What's Happening!

  • THIS WEEK WE'RE WORKSHOPPING TWO COMMISSIONS

    We’re delighted to have nearly 20 artists in the building this week working on two of our current commissions. We’ll have a presentation of each, but seating is very limited – let us know if you can join and we’ll send along the info

    The Woman’s Party by Rinne Groff, directed by GT Upchurch — Friday, Dec 7th at 1:00pm.  and Spindle Shuttle Needle by Gab Reisman, directed by Tamilla Woodard — Saturday, Dec 8th at 3:30pmRSVP to joan@clubbedthumb.org

  • CELEBRATE THE HOLIDAYS WITH CLUBBED THUMB

    Join us as we celebrate all we’ve done in 2018! There’ll be a big pot of gløgg, dancing around the tree, our signature strange and unusual traditions — and who knows, YOU might be the Troll King this year. It’s free – but do RSVP so we know how large of a marzipan pig to make

  • SUPERLAB RETURNS

    We’re back in Superlab this week, working on We Are Radios, by Chana Porter, with composer Ted Hearne, directed by Adam Greenfield and featuring Bill Buell, Tomás Cruz, Gregg Mozgala, Alex Flores, Kristine Haruna Lee and Annette O’Toole. Join us on Friday, Oct 12th at 3pm to hear the play —
    RSVP to joan@clubbedthumb.org

  • QUINN CORBIN JOINS THE CLUBBED THUMB STAFF AS ADVANCEMENT DIRECTOR

    We first met Quinn many years ago, when she was working as a literary agent for Gersh; in fact it was she who sent us a play by and urged us to meet with a talented young playwright named Jaclyn Backhaus. Since then, Quinn has been building her skills with fundraising and events, as well as reading plays and adjudicating awards for institutions across the country–and so comes to us with the perfect mix of experiences we were looking for. She’s great, we’re lucky to have her on our team, and we can’t wait for you to get to know her at an upcoming event.

  • MEET THE 2018/2019 EARLY-CAREER WRITERS' GROUP

    We’re excited to introduce you to (and get to know ourselves) eight writers, nominated by our mid-career alumni community, who will meet over the coming season – culminating in presentations of their work during Summerworks. They are: Alexander Paris, April Ranger, Emma Goidel, Lily Akerman, Lizzie Stern, Sanaz Toossi, T. Adamson and Zhu Yi – learn more about them HERE

  • THANKS FOR COMING TO INDEED, FRIEND!

    Thank you to the many people who made it out to our workshop production of INDEED, FRIEND! by Eliza Bent, directed by Knud Adams, a co-production with Playwrights Horizons Theater School. Click HERE to check out some photos from the show

  • ANNOUNCING A NEW OPEN-APPLICATION COMMISSIONING OPPORTUNITY FOR WRITERS OF COLOR

    Like our Biennial Commission, this application asks that writers respond to a series of prompts with a proposal for a full-length play, which will be read without the readers’ knowledge of the writer’s identity. One or more writers will be awarded (or will share) a $15,000 commission. Read more and submit HERE

  • ANNOUNCING THE 2018/2019 DIRECTING FELLOWS

    We are excited to introduce you to the incoming cohort of Directing Fellows: Tara Ahmadinejad, Sarah Blush and Kate Eminger. 

    This fall they’ll develop plays by Sarah Einspanier, Amina Henry and Bryna Turner with student actors from Playwrights Horizons Theater School, and in January we’ll present those plays with professional casts at our fourth-annual WINTERWORKS.

    Read more about the directors and the program HERE.

ANNOUNCING A NEW OPEN-APPLICATION COMMISSIONING OPPORTUNITY FOR WRITERS OF COLOR

Like our Biennial Commission, this application asks that writers respond to a series of prompts with a ten-page piece of initial writing and a one-page proposal for a full-length play, which will be read without the readers’ knowledge of the writer’s identity. One or more writers will be awarded (or will share) a $15,000 commission. Unlike the Biennial Commission, which is open to all writers, submissions for this award are open only to writers of color.

For this commission, Clubbed Thumb is interested in plays that employ alternative structures and shapes. We ask you to consider one of five alternative play shapes–landscape, spider web, nesting dolls, circle, double helix–and craft a proposal for how you will employ that play shape to best suit the story you wish to tell. This is subjective, of course, and meant to trigger the imagination, not be academic analysis. Some examples of what we mean:

Landscape: in which we learn about the world through accumulation
Our Town by Thornton Wilder is structured a bit like a landscape painting–we are introduced to everything all at once and Wilder zooms in and out of the landscape in order to tell the story.
Other examples might include: Wilder Gone, God’s Ear, Mlima’s Tale

Spider Web: in which we learn through disparate scenes that seem disconnected but are linked at odd angles and actually cohere around a central theme or argument
Booty Candy by Robert O’Hara could be seen as a spider web play–at first each scene feels like a vignette exploring a discrete idea, however, as more and more divergent worlds are explored we begin to realize that each world is connected in exploration of a single theme.
Other examples might include: Lear (Young Jean Lee), Doll’s House Pt. 2, Of Government

Nesting Dolls: in which we learn through analogies and juxtaposition
Mr Burns, a Post-Electric Play by Anne Washburn might be seen as a play shaped like a set of nesting dolls–each act is its own entity and the dramatic movement lies in building out from what came before.
Other examples might include: Fairview, An Octoroon, Barbecue

Circle: in which we learn through reflection
Fefu and Her Friends by Maria Irene Fornes might be a circle play. The most important dramatic events happen in the middle; act one leads us into these events and act three deals with the aftermath; the end of the play reflects themes that are present in the beginning of the play.
Other examples might include: A Map of Virtue, The Aliens, Father Comes Home From the Wars

Double Helix: in which we learn through thematic associations between the narrative threads
Stop Kiss by Diana Son could be a double helix play – the story is told in two threads simultaneously–what happened before and what happened after the inciting event–with thematic links between these narratives.
Other examples might include: Midsummer Night’s Dream (might be a triple helix), We are Proud to Present…, The Tomb of King Tot

You are also welcome to propose your own unconventional play shape. Should you choose to do that, be rigorous and make the case for it.

Your proposed play should also include the following:
1) At least three characters in every scene (no two character scenes)
2) Some simultaneous talking
3) Some found or repurposed text
4) A character pretending to be someone else
5) No indoor spaces

These things can be in the 10-page sample, or be referred to in proposal.

(Many thanks to Erin Courtney for developing this prompt with us.)


To Apply: Submit the following through the form below

(this is a BLIND submission, see notes below)

1) A one-page letter of intent describing your proposed project;
2) 10 exploratory pages from the proposed project (either contiguous or from different sections of the proposed play);
3) One of your finished plays, for reference;
4) Your resume

Important Notes


No names please — on the letter, the 10 page sample or the finished play for reference, or in any file names. The panel reads all submissions BLIND — the only place your name should appear is on the info form and on your resume.

The letter of intent should briefly map out the proposed piece, how you will use the chosen shape to tell the story and, if need be, orient the reader to the excerpt’s relationship to the whole. You needn’t explain or repeat anything that your 10 page sample makes clear. Then give us an idea of where the piece is coming from and where you think you want to go with it.

We ask you to include one of your finished plays for reference. Note (where prompted in the form) any relationship or similarities the complete play has to the proposed project, and recommend 10 pages for us to start with.

One last thing: this is a commission for Clubbed Thumb. So look around our website at our guidelines and production history for reference, if they are not familiar to you. Many of our plays have been published individually or in our anthology, “Funny, Strange, Provocative”, and are widely available to read.

DEADLINE: MONDAY, OCTOBER 8th, 11:59PM EST

The proposals will be read and adjudicated over the course of the fall, and the commission(s) awarded by the end of 2018. The $15,000 commission — which might be split between writers if the panel so elects — will be paid out in three installments every six months, with the first installment following the signing of a contract.


Submissions for our 2018 commission are now closed. We will announce the winning proposal(s) by the end of the year. Send questions to info[at]clubbedthumb.org

Wilder Gone, Summerworks ’18

Enfrascada, Summerworks ’11

Of Government, Summerworks ’17

Takarazuka!!! Summerworks ’12

Men on Boats, 2016

The Tomb of King Tot, Summerworks ’16