What is Dramaturgy?
When the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation announced a $2 million challenge grant for Baltimore Center Stage to establish the nation's first dramaturgy endowment, the first question out of many mouths was simple: "What is a dramaturg?"
The Foundation has enthusiastically endorsed the answer developed over the last 20 years by Baltimore Center Stage: a dramaturg is an integral component of an artistically driven theater or theatrical production - and is worth significant financial support as well.
Baltimore Center Stage has one of the country's largest and most accomplished Dramaturgical departments. Our dramaturgy staff includes a full-time resident dramaturg and a part-time Associate Artist. Visit their official blog!
Gavin Witt, Associate Artistic Director/Director of Dramaturgy, came to Baltimore Center Stage in 2003 as Resident Dramaturg, having served in that role previously at several Chicago theaters. As a dramaturg, he has worked on well over 60 plays, from classics to new commissions—including play development workshops and freelance dramaturgy for TCG, The Playwrights Center, The New Harmony Project, The Old Globe, Bay Area Playwrights Festival, Contemporary American Theatre Festival, the Kennedy Center, and others. A graduate of Yale and the University of Chicago, he was active in Chicago theater for more than a decade as an actor, director, dramaturg, translator, and teacher, not to mention co-founder of greasy joan & co. theater, while serving as a regional Vice President of LMDA, the national association of dramaturgs. He has been on the faculty of the University of Chicago and DePaul University, and currently teaches at Towson University.
Hot Desk Playwright Residencies
Selected playwrights are given a space to work, time to dedicate to writing, insight into the production process, and dramaturgical and developmental resources. This year’s Hot Desk Playwright is Rachael Knoblauch.
To our friends and colleagues in the community of playwrights:
To serve our local community of artists and best honor our designation as the State Theater of Maryland—and because of the practical limits imposed by considerations such as programming slots and volume of plays under commission—we will only be able to consider new-play inquiries from Maryland-based writers.
If you are an un-agented playwright from outside the state, we sympathize and realize how difficult it can be to get new scripts considered. There are, in and around Baltimore and Washington, numerous theaters and developmental bodies dedicated to producing new work who would welcome the chance to hear from you. We encourage you to seek them out, and to that end here’s a small sampling of some groups just here in Baltimore that we believe would be receptive to new work:
- Rep Stage
- Glass Mind Theatre
- EMP Collective
- Iron Crow Theatre
- Baltimore Playwrights Festival
- Single Carrot Theatre
- Cohesion Theatre Company
- Interrobang Theatre Company
- Acme Corporation
If you are a Maryland playwright contacting us about a script, please use the following guidelines:
How to be Invited to Submit a Play
If you are interested in having your play considered, please send an inquiry according to the following guidelines. It is not necessary (or helpful) to bind or cover your material, and email inquiries are encouraged.
- Send a brief letter of inquiry and introduction to Gavin Witt, Resident Dramaturg. You may mail this c/o Center Stage, 700 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, MD 21202; or send your inquiry via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Include a brief (1 page or less) synopsis of your piece(s) and a cast breakdown (indicating the total number of actors required).
- Include a script excerpt of up to 10 sequential pages (these don't need to be the opening pages, but if not please provide some basic context).
- You must provide a SASE/P or an e-mail address if you wish a response, including acknowledgment of receipt; if you want your materials returned, please note this and be sure to include sufficient postage to send them back.
- For musicals, please include a CD recording of songs/music.
- You may include a brief bio or resume, or reviews from workshops, readings, or past productions if you like, but these are optional.
Please note that, while we try to get to all submissions promptly, it may take some time for us to evaluate your materials and respond; but so long as you have provided us with the means to reply we will do so if we would like to see a full copy of your work.
Remember: You may ONLY submit an entire script by explicit invitation, or through a literary agent. We regret that we will not be able to read or return any script received without prior invitation.