An Incubator for New Work

Under the direction of Marsha Norman and David Lindsay-Abaire, the Lila Acheson Wallace American 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. Playwrights and actors come together through Play Labs, staged readings, and workshop productions, providing an essential experience for our promising theater artists. Through these dynamic opportunities actors and writers share in the creation of vibrant new work. The Drama Division has served as an incubator for this work and many of these collaborations continue to flourish for years long after graduation.

Playwright students 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 program's directors 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 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. The application to the Playwrights Program is due on November 15. 

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Meet David Lindsay-Abaire

The son of a factory-worker mom and a dad who'd sold fruit out of the back of a truck, award-winning playwright David Lindsay-Abaire was named co-director of the playwriting program last year, joining Marsha Norman, and succeeding Christopher Durang—the two had been his mentors when he'd studied here.

Video featuring on the 20th anniversary of Juilliard's American Playwrights Program

Juilliard Playwrights at 20

Celebrating the Anniversary of the Lila Acheson Wallace American Playwrights Program