The O’Neill created innovative new models and pioneered play development at the dawn of the American regional theater movement. The O'Neill was, and is, a place to bring new work to the stage away from the pressures of commercial production, giving unheralded and undiscovered writers the time and space to refine their work.
The O’Neill has grown to include equally innovative programs for composers, puppeteers, students, cabaret artists, and arts journalists, and continues to be an artistic beacon for the discovery of new work and new artists every summer.
The National Puppetry Conference creates contemporary works of theater that defy imagination and confound expectations. Conference participants collaborate with nationally and internationally renowned puppet artists to push the boundaries of puppetry and challenge themselves and their audiences.
The National Music Theater Conference provides a challenging environment where emerging and established creative artists can take huge risks in order to refine and illuminate their work’s vision during its formative stages.
The National Playwrights Conference creates a supportive environment that empowers playwrights to their own process and to experience the play with a professional company.
One of the O'Neill's oldest programs, the National Critics Institute is a two-week workshop, designed for arts writers and critics looking to strengthen their skills in an increasingly competitive and fast-paced industry. It is America's leading boot camp, offering fellows an intensive course of study for writers of all experience levels.
The Conference reexamines, redefines and revitalizes the Cabaret art form for the 21st century using a definition of cabaret as “any kind of live performance in an intimate space that breaks the fourth wall.”