2017 Theatre Lab Application | Sundance Resort, Utah

What’s New for 2017 For those of you who are acquainted with the Sundance Institute Theatre Lab in Utah, there is a structural change happening at our 2017 Theatre Lab (a one-year change). This year the Lab will run for 17 days (instead of 21) and each play will rehearse daily (instead of the customary day-on, day-off schedule. Please note that each project will receive as many…

The application for the 2017 Theatre Lab will be available beginning September 15, 2016

● The deadline for application is November 15, 2016 at 5:00pm EST

● Applicants will be notified on or before April 14, 2017

What’s New for 2017 For those of you who are acquainted with the Sundance Institute Theatre Lab in Utah, there is a structural change happening at our 2017 Theatre Lab (a one-year change). This year the Lab will run for 17 days (instead of 21) and each play will rehearse daily (instead of the customary day-on, day-off schedule. Please note that each project will receive as many days of rehearsal as in past Labs. Each project will work with its own dedicated cast, so creative teams will have their first choice of actors. Actors will not be double cast this year. Fellows (playwright, director, etc) will arrive on the mountain a few days ahead of the acting company, to have time to bond with each other and to hear and learn about each other’s work. The acting company arrives on Day 4. Fellows will also have two days as a group on their own after the actors depart.


JULY 14 JULY 17 JULY 18-27 JULY 28 JULY 30
Fellows Arrive Actors Arrive

Rehearsals followed

by Presentations

Actors Depart Fellows Depart



The Theatre Lab welcomes applications for projects at any stage of development. Submitted work cannot have been previously produced, but may have received prior workshops or readings. In addition, projects scheduled to start rehearsals for a professional production before October 30, 2017 are not eligible for the Lab due to our agreement with Actors’ Equity Association. Commissioned work is eligible for submission; however, playwrights must obtain written permission from their commissioning organization prior to applying.

Playwrights, directors, composers, ensembles, performance artists, or choreographers may submit applications. Playwright/director teams are permitted to apply together; however, Sundance reserves the right, in some cases, to propose alternate directors. If you do not have a director attached to your project, and your play is selected for the Lab, Sundance Institute is positioned to connect you with an experienced director.

Sundance Institute is interested in both established and emerging theatre artists, as well as artists making a transition from areas outside of theatre. We also welcome solo performers. NOTE: Artists may only submit one application. Previous applicants may apply again, but not with previously submitted material.

Project Selection

Through open submissions, we consider an estimated 800+ projects. Sundance Institute looks for original, compelling human stories that reflect the independent vision of the theatre artist. We are interested in supporting a diverse and daring group of theatre artists who tell unique stories, present material in a new form, or conceptualize existing material with an innovative vision. We look for writers and collaborators who are interested in genuinely exploring their material. You should not think of the Theatre Lab as a place to “rehearse”; it is an environment that encourages and supports risk-taking, experimentation, and rigorous re-writing and re-imagining. In order for Sundance Institute to fully evaluate your submission, we require a 1-2 page artistic statement as part of the application (see below for additional information).

Submissions from MENA Theatre-Makers

The Sundance Institute Theatre Program remains committed to international exchange and exposure activities. We are currently engaged in a five-year initiative focused on theatre artists from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) – specifically artists who are creating new theatrical projects in Arabic (classical and dialects). Labs and workshops that take place in the MENA region (and in Berlin for MENA newcomers to Europe) are one reflection of this work. A simultaneous goal is the inclusion of Arabic language artists in our Theatre Lab programming in Utah and at other U.S. venues. To that end, up to two MENA projects will be part of the 2017 Theatre Lab at the Sundance Resort. In our experience, the inclusion of theatre from around the globe, generated in new ways and with new points of view, creates an extraordinary opportunity for the exchange of ideas and working methodologies, enriching the Theatre Lab experience for everyone.

What Sundance Institute Provides

The Sundance Institute Theatre Program provides professional actors, dramaturgs, rehearsal space, and stage management for the collaborative team working on each project. At the 2017 Theatre Lab, projects rehearse daily with a company of actors dedicated to each project. At the end of the Theatre Lab, projects will culminate in an informal presentation for the Lab community only, followed by an artist-led conversation with Sundance Institute artistic staff and/or guest Creative Advisors.

Each full-time Fellow (playwright, director, or other primary collaborator) receives a $1200 honorarium and a company of actors (if applicable), selected by Sundance Institute in collaboration with the Fellows, to support their project. Actors are selected for their professionalism, versatility, and suitability for the development process. American actors operate on a Special Agreement with Actors’ Equity Association. American directors operate on a contract with Stage Directors & Choreographers Association (SDC).

Dramaturgy at Sundance is tailored individually to the needs of the project. Once a project is accepted to the Lab, the generative artists have an opportunity to discuss what kind of dramaturgical support best suits them. Sundance dramaturgs, who have wide experience in the realm of new play development, are uniquely qualified to provide engaged, considered, and empowering guidance to the projects during the Theatre Labs, to offer fresh perspectives on the work at hand, and to ensure the primacy of the participating artist’s independent vision. MENA Arabic-language projects will be supported by Arabic-speaking dramaturgs. The Theatre Lab sees itself as a complement to, not a replacement of, any pre-existing developmental relationships participating artists may have on a given project, and is sensitive to the process of “passing the baton” at the conclusion of the Theatre Lab.

We strongly encourage that each rehearsal room is open to members of the Lab community for quiet observation. If you do not feel comfortable allowing colleagues to observe your rehearsal process, the Sundance Institute Theatre Program may not be the most appropriate place for you.

Giving Back to Sundance Institute Sundance Institute

was founded by Robert Redford as a way to give back, to support other film and theatre artists by providing them with an opportunity to develop their projects and skills. Sundance Institute does not accept royalties on projects supported by the Theatre Program. Artists own their work fully, but are required to publish Sundance Institute’s logo, bio, staff listing, and credit:

“[Title of Project] was developed, in part, at the 2017 Sundance Institute Theatre Lab”

This credit is required on the title page of all printed materials of future readings, workshops, productions, recordings, and publications of their projects. This and other requirements are detailed in a Memo of Understanding that Sundance Institute enters into with the generators of each project. Please call the Theatre Program at (646) 822-9564 with any questions.

How to Apply

Step One

Complete the online application form and upload your materials electronically. Materials to include:

● Script Draft of your play or musical (unprotected Word or PDF document)

● Artistic Statement (If applying as a playwright/director team, Sundance Institute requires a statement from both the playwright and director)

● Describe the status of the project, including prior readings and workshops, and what you hope to accomplish at the Lab. Include comments on the content, style of the piece, and the team’s objectives for the workshop.

● Resumes/Bios for each collaborator

● Letter of permission from a commissioning organization (if applicable)

● $35 non-refundable application processing fee payable by credit card (waived for MENA applicants)
NOTE TO MENA APPLICANTS: Materials must be submitted directly to [email protected]. Applications are accepted in Arabic, English and French.

NOTE: If you do not have access to the Internet, please call the Theatre Program at +1-646-822-9564 and we will work with you to submit your materials using alternative methods. Please make every effort to utilize the online application as it ensures the safe delivery of your application and supports the Sundance Institute’s environmental stewardship.


The application will open on September 15, 2016. The window of submission will be Sept 15 – Nov 15, 2016. The deadline for submission is November 15, 2016 at 5:00pm EST.


Applicants can find answers to many questions in the FAQ section. If you have additional questions, please email [email protected]. Applicants from MENA please email [email protected].

News from elsewhere 2016/09/29

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