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Tuesday, December 31, 2019


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Founded in 2017, Corkscrew Theater Festival showcases premiere productions by early-career theater artists who are creating rigorously innovative, exuberantly ambitious work. Merging the developmental support of a theater company with the energy of a festival, Corkscrew prioritizes new and underrepresented voices by reducing the very real financial barriers to producing work in New York City. Our commitment to collaboration promotes interaction and dialogue among artists across the festival, building a community around a season of theater and offering audiences a unique opportunity to see high-level presentations of work at varying stages of development by artists they may not know—yet!

The result? Five weeks, five productions, five readings, fifty performances, and YOU. We want you to apply to participate in this festival!

Corkscrew’s model is an extension of our belief that we can do more together than we can individually: by presenting our work in a festival setting that facilitates meaningful collaboration between and among its artists, we mutually benefit.

  • We are committed to ensuring all our artists and audiences feel supported as artists, arts lovers, and human beings. In addition to Corkscrew’s foundational principle of providing financial support to artists in the form of commissioning fees and production costs assistance (for more information on the pecuniary specifics, please see the section “What We Do for You”), we assure the following: Submissions will be blind-read by a diverse reading team. 
  • The A.R.T./New York Theatres are fully ADA accessible, including dressing rooms, control booth, and, of course, front of house. 
  • We recognize systemic challenges to connecting audiences perhaps unfamiliar with the world of theater festivals; we are committed to assisting with outreach for artists whose ideal audience isn’t ready-made by the usual theatergoer avenues.


  • Generative artist bios;
  • Short answers (200 words) to five open-ended questions about the project:
  • Why do you want to undertake this project? 
  • What is the key collaborative relationship of this project?* 
  • What are your goals concerning the development of this project?
  • What is a key production (i.e., design) element of this project?
  • Who would want to see this show?
  • A draft of a script, or other document demonstrating the scope and content of the project; and
  • One or more work samples (photos, audio, or video)

Applications will be accepted through January 10, 2020. 

Phone interviews will take place in the first week of March. All applicants will be notified of their status by March 15, 2020.

*While Corkscrew prioritizes collaboration, individuals are more than encouraged to apply--we’re about nurturing new collabs as much as uplifting founded ones! If you are applying as an individual, please explain in the key collaborative relationship section, in as much detail as possible, the collaborative positions you’re hoping to fill.

Our application is live! Fill out this informational google form. This is where you’ll upload your short answers, script, and supporting materials.
➨ Please Note that to complete the form, you’ll need to have a Google Account (you can create one here). We use a host of Google products to run Corkscrew, including interviews conducted by Google Hangout.



a) Each production will receive $1,500 to split among its generative artists as a commissioning fee for presenting your work in the festival.
b) Corkscrew creates two spaces to assist with your developmental goals. The first is our biweekly Directors & Producers Lab, where we gather to problem-solve production elements and learn from one another. The second is literary support for the playwrights/lead artists in the form of one-on-one dramaturgical meetings and a monthly writers’ group meetup.
c) Corkscrew connects each production with our team of professional casting directors, who facilitate a broad search for the talent needed to bring each project to life.
d) Our developmental support culminates in a June table reading for each production, designed to give playwrights a draft deadline and an opportunity to share their work with fellow participants before the rigors of the production process.
e) Beyond all this, our artistic leadership - experienced playwrights, directors, and producers accustomed to working in this setting - are here for you throughout the process. You’ll also be working alongside four other productions, forming a network big enough to be helpful, yet small enough to be personal.

Production. Corkscrew facilitates ambitious, transformative designs. As such:
a) Each production will receive $900 in physical production costs, as well as the full support of our Technical Director and Production Management staff in the building and load-in of your production’s set.
b) Corkscrew will underwrite the cost of hiring a Production Stage Manager and a Wardrobe Supervisor for the festival’s run.
c) Every production will receive at least 16 hours of dedicated technical rehearsal time in the theater.
d) During performances, productions will be “in rep” with each other (i.e., three different plays may perform in the space on the same day). All productions will have one hour before their show to restore their set on stage, and one hour after the show to remove and store it offstage. Corkscrew’s Production Management team will facilitate these changeovers through additional staffing under the oversight of your Production Stage Manager, enabling each team to fully transform the space.

3. Performances.

a) Each production receives 9 performances over the course of the five weeks of the festival.

b) Performances times are in the evening (Monday-Thursday), or afternoon, early evenings, or evenings (Friday-Sunday).

c) We provide front-of-house and box office staff.

4. Marketing.

a) Beyond the built-in advantage of four other shows bringing audiences into the theater where you’ll be playing, we’re committed as a festival (with actual people and actual money) to marketing your show.

b) We also expect our production producers to spearhead show-specific marketing efforts. We work directly with producers to facilitate show-specific marketing opportunities and audience outreach efforts.
5. Affordability.

a) There are no fees for applying for or participating in Corkscrew Theater Festival.

b) Our co-producer agreement with each team includes a box office revenue split.

c) Our base ticket price is $28, with discounting and access initiatives available for each production. Every production will have a designated “pay-what-you-can” performance.


Development. We dare artists to dive into that passion project or flesh out that “unproducible” idea. We’re here to support you through arranging one-on-one meetings and informal gatherings to hear your work aloud, and by providing a sounding board as you do your work heading into public performances.
Performances. With the understanding that nothing will be considered “finished,” participants in our Reading series will get 2-3 hours in the space ahead of their public showing to smooth out the kinks and give the best representation of their work.
Follow-up. We’re experienced at parsing audience feedback and helping you discover where your project should head next.
Affordability. There are no fees for applying or having your reading in Corkscrew Theater Festival. Tickets for the readings are free.


Corkscrew is not prescriptive in terms of genre, content, or theme. All kinds of theater (so long as you consider it theater) are welcome! The evaluative criteria we’ll use to choose the work presented in the festival are as follows:

  1. An innovative perspective and adventurous scope for the project.
  2. Passion for the project from all of the generating artists, or if applying without collaborators, an active interest in forming new collaborative relationships to further the piece. 
  3. Understanding of how Corkscrew’s unique development process will serve your (and our!) goals for realizing the best possible version of your piece. 

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