Chain Theatre

Chain Playwriting Lab


About the lab

A new play lab supporting diverse voices in the American Theatre. 


Chain Playwriting Lab aims to honor the themes and legacies of the great diverse American playwrights of our time, through the development of new theatrical work. 

Since its inception, The Chain Theatre has developed original and published plays with a focus on visceral storytelling relating to the human experience. Chain is excited to announce its new play development lab, highlighting underrepresented voices in American theatre. 

This program has been made possible with the support of the New York Department of Cultural Affairs.

Submissions Open: Nov 30, 2018
Submissions Close: Dec 20, 2018
Announcements: Jan 5, 2019

“The folks at the Chain Theatre are among the great  unsung heroes of cultural New York.”

Richard Price, Clockers, HBO’s The Night Of, The Wire

chain playwriting Lab Submission Requirements


  • All playwrights must be NYC based artists. 

  • Must be part of an under-represented community in the arts. Female identifying, a person of color, LGBTQ, or trans artists are encouraged to apply. 

  • Must be full length plays. 70 pages or more with a completed draft. 

  • Playwright must have all necessary rights. 

Application Process: 

Applications will be accepted Nov 30, 2018 – Dec 20, 2018. Free to submit and participate. Include the following with your submission:

  • Resume and Bio. 

  • History of where the play has been previously produced or developed.

  • PDF Attachment of your play. It must be a completed draft. 

  • Fill out online application above.

  • Must be available for in-person interview.

The Lab

Playwrights will meet twice a week. First session will be with actors and the second session with the director of the Lab Ella Jane New and Chain Theatre Team to collaborate on the creative challenges, including structure, dialogue, character development within the play. 

This is a highly collaborative process. We ask that you only submit if you have the availability to participate in the lab. This is a personal intensive focusing on the playwright.

Following the 6 weeks of development, playwrights will be given two professional staged readings at Chain Theatre with an invited audience. Tickets to the staged reading will be FREE to all patrons. All plays developed are candidates for full production for the Chain 2020 Season.  


Chain Playwriting Lab will be led by Ella Jane New, Ella is a theatre and film maker based in NYC. After receiving her MFA from University of London, Ella wrote and directed Banquet of Chestnuts at the George Wood Theatre in London, where she received the Goldsmiths New Writing Award. Other awards include: WOMEN MAKE MOVIES Fellowship and Eastman Foundation Grant and was chosen for the Creative Minds Program in association with Sundance Institute & Sundance Film Festival. Ella's work has been seen around the world at the U.N. Global Wake-Up Fest; Unspoken human rights Festival and has received distribution by BBC Worldwide, Al Jazeera and Globostat Brazil." Ms. New will be present moderating each rehearsal and development meeting. Christina Elise Perry, Director of Outreach for the Chain Theatre will also oversee the completion of the lab in collaboration with the Chain Theatre’s Artistic Director, Kirk Gostkowski and Literary Director John Arthur Long.

All rehearsals and meetings will take place at the Chain Theatre located at 312 W. 36th Street, 4th Floor.