About the National Playwrights Conference

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Each year a community of professionals gathers in the serene setting of the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center in order to support playwrights and new works for the theater.  The National Playwrights Conference strives to create a supportive environment that empowers playwrights to their own process and to experience the play with a professional company.

Works are chosen through our Open Submissions policy.  (See all 2017 Finalists).

In the years since its inception the National Playwrights Conference has developed more than 600 plays.  During the Conference, playwrights live on the grounds of the O'Neill for a full month and each engages in a week-long process of rehearsals culminating in two script-in-hand public readings.  Up to eight playwrights are selected for this intensive laboratory each summer.  Conference playwrights represent a wide range of experience from those working on a first play to Broadway veterans; directors and actors have also worked on and off Broadway, in film, and in regional theaters, and represent emerging artists and seasoned professionals.  Virtually every major American playwright has been part of the Conference, including Julia Cho, Rebecca Gilman, Regina Taylor, John Guare, David Henry Hwang, David Lindsay-Abaire, Adam Rapp, Lanford Wilson, Wendy Wasserstein, and August Wilson.

In addition to writers selected for staged readings, the Conference serves as a retreat for several writers-in-residence working independently on special projects.  Recent summers' residents include Alfred Uhry, Lisa Loomer, and Tracy Scott Wilson, David Auburn, and Sam Hunter.  Conference participants also have access to discussions with special guests.  Past speakers have included playwrights Edward Albee, Ed Bullins, Romulus Linney and Paula Vogel as well as Eugene O'Neill biographers Arthur and Barbara Gelb.

For information on applying as a playwright and the application process, please visit our Submission Info and Open Submission Process page.  With other questions, please call the Literary Office, at (860) 443-5378 x227