Now Accepting Applications for 2021-2022 New Works Initiative

Posted: Monday, November 16, 2020, 4:23pm

Calling all central Ohio playwrights!

Curtain Players invites playwrights from central Ohio to apply to join the 2021-2022 New Works Initiative! Applications will be accepted through Dec. 15, 2020.

The New Works Initiative (NWI) at Curtain Players is a year-long generative workshop for central Ohio playwrights to develop new plays. While in residence at Curtain Players, NWI playwrights will workshop their scripts with local actors and directors, sharing their work and feedback with each other in the NWI writers room, led by playwright Jeremy Sony.

Who Should Apply?

We're seeking playwrights from central Ohio with plays that are still considered an "unfinished first draft." Many of our playwrights often start with just an idea, an image, or a brief outline. Some bring us a collection of scenes in search of an ending. The goal of NWI is to give central Ohio playwrights the support they need to complete, revise, and present a new full-length play.

How do we do that? Here's a quick rundown of what playwrights can expect!

+ A year-long play development program that includes a writers room check-in series and two developmental workshops per writer (one in the spring, one in the fall)

+ Local actors and directors invited into the workshop

+ A playwright-led development process

+ A reading (with rehearsal) presented as part of the New Works Initiative festival at Curtain Players in January 2022

How to Apply

Please note: the New Works Initiative at Curtain Players was created to support plays in their earliest stages; we do not accept projects that have already received developmental support, readings, or productions. If you are unsure whether your play qualifies, just ask.

All applications must include the following:

1. A letter (one page) that states your objectives for working on a new play in the New Works Initiative. Please include a description of your play. If it's just an idea, talk about the idea(s). If you have some pages, talk about those and what you're trying to do with them. This is about the story that you're trying to tell, so we can figure out the best way to help you tell it. NOTE: We do not accept project proposals for musicals or screenplays.

2. A playwright / theatre resume or bio

3. A full-length play (or collection of shorts) that best represents your writing (both in voice and skill). This shouldn't be the play you want to work on, but something else. If you have a play hosted online (NPX, website, etc.), you're welcome to send us a link. If you've never written a play (of any length) before, please send us an example of your best writing, and include in your letter why you feel that now's the time to write a play.

Please email your letter, resume, and play as separate PDFs to: (please use the subject: 2021-2022 New Works Initiative Application).

If you have questions, you can message Jeremy Sony at the same email.

Applications are due December 15, 2020 — playwrights selected by mid January.

Some Important Things to Consider when Applying

The 2021-2022 New Works Initiative at Curtain Players will be a writers-room based residency. While you'll be writing your play on your own, you'll be participating in meetings and workshops with three other writers throughout the process. The goal of the writers room is to give the playwrights a creative safe space that fosters discussion, exploration, and experimentation, while further developing their craft together. If this sounds like something you'd enjoy, we look forward to reading your application.

We are accepting applications from central Ohio playwrights who live in the following counties: Delaware, Franklin, Licking, Fairfield, Pickaway, Madison, and Union. Playwrights must be age 18 & up, and not enrolled in an academic program.

By participating, NWI playwrights commit to: developing a new play to be presented as a reading; attending six writers room check-ins; attending development workshops (including those for other writers); and attending the 2022 New Works Initiative festival.

Due to COVID-19, initial meetings will be held virtually. Future in-person meetings will adhere to all applicable social-distancing and mask requirements. We will reassess meeting options throughout the year and adjust accordingly.

Here is a sample schedule*:
+ January Writers Room
+ March Writers Room
+ April Writers Room
+ May Workshop for Writers 1 & 2 – first draft due
+ June Workshop for Writers 3 & 4 – first draft due
+ July Writers Room
+ August Writers Room
+ September Workshop for Writers 1 & 2 – second draft due
+ October Workshop for Writers 3 & 4 – second draft due
+ November Writers Room
+ December Rehearsal
+ January Readings – New Works Initiative Festival

Writers Room Check-ins are for all the writers to meet up as a group throughout the year to discuss their projects, ask questions, talk playwriting techniques, etc. These meetings are casual (think happy hour / coffee shop meet up) and writers should plan for six meetings throughout 2021, about 60-90 minutes each.

Writers Workshops are the core of the NWI development process. There are four workshop dates spread throughout 2021. The plan is to schedule two workshops on each of the four dates. All four playwrights will be asked to be in attendance for each full workshop day (we’ll do a 3-hour workshop for the first writer in the morning, break for lunch, and another 3-hour block for the second writer in the afternoon). Actors/guests will only be asked to attend one workshop session per day. Workshops will include a reading of a full draft of the play, followed by a discussion with actors/guests, followed by discussion with the playwrights only.

December Rehearsals (6 hours total) are just for the writer and their creative team to prep for the January reading. These will be scheduled individually with each writer.

* Actual dates of meetings and workshops will be set in January once the NWI playwrights have been selected.

About the New Works Initiative at Curtain Players

The New Works Initiative (NWI) at Curtain Players was launched during the 2018-2019 season by local playwright Jeremy Sony, and featured new plays by central Ohio playwrights Sony, Emily Turner, and Stefan Farrenkopf in its first year. The NWI has also helped develop plays by local playwrights Keely Kurtas-Chapman and Chris Leyva. The 2020-2021 NWI will feature plays by playwrights Sarah Cabe, Tay Lane, and Noah Martin. The NWI follows earlier play-development projects at Curtain Players including the Curtain Players Playwrights Festival and Simply Staged Series. Previously, NWI playwrights were selected through invitation. This marks the first year that the NWI is accepting applications.

About NWI Program Director Jeremy Sony

Jeremy Sony is a writer, husband, father, and effulgent dreamer. He has written close to a dozen full-length plays, a few film scripts, and more short plays than he can count. Some of his favorites include MARS OHIO, THE LAST QUEEN OF WONDERLAND, PATHOGENESIS, and SLEEPY HOLLOW: THE LOST CHAPTER. His plays have been developed/produced by Nashville Rep, Tantrum East, ClassAct Dramatics at Street Theatre Co., Theatre Daedalus, Available Light, MadLab Theatre, Curtain Players, Luna Theatre, and The Last Frontier Theatre Conference, among others, as well as by schools and youth theatre programs nationally and internationally. Sony earned his MFA in Playwriting from Ohio University, where he was named an Anthony Trisolini Graduate Fellow and received the Scott McPherson Playwriting Award. He is an alum of the Ingram New Works Lab at Nashville Rep, and currently runs the New Works Initiative at Curtain Players. He lives in central Ohio, where he also serves as a mentor to high school playwrights for MadLab Theatre's Young Writers program. Find his plays and read about his latest projects at

About Curtain Players Theatre

For nearly 60 years, Curtain Players Theatre has contributed to the cultural, artistic footprint of central Ohio while also being a community partner to its neighbors in Harlem Township, the City of Westerville, and surrounding suburbs. Beautifully situated in a refurbished old-country church near Galena, Curtain Players produces six plays a season, as well as a festival of new works, and has been routinely recognized by Central Ohio's Theatre Roundtable, the Ohio Community Theatre Association, and the American Association of Community Theatre for its commitment to theatrical excellence. In 2019, Columbus Dispatch readers voted Curtain Players a Columbus Top Pick, naming it one of the Best Live Theaters in central Ohio.