Open Submission Process
Each year NPC accepts scripts from any playwright for consideration in its summer landmark event and takes this solicitation and selection process very seriously. We do not require an agent or nomination to apply, simply the right to work in the United States.
The O'Neill typically receives over 1,000 scripts during a month long open submission window. The plays are sent to readers across the country; the work is read blindly and narrowed down into a semifinalist pool and then a finalist pool. This process is maintained by our on-site literary office and is monitored carefully.
The O'Neill takes its mission for the discovery of new work and artists to heart. The leadership team at the O'Neill and the National Playwrights Conference is committed to the Open Submissions policy. This means that the majority of plays developed will be drawn from this pool each summer. Invitations or collaborations will be in the minority, but may always be a part of the mix, as they help launch conversations with a larger national field.
The majority of selected plays come from this Open Submission process. Each year, there might be one or two invitations for a prominent playwright to participate. This policy has been in place since the inception of the Conference under Lloyd Richards. Over the last several years, we have developed either full seasons of plays found in the open submission process, or seasons of eight plays, seven of which came through the open submission process.
The submission fee is $35 dollars. This covers the costs of the process itself. The O'Neill is making active efforts to reduce this fee, including the establishment of the Wendy Wasserstein Endowment Fund. As funds continue to grow, this Endowment will eventually reduce and eliminate the fee and will guarantee the process remains open in perpetuity, a process dear to Wendy's heart.
The National Playwrights Conference dedicates itself to the writer. They are placed first in everything we do and are our priority. The team advocates for each developed play to move into full production. The success of this advocacy is evident in the success of the last five seasons: The majority of works have moved to significant world-premiere productions at theaters of all sizes around the country.