New Play Development

At Woolly Mammoth, we launch bold new theatrical ideas with the highest possible production values and a deeply engaged audience. We stand out as one of America’s few major theaters with a subscription season exclusively devoted to new work. Over the last thirty-nine years we have experimented with many different approaches, responded to feedback from dozens of playwrights and directors, and both absorbed and led important changes in the field. 

The resources we currently devote to new play development include a company of artists that includes playwrights, directors, designers, and actors; a dramaturgical staff that works closely with our connectivity department to build research partnerships with federal and local experts; and a beautiful 265-seat theater in the heart of the nation’s capital. Unlike the cramped storefronts in which risky new work typically premieres, our theater provides state-of-the-art technology and a soaring space that challenges artists to imagine events of the highest theatricality. Above all, Woolly Mammoth offers artists a youthful, open-minded audience that has embraced our unique mission to push the form and content of American theater in brave new directions.

World Premieres and Commissions

World premieres make up a significant percentage of the plays we produce; the remainder generally consists of plays receiving their second or third productions, giving playwrights and generative artists a further opportunity to hone their work.

New plays premiered at Woolly Mammoth have been produced from New York to London to Helsinki, in more than 250 theaters all over the world. Woolly plays have gone on to extended runs Off-Broadway and productions at a wide variety of regional theaters (both large and very small) and have been produced at colleges and universities across the country. Seventeen plays that premiered at Woolly Mammoth have been commercially published, including six in Plays from Woolly Mammoth (Broadway Play Publishing, 1999). Woolly Mammoth was also the national pilot theater for First Look Press (a division of Playscripts, Inc.), which makes printed scripts available to audiences from the first preview.

Thanks to our “Free the Beast!” fund, Woolly has given three full commissions and four completion commissions to playwrights since 2012, with more on the way. These writers include Aaron Posner, whose Stupid Fucking Bird received the Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding New Play, and the Helen Hayes Award-winning Robert O’Hara, whose Woolly premiere Bootycandy debuted in New York at Playwrights Horizons in the fall of 2014. Other commissioned writers include Mia Chung, Nikkole Salter, Lisa D’Amour, Sheila Callaghan, and Gregory S. Moss.

New Play Development Partnerships

Woolly Mammoth’s charter membership in the National New Play Network highlights its national role in new play development. In our 2010/11 season, we participated in the NNPN “rolling world premiere” of Luis Alfaro’s Oedipus el Rey alongside The Magic Theatre and The Theater at Boston Court. In our 2013/14 season, we produced Peter Sinn Nachtrieb’s The Totalitarians in a rolling world premiere with New Orleans’ Southern Repertory Theatre and San Francisco’s Z Space.

Additionally, Woolly Mammoth collaborates with a network of colleagues across the country who have contributed space, expertise, and other resources to many Woolly world premieres in development. These partners include Playwrights Horizons, The Lark, New Dramatists, The Public Theater, The Civilians, The Lake George Theater Lab, Seattle Repertory Theatre, The Black Women Playwright’s Group, The Wexner Center, and others.

Submissions

Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company does not accept unsolicited scripts. However, in an effort to support the Washington, DC artistic community, we do accept unsolicited ten-page samples exclusively from writers living in the DC area. Before submitting material, we strongly encourage you to read our mission statement, research our production history, and/or see a production here in order to acquire a sense of Woolly Mammoth’s interests and aesthetic.

To be considered, please send a letter of inquiry, a synopsis of your play, and a ten-page sample. All material must be submitted electronically to the following e-mail address: submissions@woollymammoth.net. You will receive an automatic electronic confirmation that we received your submission. If we would like to request the full script, we will contact you again.