The Storyteller Studio

A Community for the Development of Young Playwrights and Dramaturgs


Meet the 2021 Cohort!

Visit the Cohort Portfolio website here.


What is the Storyteller Studio?

The Storyteller Studio is a collaborative space for young playwrights and dramaturgs to hone their craft through peer and professional support, and to develop the skills and working habits necessary for success as they transition into professional careers.
This program is intended for those who have recently graduated from university programs, or those who have established their initial interests in these art forms through alternative avenues.

Why the Studio?

Playwriting and Dramaturgy could be considered the backbone of theatre. Yet, there are often gaps in learned experience in these disciplines. Student playwrights in a university setting often leave without the chance to fully explore their work off the page, and student dramaturgs often fall through the cracks of curriculum and production opportunities. Often, the expectations placed upon students do not align with what will be expected of them in a professional setting, leaving them unprepared and ill-equipped as they embark on their emerging careers. 

Young artists who have foregone higher education face numerous barriers to artistic development, and artists at an entry-level point in their careers often do not have a consistent support network of peers who share their goals and skill sets. There are few spaces for young playwrights and dramaturgs to create that aren’t classes, internships, fellowships, or jobs, and many of these existing programs for emerging artists have education requirements or present financial barriers. This reality can leave young artists isolated and with a fractured, unproductive path in which to continue to grow and learn. 

The Storyteller Studio was conceived with all of these challenges in mind as a uniquely and radically accessible, virtual, no-cost opportunity, structured to champion self-determination by each artist while offering community support, targeted mentorship and professional development.

How does it work?

The Storyteller Studio operates on an yearly basis with an outreach and open application process beginning in the spring, a selection process occurring in the summer, and the work of the Cohort taking place over the course of eight months from mid-fall to late spring. Each Cohort is led each step of the way by an experienced Lead Mentor.

Artists selected to participate in a Cohort begin their Storyteller Studio experience by working closely with the Lead Mentor to identify a project to work on throughout the course of the program. Playwrights’ projects may take the form of a reading of a play or play excerpt, the pitching of a treatment, or learning the process of working with a dramaturg or a director. A dramaturgical project may take the form of a “pitch” presentation of a dream play, a collaboration with a new play in progress, the designing of a research packet, or an audience engagement concept. This selection process, like every aspect of The Storyteller Studio, is artist driven. The Lead Mentor is there to ask leading and challenging questions and to pose alternative points of views, but ultimately to support the artist in articulating their goals.

The Cohort meets virtually two times per month over the course of the program. The majority of these meetings are dedicated to artists’ presentations of their work, but periodically, the meetings are reserved for visiting professional artists.  These individuals are brought in to offer their perspective and experience around topics which are relevant and resonant to the needs of the specific Cohort, as well as to serve as a prospective professional connection.

The final component of the program is professional support. At the close of the Cohort session, the Lead Mentor meets individually with each artist to discuss what the artist has gained over the course of the program, and what opportunities would most benefit the artist moving forward.  Whether through referrals, placements, the publication of a digital portfolio of the Cohort’s work, or collaborating on other in-house opportunities, the staff of The New Jersey Play Lab aims to invest in the next generation of young literary artists and assist them in taking these necessary next steps.

WHO IS THIS FOR?

The Storyteller Studio is a no-cost opportunity for young writers and dramaturgs early on in their artistic careers who want to dive headfirst into their craft, creating alongside a community of their peers, while being guided by experienced mentors. This program was conceived as a transitional program for young artists who want to position themselves to be successful in a professional and collaborative setting. 

The criteria for selection of a Cohort is based primarily on a commitment to one’s art form, regardless of the formality of experience or scope of a resume. Applicants should articulate a willingness and desire for participation in a dramaturgically-focused creative process, and demonstrate the ability to create the time and space to meet the demands of the program.

The Storyteller Studio is for you if:

  • You consider yourself a playwright or dramaturg, even if you have yet to have the opportunity to fully explore these art forms.
  • You want to build your craft and your artistic process, and connect with peers.
  • You are open to giving and receiving feedback about your work, and to discovering the value of this process.
  • You are organized and can keep self-imposed deadlines.
  • You are able to commit to a 10-month process. Showing up is important to success.
  • You thrive in a supportive group of artists your own age, and also welcome the support of more experienced professionals.
  • You’re under 30 years old
  • You consider NJ a literal or artistic home.

Applications for The Storyteller Studio are currently closed.

Please check back for more information in the late spring/summer of 2022.

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