Launched in 2009, the Ethel Woolson Lab is an annual, competitive workshop series named in honor of a generous benefactor of WTP. The 2021 deadline for the lab is January 30, 2021.

Our next lab will be the final virtual lab of 2021. Iphigenia In Quarantine by Liz Dooley is a virtual theatrical experience coming to us on July 8th! Following Iphigenia in Quarantine will be our first lab in 2021 at the Alliance Theatre, Maybe Politics Are Over by Sloka Krishnan in September.

Up to four plays by WTP member playwrights are selected each year to participate in the Ethel Woolson Lab. Each recipient is given a 29-hour developmental workshop, culminating in a rehearsed, staged reading for the public. Each selected playwright is partnered with a support team of artists designed for the needs of the play and the playwright. This includes a dramaturg, a director, a stage manager and a cast of actors.

The EWL is Working Title Playwrights most in-depth development opportunity. Because the lab is an intensive process, WTP asks that the playwright take time off to spend the week dedicated to the script. Beginning in 2019, WTP has included a stipend for the recipient playwright, marking the 10-year anniversary of the lab.

The Ethel Woolson Lab selection process involves 5-7 panelists (reading blind) with Managing Artistic Director Amber Bradshaw. The recipient playwrights are selected by the panel.

Past Panelists for the EWL include industry professionals and previous recipients of the lab: Justin Anderson, Carlyn Aquiline, Freddie Ashley, Margaret Baldwin, Joanie Drago, Sonhara Eastman, Daryl Lisa Fazio, Edith Freni, Patricia Henritze, Quinn Xavier Hernandez, Justin Kalin, Celise Kalke, Hank Kimmel, Enoch King, Sloka Krishnan, Damien Lockhart, Emily McClain, Addae Afura Moon, Nichole Palmietto, Natasha Patel, Theroun D’Arcy Patterson, Mia Kristin Smith, Rebekah Suellau, Malcolm Tariq.

WTP Playwright Malcolm Tariq speaks with dramaturg, Dr. Angela Farr Schiller and director, Cynthia Barker during rehearsal for the 2018 EWL lab YESTERDAY: TODAY. Photo credit: Danyale Taylor.

2021 deadline: January 30, 2021.

Submission Criteria:

    • The playwright is a member of Working Title Playwrights.
    • The playwright is actively engaged in the revision process and open to collaborative feedback and exploration. The EWL is a development opportunity, not a showcase for a finished product.
    • The playwright has the ability to take off work the week of the lab to focus entirely on re-writes. To assist with this time off, WTP has included a stipend of $350 for the recipient playwright.

    HOW TO SUBMIT

    Send your submission by email to managing@workingtitleplaywrights in pdf
    with the subject: “WTP Ethel Woolson Lab Submission.LAST NAME-TITLE”

    Attach the following documents:

    1. BLIND* Statement of Purpose – please answer the following questions:

    • What is your Intention for development? What are your development goals?
    • Why do you think the lab will be useful to you at this point in your process?
    • What have you tried? Has this play been workshopped, reviewed or dramaturged yet? If so, with whom and what was the process?
    • Where are you stuck? How can we best serve you in this process?

    2. BLIND full-length script. If your script is not complete, submit fifty pages of dialogue with a detailed outline including character breakdowns.

    3. Title Page with the title of the play, your name, address and contact information.

    *Blind indicates that your name is not on the script and your identity remains unknown to panelists.

    Please note: Playwrights who have been a recipient of the lab this year may not apply for the 2021. You will be eligible to apply again for the 2022.

    For questions about the criteria and information, please email Amber at managing@workingtitleplaywrights.com.


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2020 recipients

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After the death of her mother, Faith spirals into a pattern of long drives and compulsive eating. Then Theo arrives. The strange and handsome new worker offers her hope that the future holds more than the soul-killing monotony of her small town and working in the Ingle’s deli department. But there is something lurking beneath the surface. When a girl goes missing, Faith must decide how much she is willing to sacrifice to keep her world intact. Alone in a park in the middle of the night, she has a decision to make.

So, a werewolf, a vampire, and a Frankenstein’s Monster walk into a doughnut shop… well, they do, because they work there. Tally, Louise, and Elsie run Sunshine Doughnuts, the cheeriest place in town! The monsters get more than they bargained for when they host an after hours party at the shop. It really sucks how much your past can come back to bite you.

2019 Recipients

When Tomei, a housekeeper at the The Border Motel learns that the policy of sanitization has resulted in her turning white, she tries to rally the other workers to fight against it. Written with elements of magical realism, Borderstone asks the question-what is the cost of immigrant assimilation to Western Anglo-Saxon culture?

A mysterious young girl plays in an inflatable pool that bridges the lives of Karen and Evelyn. Karen has wanted to be a mother her entire life, but bearing a child has proved more difficult than she hoped. Parenthood is the furthest thing from Evelyn’s mind. When Karen casts a spell to make her dreams come true and Evelyn suddenly comes face to face with an unexpected pregnancy, both must decide if they have what it takes to be called “Momma.”

A young female painter struggles to gain recognition for her work within the male-dominated art world of Renaissance Italy. Meanwhile, in the contemporary United States, a young career woman encounters her own version of the same challenges as she fights for recognition in the workplace. chiaroscuro or Slaying Holofernes blends and blurs the worlds of past/present, fact/fiction, and personal/political as it explores two women’s parallel quests for justice in an imperfect world.

2018 Recipients

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Spring 1991. Theresa learns that the body of her husband, the victim of a racially motivated murder 40 years ago, has recently been discovered in the small Georgia hometown that she and her older sister, Sarah, fled. This news comes as an even greater shock to her middle-aged daughters, Lynn and Marie, who believed their father died under different circumstances. Theresa must decide whether she wants to risk facing past traumas by returning to reclaim the man the Jim Crow South took from her. As secrets unfold and power dynamics shift, this family of women must convince Theresa of the right thing to do.

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Six years into her relationship with Paulie, Olive can’t help but wonder if things are growing stale because the chemistry literally isn’t there. What matters more in a successful relationship: biology or commitment? Somewhere in a dilapidated warehouse in Atlanta, a new kind of party is just getting started. Wear a t-shirt for three days, put it in a ziploc bag, bring it to the party, fall in love. An awkward olfactory inquiry into the nature of attraction, betrayal, and the quirky characters we meet in our quest to find true love.

2017 Recipients

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At an African-American social club in Brooklyn in the 1970’s, Chief, well-loved bar owner and his brother Roland, fight to keep their doors open as reverse migration causes the thriving locale to morph into a ghetto. Despite the changing conditions and Roland’s desire to follow a new path, Chief and the locals fight to save their collective space. Through the support of community, they come to understand that the Club is more than just a bar; it’s a family that will never be forgotten.

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In a sleepy suburban town in Texas, free-spirited Brady returns home to take care of her father, who has just had heart surgery. Brady wants nothing more than for her father to make a speedy recovery so that she can return to her guilt-free, unattached life – when she meets James, a young mormon on a mission trip to the Lone Star State. Brady and James discover parts of each other and parts of themselves as they ponder God, Armadillos, and the possibility of falling in love…while things fall apart.

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In a surgical tent, on the front lines of a 30-year war, in some place arid and austere, some time – maybe now, maybe then, maybe much later – two isolated doctors use their wits, skills, and imaginations to keep the soldiers alive. In a battle with shrapnel and their own diehard senses of empathy, the doctors request desperately needed medic support. After years of fighting disease and infection, the women are soon faced with a new enemy: the world’s first male doctor.


 2016 Recipients

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When Things Are Lost takes us on a witty and surreal journey into the world of dreams as Andrew searches for the answers to his friend Michael’s disappearance. From a bus stop in Wyoming to a cafe in Paris, and a giant pink bunny guiding the way, Andrew learns about the power of friendship to deepen our empathy and open our minds.

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Rick is a paraplegic ex-football player whose wife and young son are struggling to support him, despite his efforts to push them away. When the man who is responsible for his disability makes contact after 15 years of silence, Rick is forced to face his tormentor and choose how he will seek resolution for the past. Confessions of a Hit Man asks the question: What price do we pay for redemption?

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Fasten your seatbelts and make sure your tray tables are in their upright and locked positions for take off. Now, prepare yourself for the ride of a lifetime! It’s 1963 and straight out of college Marsha takes her first job as a stewardess. Through the lens of her four decades in the sky, we witness the milestones of American history as Marsha lives them. Time Flies is a tour-de-force about making it through the decades, as only a woman can.


2015 Recipients

  • Keester by Pamela Turner
  • In the Garden by Amina S. McIntyre
  • The Nightingale Rose or The Bitch of Balaclava by Patricia Henritze

2014 Recipients

  • The Cannibals by Theroun D’Arcy Patterson
  • Hush Now by Penny Micklebury
  • Empty Rooms by Annie Harrison Elliott

2013 Recipients

  • Death and Interior Decoration by Hilary Rogers King
  • The Golden Glow Tea Room by Robin Burke
  • Legacy by Barbara and Carlton Molette
  • The Liar’s Child by Sharon Mathis

2012 Recipients

  • Orbital Debris by Vynnie Meli
  • Breathe Like a Bandage by Neeley Gossett

2011 Recipients

  • American Dismantle by Theroun D’Arcy Patterson
  • The Jew Catcher by David L. Fisher

2010 Recipients

  • Anthony + Cleopatra UNDONE by Patricia Henritze
  • Evelyn in Purgatory by Topher Payne

2009 Recipients

  • The Birdwatcher by Johnny Drago
  • Ladies in Waiting by Sherry Camp Paulsen
  • Divided Among Themselves by Henry W. Kimmel