The Inkwell’s programming includes: sustained collaborations with early-career playwrights; educational opportunities for playmakers and playgoers; and, networking events for playwrights and playmakers.
Sustained collaborations with early-career playwrights:
The Inkwell engages playwrights in a 12-18 month development process, to see full-length plays from first draft through to 20th draft. We immediately put plays up on their feet, bringing dramaturges, directors, actors, and designers into the process from the beginning. A typical development process will look like this:
- Open call for submission: The Inkwell annually calls for new full-length plays from around the country. We are not necessarily looking for polished plays, but those that fit with our aesthetic and have not received a full production by a professional theater.
- Showcase Reading: The Inkwell begins a relationship with a playwright by inviting them to submit a 20-minute excerpt of their work for a staged reading. Directors, actors, and dramaturgs work with the playwright to choose the excerpt and explore it through a short rehearsal process. Four to six excerpts are publicly read at Showcase Readings throughout the year.
- Collaboration with Dramaturgs: The Inkwell’s dramaturgs continue to work with playwrights after a showcase reading to assist them to identify a few key elements to explore in the next draft of the play.
- Inkreading: The Inkwell invites playwrights to engage in a four-day intensive rehearsal process with directors, actors, designers, and actors. Playwrights are encouraged to rewrite throughout to produce a staged reading of the next iteration of the full play. Dramaturgs continue to engage with playwrights to assist with revisions.
- Inkubator Production: The collaboration culminates in a fully staged, bare bones production of the play. Playwrights join a director, actors, designers, and dramaturgs for a three-week rehearsal process. Designers focus on a few key elements that illuminate the script for the writer. Playwrights are encouraged to revise throughout the rehearsal process.
Educational opportunities for playmakers and playgoers:
The Inkwell offers all sorts of classes, discussions, and other educational activities designed to pull back the curtain and provide insight on the play development process. Such programming includes:
- Master classes aimed at playwrights, directors, designers, and dramaturgs that focus on various aspects of new play development, including the director/playwright collaboration and the art of dramaturgy for the new play. Classes are taught by nationally renowned theatre artists, including writer and teacher Gary Garrison and dramaturge Michael Bigelow Dixon.
- Panel discussions, where theatre artists from DC and beyond discuss new play development from all different angles. Past panel discussions have focused on the ten-minute play, the actor and the new play, the designer and the new play, and state of new play development in Washington, DC. Panelists have included Naomi Jacobsen, Marco Ramirez, John Lescault, Blake Robison, Ari Roth, Gary Garrison, David Dower, Trey Graham, Nelson Pressley, and Jason Loewith.
- Open rehearsals, where playgoers can observe the process of actors, directors, and dramaturgs as they engage with a playwright as they work through a new play.
Networking events for playwrights and playmakers:
The Inkwell hosts breakfasts, forums, and happy hours to bring playwrights together to make connections and build a community around new play development here in Washington, DC and beyond.