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Advanced semesters provide student and early-career artists the opportunity to hone their craft and create a solid body of work with the guidance and tutelage of master teachers



One-Week Residency in NYC



Advanced Playwrights expand their craft and refine their voice at the home of new play development. Under the guidance of some of America’s best contemporary playwrights, you learn the process and craft of playwriting as well as the business of producing your own work. Advanced Playwrights write new plays every week which are given readings by fellow ensemble members. You leave with a portfolio of plays and an arsenal of contacts. Through integration with the NTI Semester, you will take a variety of workshops and master classes to deepen your skills as a well-rounded theater artist. Conferring 16 credit hours, NTI-Advanced Playwriting is only offered in the spring semester 


During a one-week residency in the epicenter of American theater - New York City, you will train with professionals in a singular series of workshops and master classes. In addition to training and conversing with New York’s brightest creative luminaries, you'll see a variety of performances during this unforgettable week.


Weekly Theater Labs challenge you to put what you’re learning in class on its feet. When given just 15 hours to stage a scene, you learn to trust your creative instincts. Under the mentorship of a professional director, you gain practical experience with a wealth of classical and contemporary texts.


Playwrights Week is dedicated to the staging of original one-act plays written, directed, designed, performed, and produced by your ensemble. This collaborative week supports and amplifies the voices of the next generation of American theater writers under the mentorship of several professional playwrights.


Theater Trips to New York City as well as to prominent regional theaters such as Yale Repertory Theatre and the A.R.T. are frequently taken. These excursions often feature exclusive opportunities to learn more about the artistic process with cast and creative teams. 


During Company Project, your ensemble collaboratively produces a full-length work guided by a prompt. You have eight days to devise a new piece of theater unique to your ensemble. Through public performances, you showcase what you have learned and what has inspired you throughout the semester.

NOTE: Participants of all NTI programs, including artists, faculty, and students must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 with the latest available booster shot prior to arrival on campus. 


Master Teachers &

Industry Professionals


Living at the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center


You asked. 

We answered.


  • overview
    Founded in 1964, the National Playwrights Conference at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center is the country’s premiere program for new play development. Every summer, six to eight unproduced works are selected from a pool of 1,000+ submissions for a week-long, playwright-driven workshop on the O’Neill’s campus in beautiful Waterford, CT. Each play is matched with a team of industry-leading directors, dramaturgs, and actors for an intensive 30-hour rehearsal period, culminating in two public, script-in-hand staged readings. At every step in the process, the O’Neill strives to foster an inclusive, collaborative environment in which artistic exploration and experimentation is encouraged. The upcoming National Playwrights Conference will be held in July 2019. SELECTION The National Playwrights Conference is proudly committed to an open, blind submission process, and we welcome all playwrights, regardless of location or representation, to share their work with us. Our offices typically receive between 1,200 and 1,500 scripts annually, and a small volunteer corps of 200+ industry professionals — directors and dramaturgs, actors and designers, critics and administrators — reads every submission in its entirety. Every submission is considered with care and appreciation, undergoing a rigorous evaluation process in which form, content, and developmental goals are meticulously reviewed and discussed. At the end of this six-month process, eight outstanding plays — chosen for their artistic excellence, originality of voice, singularity of perspective, and developmental potential — are selected for workshop residencies at the O’Neill. DEVELOPMENT The National Playwriting Conference offers each play selected for development a week-long, 30-hour workshop, culminating in two public script-in-hand staged readings. These workshops are wholly playwright-driven, and staffed with industry-leading directors, dramaturgs, actors, and designers. Playwrights are welcome to revise, rework, and rewrite as much or as little as they like while in residence with us — as always, risk-taking is encouraged. STAGED READINGS At the end of their week-long developmental workshop, each play receives two public, script-in-hand staged readings. We believe that these staged readings are a crucial step in the O'Neill’s developmental process, serving as an invaluable opportunity to hear a fresh audience’s real-time response to the play in a welcoming, low-pressure environment. DREAM DESIGN The O’Neill is also delighted to offer our playwrights the rare opportunity to confer with a team of top-of-field designers about the visual, aural, and spatial world of their play. To this end, each workshop kicks off with an hour-long, public conversation between the playwright, scenic designer, light designer, and sound designer — all in the interest of facilitating the play’s later transition from page to stage. Original scenic renderings are created based on this discussion, and presented on the night of the play’s first public reading. RESIDENCY In addition to developmental workshops, the National Playwrights Conference is delighted to offer participating writers a month-long residency at the O’Neill’s ninety-acre seaside property — including full room and board, as well as a stipend. We welcome you to use this time however you see fit. Many playwrights continue to reflect and revise their play while others begin new projects, and others still use this time to retreat and recharge. Playwrights in residence are welcome to attend the rehearsals, readings, and presentations of their peers' work, as well as their own: we’ve found that one of the most valuable elements of an O’Neill summer is its strong community of fellow writers, artists, and theater-makers — which endures long after the summer conferences have drawn to a close.
  • history
    Since its founding in 1964, the National Playwrights Conference has developed over 700 plays; the overwhelming majority of which have gone on to countless productions worldwide. The Conference was first lead artistic director Lloyd Richards (1969-1999), and subsequently by Jim Houghton (2000-03). The current artistic director, Wendy C. Goldberg, has been at the helm of the National Playwrights Conference since 2005. > Discover the new plays we've developed by decade.
  • artistic director
    Wendy C. Goldberg is in her 14th season as Artistic Director of the National Playwrights Conference. Wendy also leads the O'Neill's National Directors Fellowship, now in its third year. Under Goldberg's tenure, the O'Neill was awarded the 2010 Regional Tony Award, the first play development and education organization to receive this honor. In addition, Goldberg has overseen the development of more than 90 projects for the stage, many of which have gone on to great acclaim with productions in New York, London, and around the country. Among them are the 2010 and 2012 Susan Smith Blackburn Award-winning plays (Julia Cho's The Language Archive and Jennifer Haley's The Nether), two American Theatre Critics Association Citation Award-winning Plays (Lee Blessing's Great Falls and Deb Zoe Laufer's End Days), and 2009 Pulitzer Prize Winner for Drama (Lynn Nottage's Ruined), written in part while Nottage was a Writer-in-Residence at the O'Neill in the summer of 2006. In 2005, Goldberg included playwright Samuel D. Hunter, now an Obie and MacArthur Award-winning playwright, in her first season as Artistic Director when he was still a student at the MFA Playwrights Workshop at the University of Iowa. Other critically acclaimed work developed at the O'Neill during Ms. Goldberg's tenure includes Lindsay Ferrentino's Ugly Lies The Bone, Mike Lew's Tiger Style!, Deborah Zoe Laufer's Leveling Up, Adam Bock's The Receptionist, Rebecca Gilman's The Crowd You're in With, Jason Grote's 1001, and Julia Cho's Durango. In addition to re-establishing the Conference a leader in the field, Ms. Goldberg has created domestic and international collaborations with theaters such as the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta, the Goodman Theatre in Chicago, and in Ireland with the Abbey Theater and Druid Theatre Company. She is the first woman to lead the Conference in its 54-year history. Ms. Goldberg herself is an award-winning director whose credits include world premieres, revivals, classics, and musicals at the most esteemed theaters in the country, including: Arena Stage, the Guthrie, the Goodman, Denver Center, the Alliance, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Center Stage, Actors Theater of Louisville, Signature Theater, Paper Mill Playhouse, Philadelphia Theater Company and off-Broadway at Ars Nova, The Daryl Roth 2, and McGinn-Cazale. Wendy was represented on Broadway as Creative Advisor to the long running Rock of Ages. She has directed work in every major play developmental program in the country. As Artistic Associate at Arena Stage for five seasons, Ms. Goldberg helped to create the theater's new play initiatives and led them from their inception through 2005. American Theatre magazine has described her as "one of the most promising theater artists working today." Other than the theater's founder, Zelda Fichandler, she is the youngest director to have directed for Arena Stage in its 50 year history, making her main stage debut at the age of 26 with the revival of K2 in celebration of the company's 50th anniversary. Ms. Goldberg is a visiting faculty member at the Iowa Playwrights Workshop and the Yale School of Drama. She has served on panels for the NEA and TCG, and has served as a judge for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize as well as a guest at the Commercial Theater Institute through the Broadway League. Ms. Goldberg has served on the Executive Board of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society for 11 years and has been a Tony Voter since 2005. She is an honors graduate of the University of Michigan (BA) and holds a MFA in Directing from UCLA's School of Theater, Film, and Television where she received the Distinguished Alumna Award in 2014.
  • open submission process
    The National Playwrights Conference is delighted to accept script submissions from playwrights of all stripes. We hold our mission of discovering and amplifying the voices of new plays and playwrights in high esteem, and remain committed to maintaining the open, blind submissions policy that has been place since the inception of the National Playwriting Conference itself. To that end, we don’t require those submitting to have an agent or letter of nomination to apply; rather, we only ask that you have the right to work in the United States. Our literary offices typically receive between 1,200 and 1,500 scripts annually, and a small volunteer corps of 200+ professional theatermakers — directors and dramaturgs, actors and designers, critics and administrators — reads every submission in its entirety. Every submission is considered with care and appreciation, undergoing a rigorous evaluation process in which form, content, and developmental goals are meticulously reviewed and discussed. At the end of this six-month process, eight outstanding plays — chosen for their artistic excellence, originality of voice, singularity of perspective, and developmental potential — are selected for workshop residencies at the O’Neill. The submission fee is $35. This covers the costs of the process itself — its organization, administration, and reading. We recognize that this can be prohibitive, and the O'Neill is actively making efforts to reduce this fee, most notably with the establishment of the Wendy Wasserstein Endowment Fund. As this endowment continues to grow, we hope to eventually reduce and eliminate the fee in its entirety, ensuring that submission process remains open and equitable to all.
  • submission info
    The 2019 National Playwrights Conference will accept applications from September 13, 2018 through October 12, 2018 at 11:59pm PST. If you are interested in submitting a play for our consideration, please review our submission guidelines below. Be sure to sign up to email updates, too: that way, you’ll be the first to know when our application window opens. > View NPC Online Submission Guidelines > View NPC Hard Copy Submission Guidelines > Sign-up for NPC updates Eligibility Requirements: You must be 18 years of age and have the right to work within the United States. The play must not have had a professional production, or be scheduled to have a professional production, prior to August 2019. A professional production means that the artists working on the show were compensated for their time, and that all of the theatrical elements one hopes to see in a production were present. You may submit one original or adapted work, providing that the rights to any material not in the public domain have been granted in writing, and a copy of the release is sent along with the script. We develop all genres and styles of drama, including one-acts and solo pieces. NPC does not develop music theater works, though you may submit such work to the National Music Theater Conference. While we accept work that has been submitted to NPC in previous years, we recommend that you share new work with us each year. Only complete applications will be accepted, whether in hard copy or electronic form. > Start your application!
  • frequently asked questions
    We’ve compiled a list of frequently asked questions for your convenience below. However, if you would prefer to speak directly to a member of our literary staff, you’re more than welcome: we gladly devote much of our year to facilitating this process, and we’re always happy to speak with playwrights. You can reach the literary office via email at, or by phone at 860-443-5378 ext. 227. > Review our frequently asked questions
  • 2018 summer season
    > Discover the 2018 National Playwrights Conference The O'Neill's intensive national reach from the Open Submissions process also serves the larger theater community by spotlighting 45-65 finalist plays to peer theaters for development and production. > See the 2018 NPC FInalists
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