
  • Must live within 90 minutes to The Public Theater via car or rail.
  • Must be able to attend evening meetings at The Public Theater every other week in 2020 and 2021 as well as other events throughout the year, such as master classes, retreats, observerships and other special events at The Public.
  • Regular attendance is mandatory and therefore applicants should view the program as a two-year-long commitment.
  • Must be available for an in-person interview in early March 2020.

If you are unavailable for an in-person interview or have a limited conflict in regards to attending biweekly meetings, please make note of such conflicts on the Application Form. We will try to accommodate such situations on a case-by-case basis.

For further clarification of Requirements for Eligibility, please see the Frequently Asked Questions section below.

Application and Deadline

Deadline is November 29, 2019. Materials must be postmarked November 29 or received at the theater or emailed by Midnight EST of November 29.

Criteria and Selection Process

The Public Theater will select the strongest candidates based on the overall strength of the applicant’s play submission, artistic statement, and interview.

The Public will look for candidates from diverse backgrounds who show tremendous artistic promise and talent, as well as responsible and dedicated individuals who are serious about a career in the theater. 

The selection committee will be comprised of Oskar Eustis, Jesse Cameron Alick, Jack Phillips Moore.

Time Table

Application Deadline: midnight EST November 29, 2019
Finalist interviews: Early March 2020
Notification: Mid-Late March 2020
Program start date: April 2020
Program end date: End of March 2022

All applicants will be notified of their status by email by the end of March 2020. Applicants without email addresses will be notified by mail. Please do not call or email to ask your status. Please rest assured that if we would like to interview you, we will contact you, so you need not call or email to inquire.

Frequently Asked Questions

If an agent or agent-in-training represents my writing but I have not yet officially signed with them, am I eligible to apply?
No. Since we are most eager to find playwrights who have yet to reach this step in their career, you are not eligible to apply.

If I have an agent/lawyer/manager for work other than my playwriting (ex. acting, translation work), may I apply?
Yes, you may, but kindly note this relationship on the application form.

If an agent/lawyer/manager has represented my playwriting on one project but does not represent my whole body of work or plan to represent anything I write going forward, may I apply?
Yes, you may, but kindly note this relationship on the application form.

If I am working with a lawyer on legal issues regarding my artistic work, may I apply?
Absolutely. We define professional representation as having an agent/manager/lawyer who will submit and promote your work as well as negotiate contracts on your behalf. If you are working with a lawyer in any other capacity, you are eligible to apply.

If I am in a graduate playwriting program at present but am willing to suspend or end my student status if accepted to the Emerging Writers Group, may I apply?
Yes, you may, but kindly note this status on the application form.

If I am in the third year of a graduate playwriting program of which the third year does not involve attending any classes, may I apply?
No, we cannot accept writers who are currently affiliated with a graduate playwriting program.

My university/college considers me a “part-time” student. How do I know if I’m eligible to apply?
You are not eligible to apply if you will be taking any creative writing classes (i.e. playwriting, screenwriting, general fiction) within a college or a university during the duration of the program. Otherwise, you may be enrolled in up to 1 class in another subject (i.e. accounting).

If I am applying to an MFA playwriting program with a start date in 2020, may I apply?
Yes, and please fill out the application form accordingly.

If I have graduated from an MFA playwriting program, am I eligible to apply?
Yes, you are eligible, so long as you are not currently enrolled in any graduate playwriting program.

What kind of conflicts in 2020, 2021, and 2022 would make me ineligible?
We accept that every writer will wind up missing one or two meetings, but if you know now that you will be away for more than three weeks in total in 2020 and 2021, you should not apply. Applicants should view the program as a two-year-long commitment and we will only accept applicants who can take full advantage of the program.

When will the biweekly meetings be held?
We will work with the writers selected to find a time that works for every member of the group, so you need not worry about this question at the application stage.

If I am selected for the group and then my eligibility status changes, would I be automatically suspended from the program?
No, we will handle this situation on a case-by-case basis. Please do not let such a concern keep you from applying.

What kind of resume should I submit?
Your resume should list the plays you have written and any readings, workshops and productions they have received. Your resume should also include any other relevant theater experience. We would be glad to see a resume detailing your education or other work experience, though this is not required. Please feel free to submit multiple resumes if you think that this would be helpful as we consider your application. As long as you have a resume that details your playwriting experience, you need not tailor a resume to this application process alone.

I have revised my play so much since I submitted it last year that it can hardly be considered the same play; may I submit it?
Unfortunately, you cannot. We require that you submit a new play.

Will you check to see if each applicant is applying with a new play?
Yes, we will.

If I change the title of the play I submitted last year, will you even know that it’s the same play?
Yes, once we read your submission we will review our notes from when we considered your work last, and then we will know if you have submitted the same play with a new title.

My play is not 60 pages long but I think that if you read it, you will surely want to admit me to the program. May I apply?
Unfortunately, you may not. We feel strongly about admitting writers who have written at least one full-length piece.

If I can’t decide between two plays or have an additional writing sample that I am very proud of, may I include more than one play with my application?
No, we only read one play per applicant, so please only submit one writing sample.

Is there an age limit?
No, there is no age limit and we would be glad to admit a talented writer of any age into the program.

Will you let me know that you received my emailed application?
Yes, you should receive an auto-response as soon as your application is received. If you do not, please try again. If this fails, please email [email protected].

Will you let me know that materials sent by mail have arrived safely at your office?
We will not routinely notify applicants when we receive their materials by mail, but if you would like confirmation, please enclose a self-addressed, stamped postcard or note-card with a box for us to check upon safe receipt. We would be glad to mail this back to you. Please be aware that it may take us until April 2020 to do so as we anticipate a high volume of submissions. If you do not send such a card with your application but wish to do so afterwards, please feel free to send us such a form at any time.

If I don’t hear from you by April 2020, may I follow-up with you about my application status?
Yes, please email [email protected].

If I have had some contact with a Public Theater staff member, would it be better to contact them directly with my question rather than write to [email protected]?
No, please write to [email protected], but feel free to mention any contact with a Public Theater staff member in your email.

How long will I have to wait for a response to an email I send to [email protected]?
We will respond to every email within 2-3 days of receipt.