The Lila Acheson Wallace American Playwrights Program encourages and aids the development of new and diverse voices in the American theater.
Under the direction of Christopher Durang and Marsha Norman (center in photo, above), the Playwrights Program offers one-year, tuition-free, graduate level fellowships to four or five writers. Selected playwrights may be invited to continue their studies through a second academic year, thereby completing a total of 52 credits for the two-year fellowship period and earning an Artist Diploma in Playwriting.
Juilliard's Playwrights Program is purposely small and allows the artists to focus on the practical aspects of dramatic writing while at the same time they are encouraged to take advantage of the wealth of resources within Juilliard's walls, and those afforded via the School's prime location on Broadway — the greater New York City theater scene. Students may take any class in the Drama Division and are encouraged to see productions around the city by receiving free or discounted tickets to many events on- and off-Broadway. The essence of the Playwrights Program lies in the weekly master class with the playwright heads focusing on dramatic structure and the cultivation of each writer's individual voice. Twice monthly lab readings of the students' work allow the writers, with the help of Juilliard acting students and alumni, to tackle the practical aspects of creating a new play. In addition, seminars centering on other aspects of the theatrical profession are planned on a quarterly basis. The year's end culminates when students in the playwrights residency present their work to professionals from New York and around the country in a showcase evening. The intention is that these events will create a bridge for these artists between Juilliard and the larger community.
Alumni of the Playwrights Program have garnered considerable recognition, including productions, commissions, publications, and awards, such as the prestigious Pulitzer Prize — for David Lindsay-Abaire's Rabbit Hole in 2007 — and for David Auburn's Proof in 2001. Other notable alumni recognition includes: Steinberg Playwright Award winner David Adjmi, Susan Smith Blackburn Award winner Julia Cho, Olivier Award recipient Katori Hall, Helen Merrill and Lilly Awards winner Deborah Zoe Laufer, and Pulitzer Prize finalist Adam Rapp among many others.
Room and board are not included, but a modest stipend is provided by the Lecomte du Nouy Foundation, in honor of the distinguished French scientist and philosopher. The application to the Playwrights Program is due on December 15. For more information and requirements, click here, or call the Office of Admissions at (212) 799-5000, ext. 223.