MISSION & PROGRAMS
Clubbed Thumb commissions, develops and produces funny, strange and provocative new plays by living American writers. Clubbed Thumb is a groundbreaker, with a precise curatorial vision and a remarkable track record for launching artists’ careers; and an incubator, nurturing plays, collaborations, and above all artists, through thoughtfully deployed resources, opportunities, mentorship and hospitality.
Clubbed Thumb’s plays vary in style and content, but are always 90 minutes or under. They feature substantial and challenging roles for both men and women, are questioning, formally inventive, theatrical, and exhibit a sense of humor. Since its founding in 1996, the company has presented nearly 100 productions, and has been awarded 5 Obies, including the Ross Wetzsteon award for sustained excellence.
In SUMMERWORKS, now in its 22nd year, we produce an aesthetically diverse season of three new plays, each of which has two weeks of performances. It often provides a writers’ first professional opportunity – Clare Barron and Gina Gionfriddo had their first shows in Summerworks; Sarah Ruhl, Jordan Harrison and Lisa D’Amour made their NYC debuts.
Outside of Summerworks we have also produced plays by Deborah Eisenberg, Mac Wellman, Jeffrey Jones, Erin Courtney, Rinne Groff, Adam Bock, Jordan Harrison, Sheila Callaghan and, in 2016, a re-mount of Jaclyn Backhaus’s Men On Boats.
Clubbed Thumb has two paths to commissioning: The Clubbed Thumb Biennial Commission, a $15,000 award, which has an open-application process in which submissions are read blind (7 plays to date); and commissions via other organizations, primarily NYSCA (12 plays). Currently commissioned: Jenny Schwartz, Madeleine George, Rinne Groff and Alex Borinsky.
Clubbed Thumb offers several development programs:
Superlab: a five-play development series co-curated with Playwrights Horizons.
The Clubbed Thumb Writers’ Group: eight mid-career alumni playwrights develop their work over 12 three-hour sessions. Culminates in an annual retreat at Two River Theatre in July.
Other activity includes: Script-revision workshops of plays by new, alumni, and commissioned playwrights; staging & design workshops; occasional co-productions with Playwrights Horizons Theater School and an open play submission policy.
Early-Career Writers’ Group: Eight playwrights and mentors are nominated by our mid-career alumni playwrights. In addition to regular meetings, the writers create a collaborative piece to open Summerworks, and each writer has a reading during Summerworks as well.
Early-Career Directing Fellowship: CT directors Anne Kauffman and Ken Rus Schmoll mentor three early-career directors in a five-month new play directing intensive. Each director is paired with an early/mid-career playwright to develop a new piece with students at Playwrights Horizons Theater School over the course of three months. This is followed by a three-week process with professional actors, stage managers and designers, culminating in workshop presentations.
Producing Fellowship: Two early-career creative producers assist on all programming, as well as casting, script evaluation, management and marketing under the guidance/mentorship of Clubbed Thumb staff, culminating in hands-on roles in Summerworks.