Dear Friends of New Dramatists:
As an artistic home and laboratory for playwrights, New Dramatists is fundamentally a place for gathering – for playwrights and their collaborators in work rooms; for playwrights to write or be in conversation with each other and the theatre community nationwide; for the public who use our library and attend our readings in search of stories that engage, delight, challenge and comfort.
In the past week, it has become apparent that we cannot place a date on the reopening of our building and resume full operations until we have adequate testing and vaccines for COVID-19. It would be irresponsible to put our staff, our company of playwrights, their collaborators and theatre lovers in our extended community at unnecessary risk, and so we’ve made some critical decisions about the next three months and beyond:
New Dramatists is electing to extend our pause of facility operations and programs through June 30. Any and all scheduled projects, readings, and work sessions are cancelled or postponed and will be rescheduled when building operations resume. While operations may resume after June 30 (if it is determined safe to do so), we will remain closed to the public for July and August; there will be no programming, and the library will continue to be closed.
We have been extremely fortunate to keep our staff and company intact while continuing to engage and support the playwrights based on their expressed needs. With this extended pause, though, we have had to consider the immediate and long-term impact of this pause on admissions and the current resident company. In order to sustain our luminous, eclectic company of 51 playwrights and to fulfill our commitment and investment of seven years of support for their individual artistic endeavors and the collective interests of a company of playwrights, New Dramatists, in conjunction with the Writers Executive Committee, has put the following measures in place:
1. We are suspending admissions for a full season. We will not be opening an admissions window in June/July 2020. We will look forward to opening a submission window in the summer of 2021. Please check website for details.
2. The residencies of all 51 current resident playwrights will be extended for a full year to compensate for lost time and access to our resources during quarantine.
3. We are in the finalist stage of the 2019-2020 admissions process. To honor the efforts and time of the seven people comprising the 2019-2020 committee, the incoming group of between 5-7 playwrights they will select by consensus in an upcoming final meeting, will begin their residencies in the fall of 2021 and finish in June of 2028.
New Dramatists is committed to eliminating the feeling of scarcity within our company of playwrights. This means equal and full access to our simple but abundant resources of space, time, opportunities to develop plays, projects and methods of making, engaging in peer to peer dialogue, playwright governance and leadership, a dedicated board of directors, and an extended community of the most talented and generous artists in the world. While exploring alternative platforms for the development and sharing of new work, we are also taking this time to think about and reconnect with our purpose, re-evaluate how things are done and imagine new ways to do them, align values and mission, and harness the collective power of our artistic community to envision the future of our beloved industry.
As we continue to receive guidance from various agencies, our building status may change, but the programmatic measures we are taking will remain in place as we feel it’s the best way to fully support the current and future resident playwrights. Please continue to check our website for the latest updates about our operations and opportunities to see streaming productions of plays by our current and alumni playwrights and announcements about upcoming Emergency Fund workshops and other opportunities.
The staff continues to work remotely. We encourage you to visit our CONTACT US page to send an electronic message, or our BOARD, STAFF, & INTERNS page, to obtain individual staff members’ email contact information. While email will be the best way to reach us, our phone lines will be open, and we will have access to voicemail. Rest assured, if you email or leave a voice message, someone will get back to you.
We are profoundly grateful for the dedication of so many, first and foremost the playwrights who make our work possible and meaningful. We thank you all for your patience, support, and understanding. Be well and stay safe.
Emily Morse, Artistic Director, on behalf of the staff, board and playwrights of New Dramatists