Mission and Programs

“365 Days/365 Plays Week 10” by Suzan-Lori Parks, photo by Sam Breslin Wright

“U.S. Drag” by Gina Gionfriddo, photo by Amanda Alic

“Downwinders” by Erin Courtney, photo by Scott Adkins

“Amazons and Their Men” by Jordan Harrison, photo by Carl Skutsch

Clubbed Thumb commissions, develops and produces funny, strange and provocative new plays by living American writers. Since its founding in 1996, the company has earned five Obies including the Ross Wetzsteon Award for sustained artistic excellence. We have presented plays in every form of development, including over 90 full productions.

Our plays vary in style and content, but are always intermission-less, 90 minutes or under, and un-produced in New York City. They feature substantial and challenging roles for both men and women, are questioning, formally inventive, theatrical, and, somewhere in the text, they contain a sense of humor. While our emphasis is emerging artists, we provide a home for artists at all stages of their careers to make unique work and take risks in a safe and well-supported environment.

In 20 seasons many now well-established playwrights, including Sarah Ruhl, Gina Gionfriddo, Jordan Harrison, Lisa D’Amour and Rinne Groff made their New York and in some cases professional debut in Summerworks. Accolades awarded our alumni artists include the Pulitzer short-list, Tony, MacArthur, Steinberg, Kesselring, as well as numerous Susan Smith Blackburn, Guggenheim, Whiting and Obie Awards. In 2014 alone work that has been developed with Clubbed Thumb has been produced at Playwrights Horizons, Mark Taper Forum, Actor’s Theater of Louisville, South Coast Rep, Victory Gardens, Tricycle Theater in London, San Francisco Playhouse, and more.

Clubbed Thumb is proudly the inaugural recipient of the Playwrights Horizons space residency, which provides office, rehearsal and development space in PH’s downtown facility at 440 Lafayette. Read more HERE.

Every June we present Summerworks, our annual festival of new plays and our cornerstone programming. The festival features productions of three new plays, a night of devised work made for the occasion and readings by our early-career writers. In 2017 we will present our 22nd Summerworks.

Throughout the year we support the development of works-in-progress through The Greenhouse, a suite of services an opportunities for playwrights including:

Superlab – a program co-curated and co-produced with Playwrights Horizons. Over the course of a season, five playwrights each get a week-long development lab.

New Play Boot Camp – intensive script revision workshops for new, alumni, and commissioned playwrights.

Staging and Design Workshops – pre-rehearsal work to establish a physical vocabulary for plays slated for production.

Writers’ GroupsThe Clubbed Thumb Writers’ Group (CTWG) invites eight mid-career alumni to develop their work over 12 three-hour sessions. The Early-Career Writers’ Group hosts eight early-career playwrights each mentored by an alumni playwright.

The Clubbed Thumb Directing Fellowship – a five month new play directing intensive, under the guidance of Clubbed Thumb alumni artists Anne Kauffman and Ken Rus Schmoll, in collaboration with Playwrights Horizons Theater School. Read more HERE.

Commissions – We regularly commission through other organizations (such as NYSCA) and offer our own open-application Biennial Commission.