What's Happening!


    We’re thrilled to announce that our much beloved production from Summerworks 2017 is headed to The Helen Hayes Theater for a limited run. It’s the first time that Clubbed Thumb will be above-the-title on a Broadway show, so we hope you’ll join us for it! Tickets and info HERE


    Join us for an evening of short-ish new plays directed by our
    18/19 Directing Fellows: Tara Ahmadinejad, Sarah Blush and Kate Eminger directing plays by Sarah Einspanier, Amina Henry and Bryna Turner

    Read more about the directors and RSVP HERE

  • Playwright Vivian Barnes has been awarded our 2018 open-application commission!

    We just met Vivian at our holiday party, and didn’t think we had read her work—-or were about to give her $10,000! We look forward to getting to know her and working together over the next few years.


    The panel–which included Jaclyn Backhaus, Migdalia Cruz, April Matthis, and CT’s Michael Bulger and Maria Striar–read 140 anonymous proposals, selecting Vivian’s for the grand prize, and awarding five finalists $1,000 each: Kori AlstonPhillip HowzeDeneen Reynolds-KnottRuth Tang and Andrea Thome.


    12 semi-finalists were also named: John J Caswell, Jr., Preston Choi, Daniella De Jesus, Noah Diaz, Georgina Escobar, Deepali Gupta, Kristine Haruna Lee, Daniel K. Isaac, Julia Izumi, Garrett Kim, Johnny Lloyd and Maia Matsushita. Congratulations, and thank you to everyone who applied!


    Vivian is only one of the over 40 playwrights we’ll be supporting in 2019 with residencies, retreats, commissions, workshops, writers’ groups and of course, productions.




    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


    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


    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


    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.


    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


WILL: The summer after grad school, I was in Chicago getting ready to move back to New York – scared and uncertain. Suddenly, I got an email from Maria inviting me to be in the Early-Career Writers’ Group. It was the luckiest thing in the world. I would have a creative home base immediately upon arrival. I met so many collaborators and friends through that group – including you, when they asked me to write the play I had proposed about my sisters and the oppressive male hauntings in their lives for the Directing Fellowship.

TAYLOR: When I interviewed for the fellowship with Ken, Anne, Maria, Michael and Otto, they asked me a fairly standard question – what did I want to get out of it? I responded honestly: that I needed major guidance and feedback about how I run a rehearsal room and how to communicate more effectively with actors and collaborators. I wasn’t sure how that would be received (certainly they want someone who knows how to talk to people?!), but I ended up getting precisely what I asked for and more.

The two-part structure of the fellowship is so thoughtful: working with students to explore staging before our actual rehearsal process was a massively helpful way to discover a breathless play like Plano. Also, it’s SO RARE for a group of directors to sit and talk about their process, their work, and theatre in general, so meeting weekly with the other fellows and the mentors, and having them in our rehearsals shifted my way of thinking. Once, after a rehearsal, Ken told me (in the kindest way!) that I “didn’t have to talk so much” and it actually boosted my confidence enormously.

WILL: Then came Winterworks, the barebones production in a rehearsal studio…

TAYLOR: Which involved working with a designer and professional actors, two parts of a theatrical puzzle I rarely get to truly work with. Having the foundation of the months of exploration gave me (and you!) a well of knowledge and instinct to draw from when the actors had questions, as well as a feel for the pacing and rhythm necessary to pull it off. Outside of the actual directing feedback, the most useful part for me was meeting people after each performance – Maria pushed and pulled me and the other fellows around a room to meet people and make us talk about ourselves when all we wanted to do was hang around the snack table – the connections I formed through those conversations (and the amount of people who finally got to see my work!!) were truly invaluable.

WILL: That production was a thrill, and proved we had something really special – and went so well that Maria invited us to expand the play for a Summerworks production. It all happened so fast, but with so much support and trust.

TAYLOR: Directing at Summerworks was my professional debut – I grew immensely as a human and an artist in such a short time. There was an astounding support system in place – but they also knew when I just needed to figure something out on my own. The resilience I built up is something that I’ve taken with me into other projects.

WILL: I know we both felt a little in-over-our-heads at times, and Maria was always there to muscle us through the moment. Maria is brave. She’s a theatrical explorer, an adventurer, maybe even a conquistador. I felt safe with her, but I also definitely felt the danger of the adventure. It was so fun.

One of the most special moments for me was when my sister Lucia came to see the show. Introducing her to the cast afterwards was one of the most important parts of this process. There was just so much love. Here’s a picture ———->

Two years after being in their writers’ group, Clubbed Thumb gave me my first New York production. Miraculously, it was allowed to be this startlingly personal show, whose weird crevices were encouraged and widened, rather than sealed over. Their support was something beyond production or curation – it was holy, skin-of-our-teeth origination. They made me feel real, in all my uncertainties and jags. Clubbed Thumb changed my life.

TAYLOR: And now we’re working on figuring what’s next! So far one application out in the world has both our names on it, and Plano is bound to live again somewhere, somehow.