In partnership with the Playwrights’ Center

Venturous Playwright Fellowship

Supporting playwrights through the advancement of ambitious, risk-taking, and innovative plays by providing writers with residency funding and production grants for partner theaters.

The Venturous Playwright Fellowship at the Playwrights’ Center

Venturous Theater Fund and the Playwrights’ Center have partnered on a fellowship program that supports playwrights through the advancement of ambitious, risk-taking, and innovative plays by providing writers with two years of residency funding and production advocacy at partner theaters. 

The Venturous Playwright Fellowship is awarded through a combination of nomination and application. A diverse group of playwrights generates nominations via a list of venturous plays that is shared with producing theaters of all sizes across the country. Interested theaters and nominated playwrights form partnerships to apply for the fellowship, the recipients of which are selected by a panel of theater industry leaders. Three fellowships are awarded for each two-year fellowship cycle.

Venturous Playwright Fellowships at the Playwrights’ Center include a two-year, $25,000 per year playwright stipend (for a total of $50,000 of direct support to each fellow), over $15,000 in development and holistic artist support, and travel/housing to attend the PlayLabs Festival to engage with the work of other artists and connect with theater professionals. The Fellowship also includes a production subsidy of up to $75,000 that supports the theaters’ productions of the Venturous plays.

In addition, the Playwrights’ Center and Venturous Theater Fund invite theaters across the country to embrace the nominated plays via the Playwrights’ Center’s Venturous List. We hope they will join us in supporting challenging, adventurous, and epic theatrical work.

Current and past fellowship recipients are listed below.

This program was originally conceived in partnership with the Lark Theater, and was formerly known as the Lark Venturous Playwright Fellowship. We do not accept unsolicited nominations or submissions.

Photo of the three 2023-25 Venturous Playwright Fellows

Tornado Tastes Like Aluminum Sting by Harmon dot aut

Partnered with Spectrum Theatre Ensemble and Contemporary American Theater Festival

Another Kind of Silence by L M Feldman

Partnered with City Theatre Company, Curious Theatre, and The VORTEX

Mother of Exiles by Jessica Huang

Partnered with Florida Studio Theatre

Visit the Playwrights’ Center website for more information about the fellows and their plays.

“The Sensational Sea Mink-ettes” by Vivian J.O. Barnes

The Sea Mink-ettes are the best dance team around and homecoming is their time to shine. As the big day creeps closer, petty infighting and the quest for perfection threaten to tear the group apart—and then three of their teammates suddenly go missing. And the darkness around them keeps growing. And the world keeps going and going and going.

“Eternal Life, Part I”  by Nathan Alan Davis

Produced by Wilma Theater

A play exploring unreasonable longings, impossible tasks, cosmic jokes, and the inevitability of death. Originally commissioned by Williamstown Theatre Festival in Williamstown, MA.

“THE WOODS.” by Jahna Ferron-Smith

A play that explores our learned relationships to the “American” landscape—who’s taught to love it? Who’s taught to fear it? Who’s allowed access to it?—and the consequences those cultural narratives have on young Black Americans only just learning what being Black in today’s “American landscape” might mean for them.

Learn more about the 2021-2022 recipients

“Trigger” by Sam Chanse​

When Lee recognizes a childhood friend in a video of a racist rant that goes viral, bringing on a swift backlash of vicious — and viciously misogynistic — attacks, Lee’s sister urges Lee to reach out. Against everything her instincts are telling her, Lee does. A play about the fury around and within us, and what happens next.

“Passing” by Dipika Guha​

On National Sorry Day, an artist called Matilda tells her story. It’s about a couple of ill-matched English colonists who are trying to make their marriage work. That is, until a young girl, raw and bloodied, enters the frame. Passing is a play about love, possession, and an impossible forgiveness.

“Incendiary” by Dave Harris

Produced by Woolly Mammoth Theater Company 

Incendiary tells the journey of Tanya, a Black single mother who is preparing to break her death row-bound son out of prison. She navigates the practical steps of planning her son’s prison break, like purchasing guns, getting a personal trainer, and preparing her daughter for a lonely life ahead. A collision between the absurd and the tragic, Incendiary explores generational violence, heroism, and the gendered expectations of emotional labor in Black families.

Learn more about the 2019-2020 recipients

“For Want of a Horse” by Olivia Dufault

Calvin loves Q-Tip. Calvin is a human. Q-Tip is a horse. A radically empathetic look into the world of zoophilia.

“Teenage Dick” by Mike Lew

Produced by Ma-Yi Theater Company

A hilarious take on Shakespeare’s classic tale of power lust, Teenage Dick reimagines the most famous disabled character of all time as a 16-year-old outsider in the deepest winter of his discontent: his junior year at Roseland High.  Picked on because of his cerebral palsy (as well as his sometimes creepy Shakespearean way of speaking), Richard is determined to have his revenge and make his name by becoming president of the senior class. But as he manipulates and crushes the obstacles to his electoral success, Richard finds himself faced with a decision he never expected would be his to make: is it better to be loved or feared?

“Today Is My Birthday” by Susan Soon He Stanton

Produced by Page 73 Productions

Emily is a would-be writer whose bubble life in NYC has popped. Finding life back home chaotic and unfulfilling, she becomes strangely activated after creating a sassy alter-ego for a radio bit. Told through a playful mixture of live radio, voicemail, and phone calls, Today Is My Birthday is a quirky comedy about life with a thousand friends on Facebook and no one to have dinner with on Saturday night.

Vivian Barnes, Nathan Alan Davis, and Jahna Ferron-Smith
Sam Chanse, Dipika Guha, and Dave Harris

Note: All production subsidy grants are made through the Venturous Theater Fund of the Tides Foundation and are subject to approval.