What act yet mightier yet imagineth
Thy venturous spirit?

The Odyssey, Book IX
(tr. Chapman)

Venturous Playwright Fellowships 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 Theater 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 Theater 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 to this financial and artistic support, Venturous Theater Fellows and their work are promoted by Playwrights’ Center to theaters and audiences across the country via the “Playwrights’ Center’s Venturous List” to encourage the theater community to join us in supporting challenging, adventurous, and epic theatrical work.

The 2023–25 Venturous Theater Fellows will be announced in June 2023.

Visit the Playwrights’ Center website for more information.

This program was originally conceived in partnership with the Lark Theater, and was formerly known as the Lark Venturous Playwright Fellowship.

Note: We do not accept unsolicited nominations or submissions for this program. All prospective production subsidy grants are subject to the approval of the Venturous Theater Fund of the Tides Foundation. 

2021-2022 Fellows

The Sensational Sea Mink-ettes by Vivian 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
A play exploring unreasonable longings, impossible tasks, cosmic jokes, and the inevitability of death. Eternal Life Part I was 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 Fellows

2019-2020 Fellows

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

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 Fellows

2017-2018 Fellows

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.

Supporting Risk-Taking, Experimentation, and Ambition in the Theater