About the National Playwrights Conference
Each year a community of professionals gathers in the serene setting of the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center in order to support playwrights and new works for the theater. The National Playwrights Conference strives to create a supportive environment that empowers playwrights to their own process and to experience the play with a professional company.
In the years since its inception the National Playwrights Conference has developed more than 600 plays. During the Conference, playwrights live on the grounds of the O'Neill for a full month and each engages in a week-long process of rehearsals culminating in two script-in-hand public readings. Up to eight playwrights are selected for this intensive laboratory each summer. Conference playwrights represent a wide range of experience from those working on a first play to Broadway veterans; directors and actors have also worked on and off Broadway, in film, and in regional theaters, and represent emerging artists and seasoned professionals. Virtually every major American playwright has been part of the Conference, including Julia Cho, Rebecca Gilman, Regina Taylor, John Guare, Israel Horovitz, David Henry Hwang, David Lindsay-Abaire, Adam Rapp, Lanford Wilson, Wendy Wasserstein and August Wilson.
In addition to writers selected for staged readings, the Conference serves as a retreat for several writers-in-residence working independently on special projects. Recent summers' residents include Alfred Uhry, Lisa Loomer, and Tracy Scott Wilson. Conference participants also have access to discussions with special guests. Past speakers have included playwrights Edward Albee, Ed Bullins, Romulus Linney and Paula Vogel as well as Eugene O'Neill biographers Arthur and Barbara Gelb.
The O'Neill's National Playwrights Conference was established in 1965 by George C. White, President of the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center until 2000. Lloyd Richards was Artistic Director from 1968-1999 and during his tenure brought the conference international acclaim as a resource for playwrights and a wellspring of potent new work for the stage. Jim Houghton (Artistic Director of Signature Theatre in New York) led the conference from 2000-2003. Wendy C. Goldberg was appointed Artistic Director of the National Playwrights Conference in 2005.
For information on applying as a playwright, please visit our Submission Info page. With other questions, please call the Literary Office, at (860) 443-5378 x227