New Play Development
At Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, we believe that new theatrical works must be performed before an audience in order to fully activate and refine them. We stand out as one of America’s few major theatres with a subscription season devoted entirely to new work. Over the last thirty-one 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. This experience has inspired Woolly Mammoth to make a rare pledge: to devote all of our artistry, expertise, and resources to developing only those new plays which we have committed to fully produce.
These resources include an acting company with decades of new play experience, a dramaturgical staff with research connections to Washington’s universities, museums, and government, award-winning resident designers, and a new 265-seat theatre in the heart of the nation’s capital. Unlike the cramped storefronts where edgy new work typically premieres, our theatre provides state-of-the-art technology and a soaring space that challenges playwrights to imagine events of the highest theatricality. Above all, Woolly Mammoth offers playwrights a youthful, open-minded audience which has responded to the theatre’s unique mission to push the language, content, and style of American theatre in new directions.
World Premieres & Commissions
World premieres make up nearly half of the plays produced by Woolly Mammoth, and the remainder generally consists of plays receiving their second or third productions, giving playwrights a further opportunity to hone their scripts. Plays commissioned by Woolly Mammoth have included Jump/Cut by Neena Beber (produced in 2002), The Radiant Abyss by Angus MacLachlan (produced in 2004), and Grace by Craig Wright (produced in 2005) – all of which were supported by a grant from ASK Theatre Projects in Los Angeles.
New plays developed and premiered at Woolly Mammoth have been produced from Utah to Helsinki, in more than 200 theatres in 39 states and 12 countries. Woolly plays have gone on to extended runs Off-Broadway and productions at a wide variety of regional theatres (both large and very small), and have been produced at colleges and universities across the country. Seventeen plays 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 theatre for First Look Press (a division of Playscripts, Inc.), which makes printed scripts available to audiences from the first preview.
National New Play Network
Woolly Mammoth’s charter membership in the National
New Play Network highlights its national role in new play development.
The mission of this vibrant group of 20 theatres is to extend the production
lives of original works created by smaller theatres across the country.
With the NNPN, Woolly Mammoth commissioned David Bucci to write Possum
Carcass. 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.
Woolly Mammoth Theatre 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: email@example.com. 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. Thank you for your interest in Woolly Mammoth Theatre.
Naomi Jacobson and Polly Noonan in the world premiere of Dead Man's Cell Phone (2007)
J. Paul Nicholas and Jessica Frances Dukes in the world premiere of Starving (2005), winner of the Charles MacArthur Award for Outstanding New Play or Musical