Artistic Development

“The Vineyard gives you everything you need to fly.” — Colman Domingo

Through readings, workshops, residences, and developmental “lab” productions, we tailor our programs to best serve the needs of artists and their work and to guide projects at all stages of development. Many of the plays and musicals we help to develop go on to full production on our stage or at other theatres in New York or around the country.

Each season, Vineyard Theatre creates opportunities for more than 150 playwrights, directors, composers, and actors to create new plays and musicals and develop artistic skills. We work with artists at all stages of their careers, tailoring every component of development to best serve the needs of their work. All of our world premiere productions have emerged from these programs.

The Vineyard annually produces a Developmental Lab Production in which the author and creative team of a work-in-progress explore the physical life of a play. Labs receive two weeks of rehearsal and four performances, which are open to audiences but closed to press. In the last decade, 9 out of 10 Labs have gone on to full productions at our theatre or elsewhere within 2 years. We look forward to resuming our Lab Program in 2022-2023.

The cornerstone of Artistic Development at The Vineyard is the Paula Vogel Playwriting Award, given annually to an exceptionally promising early career writer. The award includes a cash prize, a yearlong residency to develop new work, as well as writing space, readings, workshops, and ongoing dramaturgical support. The recipients of the Paula Vogel Playwriting Award are Tarell Alvin McCraney (2008), Rajiv Joseph (2009), Kara Lee Corthron (2010), Branden Jacobs-Jenkins (2011), Erika Sheffer (2012), Christopher Chen (2013), Clare Barron (2014), Boo Killebrew (2015), Kate Tarker (2016), Antoinette Nwandu (2017), Jeremy O. Harris (2018), Charly Evon Simpson (2019), John Caswell Jr. (2020), Ryan Haddad (2021), and T. Adamson (2022). 

The Vineyard grants the Susan Stroman Directing Award biennially to a gifted early-career director. Resources for this two-year residency include a cash prize, the opportunity to initiate and develop new projects, and to work intensively with actors and designers. Current recipient Tyler Thomas (2020) is the co-conceiver and director of the Vineyard’s acclaimed digital project Lessons in Survival, and Lessons in Survival: 1971, which opens on our stage this June. Previous recipients include Liesl Tommy (2014), Lee Sunday Evans (2016), and Whitney White (2018).

Seeded in 2019 from the longtime collaboration between The Vineyard and Colman Domingo, the Colman Domingo Award is bestowed annually to a multi-faceted Black male or male-identifying theatre artist to provide support and resources to create new work. The inaugural recipient was York Walker and the current recipient is Reggie D. White.

This season, we expanded our artist residencies from five to seven. Residences enable us to invest in an artist and their work with ongoing resources over a longer period of time. The Commissary’s Lessons in Survival and Lessons in Survival: 1971 were created in their two-year residency. Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winner Michael R. Jackson developed a new musical, White Girl in Danger, as part of his multi-year residency. In 2022, The Vineyard created the new annual Roth-Vogel Commission in partnership with Daryl Roth and Paula Vogel, for a mid-career playwright to create a new work. Eisa Davis is the inaugural recipient.

During the pandemic shutdown, Vineyard commissioned five daring artists to create new works of alternative theatre. These projects — as varied as the artists creating them — were developed over a year and presented this past fall as the Fall Forward Festival. They included Kirsten Childs’ Aunt Lillian, an autobiographical musical podcast; Maybe Dorothy Was Right, a short film by Ngozi Anyanwu, directed by Anfonso Johnson, a love letter to New York City and the theatre; On the Beauty of Loss, by Jared Mezzocchi, a live video project exploring technology and loss; 56 Flowers by Polly Pen and directed by Dustin Wills, a new musical about the life of composer Carrie Jacobs Bond; and The Fish, a one-act play by Madeline Sayet about the intersection of Native American and Jewish identity.


The Vineyard does not accept unsolicited scripts for consideration. Playwrights may submit full-length scripts through a literary agent or accompanied by a letter of recommendation from a theatre professional (i.e. an artistic director or literary manager at a professional theatre).