The Writers' Room

Many thanks to everyone who applied to The Writers’ Room! Applications for 2019 are now closed. Please check back in early 2020 for updates.

A group for Los Angeles-based playwrights, The Writers’ Room is a product of the Geffen’s deep commitment to supporting new plays and specifically to fostering bold, relevant work by the vibrant artistic community of this city. During a one-year residency, playwright members gather monthly at the Geffen to share their work and receive feedback from their peers in a forum facilitated by Rachel Wiegardt-Egel, the Geffen’s Manager of New Play Development. With applications that are open to all Los Angeles-based playwrights, this program is ideal for those who would benefit from a structured and supportive environment in which to work on a new play. In addition to the feedback of their fellow writers, members receive dramaturgical support from the theater’s artistic staff, a ticket to all Gil Cates Theater shows at the Geffen for the season in which their residency takes place, and the opportunity to further develop their work with a director and actors in a culminating reading that may be open to the public.

The Writers’ Room is made possible through the generous support of Patricia Kiernan Applegate.

Application deadline: 11:59 p.m. PST on Monday, April 22, 2019
Interviews of finalist applicants: mid-late July 2019
Notification of program acceptance: mid-late July 2019
Program start date: September 2019
Program end date: end of August 2020
Everyone will be notified of their application status by email by the end of August 2019. Please do not call or email to ask about your status.

Selection criteria

The Writers’ Room is open to all playwrights who currently reside in Los Angeles. When considering applications, we take into account the fundamental importance of having a balance of voices in the group in addition to the strength of each applicant’s writing sample and project proposal. Playwrights of all writing styles, ethnicities, genders, abilities, and ages are encouraged to apply. The selection committee is comprised of Matt Shakman, Artistic Director, Amy Levinson, Associate Artistic Director, and Rachel Wiegardt-Egel, Manager of New Play Development.

Please keep in mind that we are looking to help writers develop brand new plays. Plays with previous productions, productions set for a future date, or previous professional readings or development will not be considered.

How to apply

We invite local playwrights to apply with ambitious new projects. In order to apply, please send a one page project proposal and a 20 page writing sample (from a previous full-length play) to The project proposal should include: your name, your email address, your phone number, your permanent address (including zip code), and the title of your writing sample, as well as a description of the plot and style of the play you’d like to work on during this one-year residency and why you would benefit from taking part in The Writers’ Room program. Please send both the proposal and writing sample as PDFs.

If you’d like to pull your sample pages from somewhere other than the beginning of your script, please also provide a character list and a short synopsis for context.

The Writers’ Room group will meet once a month on Monday nights from September 2019 through July 2020. (There will also be two months over the course of the year when the group will meet twice, for a total of 13 meetings.) Readings of each play will take place in summer 2020. While we understand that conflicts can be unpredictable, please do not apply if you know you will be unavailable on Mondays generally or will be out of town for an extended period of time that will cause you to miss more than two of the monthly meetings. If you are unsure whether your conflicts will prohibit you from participating, please note this in your proposal. Once the group has been selected, conflicts will be taken into consideration to pick dates that work for everyone.

See the FAQs below for further information about the program and application process.


Do I have to live in the city of Los Angeles to be eligible?

Short answer: yes. However, our metropolitan area is sprawling and we want to support playwrights from Santa Monica to Burbank and everywhere in between. As such, there’s no requirement to have a zip code specific to the city of Los Angeles, though we do require that members of The Writers’ Room be local to the L.A. area. Please ensure that you will be able to arrive at the Geffen Playhouse (10886 Le Conte Ave, Los Angeles 90024) by 7pm on Mondays.

What if I want to do a major re-write on a play that’s received a previous production or significant professional development?

We are looking to help writers develop brand new plays. Plays with previous productions, productions set for the future, or previous professional readings or development will not be considered. Consider proposing an idea for a new project instead!

What type of work are you looking for?

There is no limit to the type of work with which you can apply. We are eager to hear about the projects that are of the most interest to you. Please apply with a proposal for a new play to which you’d like to dedicate the next year.

I’m a composer writing a piece of musical theater—am I eligible?

Yes! If you are working on a piece of theater that involves music—be it a traditional musical, a play with music, or a song cycle—you are welcome to apply.

I have a writing partner and we want to work on a theater piece together—can we send in one application for the two of us?

Yes! We are open to writing pairs (two playwrights working together on a project, a composer working with a book writer, etc). Please note both applicants in the proposal, and submit a writing sample that you’ve worked on together.

When will the monthly meetings be held?

Meetings will take place once a month on Mondays (with the exception of two months in which we will meet twice). The exact schedule of meetings will be announced later in the summer. We will endeavor to find dates that work for all playwrights accepted to the program. If you know you will have Monday conflicts, please note them in your proposal.

Will you let me know that you received my application via email?

Yes, you will receive an auto-response when your application has been received. Please note that you will only receive an auto-response to the first email you send us—no need to panic if you email a second time and don’t receive a response immediately.

Parking in Westwood for several hours sounds challenging. Can you help?

Yes, parking validation will be provided.

May I apply with more than one proposal?

Please only send in one application. While you may note in your proposal if you have multiple ideas you’re considering, we strongly recommend that you focus on detailing the idea about which you’re most passionate.

If I have previously been in touch with a Geffen Playhouse staff member, should I contact them directly with my question?

Please send all questions regarding The Writers’ Room to