Reading of Jerry Lieblich's ‘D Deb Debbie Deborah’. Photo of Paul Niebanck, Brooke Bloom, Birgit Huppoch, and director Oliver Butler.

Reading of Jerry Lieblich's ‘D Deb Debbie Deborah’. Photo of Paul Niebanck, Brooke Bloom, Birgit Huppoch, and director Oliver Butler.

Reading of ‘Men on Boats’ by Jaclyn Backhaus

Reading of ‘Men on Boats’ by Jaclyn Backhaus

Reading of ‘God is a Good God’ by Miki Johnson.

Reading of ‘God is a Good God’ by Miki Johnson.

Reading of ‘Iowa’ by Jenny Schwartz

Reading of ‘Iowa’ by Jenny Schwartz


New Works Lab

Playwrights Horizons premieres six new American plays and musicals every season. Beyond the marquee lights and behind the scenes, our Literary Department helps scores of playwrights to develop their voices and their new work at all stages of the writing process through a series of programs collectively known as the New Works Lab.

The Lab’s central purpose is to provide writers with developmental opportunities, affording them the time and space to collaborate on unfinished projects and hear their work aloud. In permutations ranging from one-day readings to extensive, week-long workshops, each process is structured to meet the needs of the individual playwright and unique project. Readings are closed to the public, allowing the author to evaluate and revise his or her work in a pressure-free environment.

The New Works Lab also encompasses a range of the Literary Department’s ongoing activities that allow them to discover and support new American writers. Playwrights Horizons is one of the only leading American theaters with an open submission policy, accepting scripts from any playwright — regardless of whether they’re known to us or have been produced on our stages before. Our staff reviews nearly 1,000 submissions each season (and every submission receives a written response); awards three to five new play commissions each season; and attends readings and productions of new work in New York and throughout the country.

SuperLab is a unique new play development collaboration between Playwrights Horizons and downtown new play powerhouse Clubbed Thumb. In 2010, noticing a significant overlap in the writers supported by both theaters, Playwrights Horizons Director of New Play Development Adam Greenfield and Clubbed Thumb Producing Artistic Director Maria Striar conceived of a co-curated series of play laboratories to support the creation of bold, risk-taking new works by living American playwrights and bridge the perceived gap between New York’s “uptown” and “downtown” theater sensibilities, methodologies and artist rosters, expanding the range of experience and opportunity for all. Initially supported by funds granted to Clubbed Thumb by Metlife/Theatre Communications Group’s A-ha! Program, created to foster creative thinking and action among its member theaters, SuperLab has since become a regular part of both theater’s new play development programs, with between four and six week-long, process-driven play labs each season. SuperLab readings are noted in the readings lists below.

To read our submission guidelines, click here. And keep your eye on this page and future bulletins for updates on our ongoing activities.

Read what New Works Lab participants are saying about the program.


2017/18 Projects to Date

By Ariel Stess
Directed by Ken Rus Schmoll
October 6–10, 2017

Dance Nation
By Clare Barron
Directed by Lee Sunday Evans
October 4–5, 2017

Writer Army
in residence at Playwrights Horizons
September 25 – October 1, 2017

This Flat Earth
By Lindsey Ferrentino
Directed by Rebecca Taichman
August 24, 2017

By Lucas Hnath
August 22-24, 2017

New York Deaf Theatre Residency: Sam Edwards New Play Workshop
Directed by Lewis Merkin
Collaborating Artists: Elena Blue, Joey Caverly, Monique Holt, John McGinty, Anne Tomasetti
August 14–18, 2017

I Was Most Alive With You
Written and directed by Craig Lucas
Director of Artistic Sign Language: Sabrina Dennison
July 22–26, 2017


* denotes Playwrights Horizons commission

Past readings

2016/17  2015/16  2014/15  2013/14  
2012/13  2011/12  2010/11


Lead support for the New Works Lab is generously provided by the Time Warner Foundation.

Support is also provided by the Jerome Foundation, the Dorothy Strelsin Foundation, and the Rodgers and Hammerstein Foundation.