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Thursday, March 3, 2022

Theater J Expanding the Canon Commission


Deadline: March 15, 2022

Established in 2022, Theater J’s Expanding the Canon initiative will commission seven extraordinary racially and ethnically diverse Jewish writers to create new full-length plays that thematically and visually center diverse Jewish narratives. This program is for Jews of Color, Multi Racial/Multi Ethnic Jews, Indigenous Jews, and Mizrachi and Sephardic Jews who seek to correct and broaden the historically limited portrayals of Jewishness on stages in the US and around the world. Expanding the Canon is made possible in large part by funds granted by The Covenant Foundation.

Each writer will receive a $10,000 commission to create a new play over two and a half years; each will also have access to a $5,000 developmental budget that can be used for readings, workshops, research, and travel.

The program will commence in August, 2022 with a three-day intensive “Beit Midrash” led by Rosh Beit Sabrina Sojourner, a Shaliakh Tzibur and nationally recognized Jewish leader, and an exceptional teaching faculty. They will guide the cohort of commissioned writers through a curriculum covering Jewish life, philosophy, history, and literature. This intensive introduction will give playwrights access to texts and understandings of Jewish thought and tradition that will inspire them as they begin to craft their plays. Throughout the commission, writers will meet monthly to continue to learn, share additional resources and workshop written material.

Excerpts of the finished scripts will be shared in a final gathering in December, 2024. All commissioned scripts will be strongly considered for Theater J mainstage productions.

To learn more about playwright eligibility and submission requirements, please see below.

To learn more about the project leaders, click here.

To read Theater J’s Mission, click here; our Response to We See You, White American Theater, click here; our History, click here.

Playwright Eligibility and Submission Requirements

For too long, the American Jewish theater has overwhelmingly consisted of plays by and about white, Ashkenazi Jews. Theater J’s Expanding the Canon program will provide $10,000 commission to seven racially and ethnically diverse Jewish playwrights to create new full length plays that thematically and visually center diverse Jewish narratives.


This program is for Jews of Color, Multi Racial/Multi Ethnic Jews, Indigenous Jews, and Mizrachi and Sephardic Jews who identify as Sephardic and Mizrachi, even if they are members of a majority Ashkenazi community. The commissioned artists may be seasoned playwrights, early-career playwrights, or experienced writers of other genres (novelists, poets, etc). We define “Jewish” broadly to include religious Jews, secular Jews, those with Jewish heritage, and others who have a Jewish identity. All playwrights must reside in North America (Canada, the United States, and Mexico) and be over the age of 18.

Writers must commit to the entire two and a half year commission process, including an initial 3-day on site Beit Midrash in August, 2022 (travel and housing will be provided). They must regularly attend the monthly online cohort meetings with their fellow commissioned writers.

We encourage you to read our “Frequently Asked Questions” below.

Submission Requirements

To submit, please email litoffice@theaterj.org with the subject line “Expanding the Canon Submission” and the following attachments in PDF:
Statement of interest that addresses how you are a fit for this program and why it interests you. Please note that you do not need to describe the play you would intend to write. (Page limit: 1 page)
Two writing samples. Samples can be excerpts from plays, as well as novels, poetry, or any other form of writing. Samples do not need to center racially and ethnically diverse Jews. (Page limit: 10 pages per excerpt).
A resume or C.V.

We may request additional materials as finalists move through the process.

Deadline for submissions: March 15, 2022

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