“If you’re a New Jersey playwright, or want to be, and you want specific, honest, and supportive guidance in writing and rewriting your plays, the New Jersey Play Lab’s workshops and programs are the answer. “

Testimonial from a PlayGym student

PlayGym: A New Play Development Forum 


PlayGym is a unique forum for playwrights to hear their work read and to receive feedback from professionals in a supportive environment. At each session, playwrights have access to professional actors trained in new play development and a professional dramaturg to guide the process.

There are two sections of PlayGym:

PlayGym: Full Lengths — for writers who have completed a full draft of a full-length play that they would like to hear, assess, and further develop

PlayGym: Short Plays and Early Drafts — for writers working on short plays or an unfinished draft of a longer play

PlayGym: Full-Lengths

For writers working on a completed draft of a full-length play

Full Lengths with dramaturg Lia Romeo

Wednesdays, 10am-1pm
March 18, 25 April 1, 8, 15, 22, 29 May 6, 13, 20

Fee: $300

Class Limit: 6 Writers

Location: The HUUB at the First UU of Essex County (35 Cleveland St, Orange, NJ 07050)

About the Dramaturg

Lia Romeo’s plays include THE FOREST (O’Neill Playwrights’ Conference, Kilroys’ List, NJ Rep), CONNECTED (59E59, NYIT Award nominee), GREEN WHALES (Unicorn Theatre, Weissberger Award nominee), REALITY (HotCity Theatre, Steinberg Award nominee), THE LUCKY ONES (O’Neill finalist, Dreamcatcher Rep), RIGHT PLACE, RIGHT TIME (O’Neill finalist, Renegade Theatre Experiment), LOVESICK (59E59), HUNGRY (Unicorn Theatre), BABIES (Lark Playwrights Workshop), and others. She was the 2019 winner of City Theatre’s National Short Playwriting Award. She received a 2018 Individual Artist Fellowship in playwriting from the New Jersey State Council for the Arts, and was the National New Play Network Emerging Playwright-in-Residence at Writers Theatre of New Jersey. Her plays are published by Broadway Play Publishing, Playscripts, Dramatists Play Service, and Smith & Kraus.  She earned her B.A. from Princeton University and her M.F.A. in playwriting from Rutgers/MGSA, and she teaches in the MA program in creative writing at Fairleigh Dickinson University.

Full Lengths with dramaturg Molly Marinik

Thursdays 7pm to 10pm
March 19, 26 April 2, 9, 16, 23, 30 May 7, 14, 21

Fee: $300

Class Limit: 6 Writers

Location: The HUUB at the First UU of Essex County (35 Cleveland St, Orange, NJ 07050)

About the Dramaturg

Molly Marinik is a dramaturg specializing in new play and musical development. Co-founder of Beehive Dramaturgy Studio. She has developed new work at Atlantic Theater Company, The Flea (Resident Director 2013-15), New Light, Libra Theater, 59E59, Barefoot Theater Company, NYMF, Luna Stage, and Musical Theater Factory, among others. She serves as literary consultant for Alchemation/Kevin McCollum and has read scripts for the Philip Seymour Hoffman Relentless Award (subcommittee member 2015-18), the O’Neill NMTC, Page 73, Barrington Stage, Village Theatre, among others. She is an Artistic Associate at Musical Theater Factory where she co-moderates the Women/Trans/GNC Roundtable, and she can often be found at Atlantic Theater Company where she writes grants, among many other things. Molly holds an MA in Theater History and Criticism from Brooklyn College.

Session Overview

  • Week One: Introductions to each other, the plays, and the PlayGym dramaturgical process.
  • Weeks Two–Nine: Each playwright is given one three-hour session in which to hear their play read aloud by professional actors, followed by a facilitated discussion. Prior to having their play read aloud in the session, the writer has the option to have the dramaturg provide notes for revision or consideration. Additionally, each writer is given 40 minutes to present revised material for feedback and discussion in the week(s) following the reading of their full-length. Professional actors will be brought in read the revised scenes.
  • Week 10 / Conferences: Each playwright has an individual conference with the dramaturg. Due to limited time, a couple of these conferences may need to be scheduled outside of session hours on the phone. These conferences provide an opportunity to reflect on the feedback received and to discuss next steps. Playwrights have the option to submit revised work in advance of this meeting. 


How do I know if I’m ready for PlayGym?

Long ago we decided that this was not for us to determine—if you feel ready and able to do the work based on the description of the class, then you probably are! However, there are some things that our PlayGym playwrights share:

  • You have some basic training in playwriting and understand the terminology of the craft.
  • You are self-directed in setting goals, writing and rewriting outside of class, and determining what material you want to bring in and articulating specific goals you have in wanting to hear it read.
  • You are genuinely open to feedback and have a desire to further develop your play.
  • You are willing to give thoughtful feedback to your fellow playwrights through a structured, facilitated discussion.

If this sounds like you, then PlayGym is for you! If you have questions and would like to discuss further, please contact

I’ve never worked with you before. Do I need to submit a sample of my work?

If we are not familiar with your writing, then please do submit a sample of your writing—ideally a piece you plan to work on in session. You can submit to with “PLAYGYM SAMPLE” as the subject of your email. 

I really want to take PlayGym, but I am not available at the times you are currently offering it. What do I do?

We really appreciate your interest! Since each PlayGym section is only designed for a small number of writers, we are constantly assessing the need to add additional sections. Please sign up here to indicate your interest in additional sections and indicate the times you would be available to attend. 

I have actors that I really like to work with. Can I bring them into the process for my reading?

How wonderful that you have found actors that you feel “click” with your work! The New Jersey Play Lab has a company of actors who are trained in new play development who we work with regularly. However, we want to serve playwrights in the development process as best we can, so we are always open to new suggestions of actors.

Our forums are designed for a small number of students to allow for a more intimate experience. However, keeping our forums small means that we must meet that enrollment in order to run them.
Please note that cash refunds will ONLY be issued in the event that a section is cancelled by The New Jersey Play Lab. An enrolled student may withdraw up to one month prior to the start of the session and receive a credit for a future semester.

For any questions, please contact

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