“Is your play weird, or weird-ish?”
How do I approach New Georges? I want to get involved! If you’re asking as a playwright (scroll down to “a little more elaboration” if you’re someone else), here are four quick questions to help you decide whether to submit a play. In case they’re a little too quick, we elaborate below.
- Are you a woman*?
- Is your play weird, or weird-ish?
- Are you at least partly based in New York City?
- Will you not mind if we take a while to get back to you?
Please keep in mind: we don’t read submitted plays to consider them for production. We happily read submissions to find voices we want to know better and artists who may make productive members of the artistic community from which our work springs. We work flexibly, project-to-project, so we don’t do season planning in the traditional sense. Submit with that expectation, and we can go from there.
If you say YES to the questions, hooray! See below for how to send a submission to Sonya.
If you’d like to dig a bit deeper, here’s that promised elaboration:
Question 1: Are you a woman?
Take your time, we’ll wait.
We’re being glib (*and to be more specific, we work with female-identified, trans and gender-nonconforming people) because we know from long experience that the woman part of our mission doesn’t always seem forthright to everyone…
Here’s the deal: it’s about opportunity, not content. So even if your play tells a “woman’s story,” or has lots of great parts for women actors, if you happen to be a guy, it’s still not gonna cut it woman-wise, not with us. Our mission is to provide opportunity to a female-identified artist no matter what her play or project is about. For that matter, if you’re a woman playwright but think your play’s subject matter or cast make-up might not be “woman-ish” enough for us — it’s not an issue, just send the thing!
Question 2: is your play weird, or weird-ish? We advance unusual plays, plays which futz with language or storytelling, often poetic, always funny, somehow stylized and almost always structurally innovative plays, or plays that relate to the audience in a nontraditional way; theater that’s trying to point to or amplify experience rather than reflect it and gives audiences a new way to think about how theater can interpret the world. In fact, how you tell the story is often more interesting to us at first than what the story is about.
Question 3: Are you at least partly based in New York City? We’re a little greedy, and a little nosy, and we do want to know what everybody is working on all over the country, nay, the world! But because we’re interested in long-term development of new works and long-term relationships with artists, the reality is that if you’re not here, or near here, or sometimes here… it’s harder to find opportunities together. If you’re not obviously here but are often here, feel free to let us know about your relationship to our city.
Question 4: Will you not mind if we take a while to get back to you? We’re a very small company. Sometimes we take a while. We appreciate your patience, truly.
A little more elaboration, cause we work in an unusual way. We look for artists with whom we may have an affinity, and work by building relationships over time and seeing what projects emerge. That process begins when you’re in touch for the first time, and may eventually include an invitation to become an affiliated artist of New Georges (who are mainly playwrights and directors, but also designers and actors).
That’s why we don’t read play submissions with production in mind, though we know that may be what you’re looking for. We read to find idiosyncratic or poetic or otherwise singular voices, sparks of ingenuity or vision… something that makes us want to get to know you. In a sense, we curate artists rather than individual plays. So don’t wait till your 4th or 12th or most perfect play, don’t wait until you have something specific to ask for (like a workshop), and oh, don’t wait till you’ve written something specifically about women! Just send us your work. And if you’re a director or other generative artist, send us your resume.
Most of our programs take place in The Room, New Georges’ workspace and play development hub. They support playwrights by helping to develop plays in both traditional and nontraditional ways, they support directors who generate their own work, and they support collaborations between artists. Because the kind of work we do tends to benefit from strong playwright/director relationships, we’re especially interested in those collaborations. As creative producers, we’re most interested in the process and vision that turns a play on the page into an event in the theater. You might say we produce projects, not plays.
A key distinction: we’re a play development and producing organization, not a venue or presenting organization. We rent theaters on a project basis, in order to produce work we’ve developed or assembled ourselves. We’re especially not set up to present solo work. (But if you’d like us to read a solo play as an introduction to your work as a writer, send away.)
Phew! How do I get started and where do I send my stuff? Note a slight shift in our process for new play submissions: starting with a sample, which will help us respond to you sooner. Please share a recent play with New Play Advocate Sonya Sobieski at firstname.lastname@example.org. Submit the full play, but in your cover note, please tell us what juicy 20 pages you’d like us to read first (and be sure to include a bio or resume). And we can go from there.
Directors, designers and actors: please send resumes/headshots to Susan at this address. Real mail is fun!
Susan Bernfield, Producing Artistic Director
25 Broadway, 9th Floor
New York, NY10004
Include a cover letter expressing your interest. Feel free to send us flyers about upcoming projects by snail or e. (Absolutely be friendly and persistent, but not insistent. We genuinely appreciate your flyers – we pay attention to what you’re working on and who you’re working with. But we can’t make it to everything, no matter how much we’d like to. Please understand, and keep sending.)
If you’re a New York-based early-career artist, one great way for us to get to know you is your application to The New Georges Jam, our playwright-director lab. The Jam accepts new members every two years or so — a process is coming up in spring ’18, watch for it!
And come see what we’re up to. Introduce yourself to us and, more importantly, let us introduce you to what we do so that you will know if this is a place for you. You can always find out what’s happening here on our website or by joining our mailing list.
Other opportunities.. We’re often looking for play readers and other volunteers, and for interns — though we’ve been a bit slow in getting back to potential interns lately, don’t give up on us! We try to be in the office just a little less in the summer, so we can’t usually accommodate summer interns. Please e-mail us to get our information, and to give us yours. Thanks!