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June 12 - June 18

Kenyon Playwrights Conference

About the Program

Immerse yourself in the craft of playwriting surrounded by some of the most exciting early-stage play development in the U.S. and U.K. You will write every day, hear your work read in the evenings, and interact with the creative teams from powerhouse companies and three commissioned playwrights in residence.

To create an extraordinary opportunity for aspiring and working playwrights, the Kenyon Institute has partnered with three companies in commissioning new work. Playwrights Horizons, winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, is distinguished as a preeminent home for American playwrights. La Jolla Playhouse’s adventurous new works and musical productions are a mainstay of Broadway and winner of 35 Tony Awards. Called “the de facto national theatre of new writing” by The Guardian, London’s Paines Plough has established itself as a major touring company in the U.K. for new plays and writers. The Kenyon Institute is also pleased to welcome the winner of the 2014 Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting, the largest playwriting prize in the U.K., to this year's conference.

The artistic staff of the guest theaters, alongside Institute faculty, will lead small group morning seminars in which you will generate new work and/or reinvestigate a play you’ve brought to the conference. Afternoons are for writing and revision. In the evenings, an ensemble of young Institute actors will be available to informally read work that you and the other participants have created during the conference.

Each of the three professional theater companies, along with the Kenyon Institute, has commissioned a new play by an established playwright. Each of these resident playwrights will offer an afternoon master class that is open to conference participants.

Throughout the week, the commissioned plays will be developed in rehearsals and table readings where you’ll be able to see the new scripts develop. And you’ll be the first to see these new works onstage, culminating in readings with a professional cast and lively post-show talkbacks with you and other participants.

A Typical Day

9:00 am


You will work in small seminar groups on daily writing exercises, presenting readings of your work in class using class members and/or resident student actors.

12:00 pm

Lunch in Peirce Hall.

1:00 pm

Writing time.

Because each day you will be asked to write or rewrite a short play, you'll probably want to spend the afternoon writing.  But this can also be your time to work out at the athletic center, or walk and bike on the Kokosing Gap Trail while thinking about your work-in-progress.

4:00 pm

Master classes (optional).

Hear from some of the nation’s top literary managers about how to get your work read, what happens to a new play in development, and trends in new work. You might have a master class with one of the visiting playwrights or actors. Or the instructors might talk about related fields like acting, directing, or writing for film and television. Wine and cheese receptions follow some events.

5:30 pm

Dinner in Peirce Hall.

Sit down with a poet, or a fiction writer, or just have a relaxed dinner with your classmates looking out over the magnificent central Ohio countryside.

7:00 pm

Readings (optional).

Come out to the Open Barn, where you can sign up to have scenes you've written read by our student company for an audience of your colleagues.  Be among the first to hear scenes from a play, still in development, by one of our three commissioned playwrights. Come out for drinks at The Village Inn or, if inspired, go home to write!