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The Geffen Playhouse courtyard.

Geffen Playhouse Launches Inaugural Writers’ Room

In a move towards more new-play development, a group of Los Angeles writers will receive one-year residencies at the theatre.

LOS ANGELES: Writers’ rooms aren’t just for television anymore. As part of its new focus on new-play development, the Geffen Playhouse has announced the launch of the Writers’ Room, giving L.A.-based playwrights one-year residencies at the theatre.

“We are committed to fostering new work in and for Los Angeles at the Geffen and this program is an essential part of that mission,” said artistic director Matt Shakman in a statement. “I am thrilled that we are creating a home for Los Angeles-based playwrights, giving them an opportunity to share and shape their work with us and with their peers.”

The Writers’ Room will be led by Rachel Wiegardt-Egel, the Geffen’s newly named manager of New Play Development. A group of playwrights will each receive one-year residences beginning in September. There they can give each other feedback on plays, receive dramaturgical support, work with a director and actors, and read their plays to the public.

In an interview for the April issue of American Theatre, the newly appointed Shakman said that he wants to move the Geffen toward more world premieres. “At the Geffen, we’ve done a lot of second productions of plays that have started elsewhere, and that’s a very worthwhile thing to do because you’re continuing important work,” he said. “But I think I’d like to move us a little more into becoming a new-play generator so we can be starting more of a conversation and doing a little less echoing of it.” (Shakman recently announced his first Geffen season, which contains six world premieres.)

Applications for the Writers’ Room are currently open to any playwrights who reside in Los Angeles. The deadline is May 7.

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