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Playwright Conference Seeking Submissions

October Deadline Approaching

Word comes from Connecticut that The O'Neill Playwrights Conference is accepting new play submissions for its summer of 2003 conference through October 1, 2002.

Each summer, theater leaders and innovators from around the country meet at the Conference to support new work for the stage, engage in a vital exchange of ideas and empower playwrights. Playwrights who are selected come together for a month-long residency at the theater to participate in a six-day workshop for each play, including rehearsals and two script-in-hand readings.

Writers who apply to the Playwrights Conference undergo a three-part selection process. A group of more than eighty readers, comprised of theater professionals from around the country, reads first excerpts of scripts with supplemental application materials. Then, based on review of the initial application, a number of complete drafts of scripts are requested and reviewed for consideration before progressing to the final selection.

Conference participants represent a wide range of experience from playwrights working on a first play to Broadway veterans. Directors and actors have also worked on and off Broadway, in regional theaters and represent emerging artists and seasoned professionals.

Artistic Director James Houghton commented, "At the O'Neill, writers are celebrated. The plays here come to life within a vibrant community alongside more than a dozen other new plays in different stages of development. We offer writers an environment conducive to creativity, whether they are working on their project-in-residence or thinking about an idea for the future, and we offer those who support them the opportunity to discover new work and connect to the world in different ways."

More than 570 plays have evolved at the O'Neill since the Playwrights Conference began in 1965. Last year, nearly 700 playwrights applied, and 20 were invited for residencies.

Not all writers-in-residence present public readings of their work. Several writers attend each year to work on special projects which are not necessarily presented during their stay. Conference participants also have access to discussions with a variety of guest speakers: this past summer's All Conference Series included O'Neill Puppetry Conference Artistic Director Pam Arciero and puppeteer Martin P. Robinson; Dean of the Yale School of Drama and Artistic Director of Yale Repertory Theatre James Bundy; playwrights Horton Foote and A.R. Gurney; wood sculptor Roger Foster; actor and mime Bill Irwin and scientists from Pfizer Inc. "We strive to make the Conference a vital national exchange of artists and of ideas and issues facing writers and the field at large," Houghton added.

Submissions to this year's Conference must be postmarked by October 1, 2002. Playwrights interested in applying may call 212-244-7008 ext. 15, visit the O'Neill website at for an on-line application or send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to:

O'Neill Playwrights Conference / 2003 Submissions
534 West 42nd Street
New York, NY 10036

The Eugene O'Neill Theater Center, founded in 1964 and based in Waterford CT, is dedicated to the advancement of new work for the theater and creates and operates programs which complement that goal. These include the Puppetry Conference, Playwrights Conference, Critics Institute, Music Theater Conference and the National Theater Institute, a college-accredited training program for theater artists.

The O'Neill also owns and operates the Monte Cristo Cottage and holds the annual Eugene O'Neill Celebration, honoring its namesake, every October.

See related O'Neill story.

-- OnStageBoston


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