SheNYC is the City’s premier festival showcasing the new, original works for gender-marginalized writers, composers, & directors.
Photo: The Shoebox by Kate Brennan at SheNYC 2019. Photo credit: Kate Brennan.
NEWS: Announcing our Festival shows, including 7 new plays, 2 new musicals, and New Play Resident Kristy Thomas!
The 2022 SheNYC Theater Festival will run July 25-August 7th at the Connelly Theater. More information, including the performance schedule, will be available soon, and tickets will go on sale in the beginning of June.
Some of our shows will be accepting actor submissions digitally. You may submit your materials via this form, and it will be routed to the creative team of the shows you select that you’d like to be considered for. If they’d like to see you audition in-person, the show’s creative team will reach out to you directly. Please read the character breakdowns listed under the below show descriptions before filling out the form.
Dream a Little Dream of Me
By Kay Kemp
Play | Drama
In an old, achy house in the suburbs of Detroit, paid for with sweat and tears, Colleen, an adult who has just recently left home behind, returns to take care of Priscilla, her aging mother. Through their conversations and Priscilla’s “episodes”, as well as the intervention of the malevolent spirit known only as Angel-Boy, we see the toll a sickness can take not only on a person’s mind, but on a family’s bonds.
To Free A Mockingbird
By Grace Aki
Play | Comedy with heart
To Free a Mockingbird is a combination of storytelling and stand-up, with heart. We follow Grace’s family’s journey across the sea and through the south. An examination of ‘Gone with the Wind’, family secrets and how our stories get told. To Free A Mockingbird is a vulnerable and daring piece, filled with Grace’s effortless humor and honesty. Generational trauma is funny…right? This is her story and maybe yours as well.
By Jordyn Stoessel
Play | Drama
Hack is the story of a young woman who achieves YouTube stardom after her “What I Eat in a Day” video goes viral. As a budding, unqualified wellness vlogger, she is sponsored by a fasting clinic to embark on a month-long supervised water fast. A play that explores themes of disordered eating and America’s obsession with diet culture, Hack is a shitshow that throat-chops the modern influencer.
By Kristy Thomas
Play | Drama
The New Play Residency is awarded each year to a former SheNYC program alumni, to give them the space to workshop a brand new play.
Lights up on two Black boys: one tries to prepare the other for what lies beyond. Beginning with a crime scene Anytown, USA, the boys bond over a game of basketball: it’s universal, and it’s safe. Gray tells different stories by different people and perspectives of issues that face Black men and women in this country, at present and historically. The experience reminds of a general theme of history continuing to repeat itself and brings another shining light on the fact that this life is not clearly black or white, but rather we live in shades of “Gray.”
One Day Down
By Samantha Toy Ozeas
Play | Drama
Days away from the 2016 National Mock Trial Tournament and moments away from choking each other to death, high school seniors Marion and Simon do all they can to keep their team on task for their upcoming tournament. After receiving an oddly violent practice case in the mail, the team begins to fall apart at the seams, and a larger vengeance plot rises to the surface.
One Day Down comments on the stigma and toll of speaking up against sexual violence, and the paranoia inflicted on survivors.
by Gabrielle Wagner Mann
Play | Drama
When conservative, white Southern-belle Natalie arrives in New York City to collect the belongings of her dead twin sister, she meets Kendra — and learns that her estranged sister’s roommate is not only Black, but is more than just a roommate. She must confront her sister’s choices, as well as her own fears and prejudices and they both challenge each other in unexpected ways. Panic attacks, pot brownies and pocket aces help them deal with grief, guilt and an unexpected guest. All-in with one card to come, will they stay at odds or make the right read on each other?
By Alara Magritte & Daniel Rosen
Folk Rock Musical | Drama
A folk rock ensemble musical set in 1950s New Jersey, Safe Hands tells the story of a group of five women who are bound by the secret of Frankie’s House, an underground abortion clinic on the edge of town. Newlywed Lydia moves to the suburbs, ready to become a perfect happy housewife like her neighbor Bunnie. But when Lydia learns that Bunnie received an abortion at a secret clinic, Lydia’s idyllic perception of her new role is shattered. When the ladies of Frankie’s House ask Lydia for help, she must step outside her prescribed role and see how far she will go to help someone in need.
By Margaret Rose Caterisano
Play | Dark Comedy
Wattle and her daughter, Sarah, live on the rural Highway 29 just outside the small college town of Troy in Alabama. Wattle is awakened in the wee hours of the morning by a naked man, Thomas, stumbling around in her back yard. She clothes and feeds the stranger, and gives him a place to spend the night. She, Sarah, and Thomas discuss the pros and cons of leaping to assumptions and jumping into relationships until Thomas decides it is time to leave — but it won’t be that easy. Sheepwell is a very dark comedy about the importance of first impressions and false assumptions.
The Waiting, A New Musical
By EmmaLee Kidwell and Maria Isabella Andreoli
Folk Musical | Drama | ASL Interpretation will be provided; details coming soon!
The Waiting is a folk musical that centers around widowed mother Chlo Evans shortly after the disappearance of her young daughter, Willow. As Chlo searches for her daughter, she discovers a parallel universe, The InBetween, where lost souls wait to pass through to the afterlife. Here Chlo learns that people she’s lost in life are not as far gone as they may seem. As Chlo’s understanding of her reality bends, will she be able to go beyond the pain of her loss, or will her soul stay trapped by the padlock of grief?
Are you a stage manager, director, choreographer, musical director, or designer? Add your name to our Artist Directory. We’ll send the writers this list of artists as a reference to help them fill in any blanks on their production teams. (Note that we don’t take actors on the Artist Directory – we will have a separate casting call in May for actors).
Pro Tip: Write “Festival Producer” or “Festival Volunteer” under “what’s your specialty” if you’re interested in volunteering for the Festival as a whole!
2023 Script Submissions
Script submissions for the 2023 SheNYC Theater Festival will open in September 2022. If you’re interested in submitting, read on below to learn more about submitting next year!
We empower gender-marginalized writers to self-produce their work, in a safe environment with subsidized costs and mentorship along the way.
What is a Theater Festival?
A theater festival is an opportunity for playwrights to self-produce their work in full onstage, for a paying audience. Festivals have multiple shows which all share resources, making the process far less expensive for everyone than producing your show in full on your own. If you’ve done developmental readings already and feel like you’re ready to take the next step of seeing your piece fully staged, a festival is probably the right fit for you!
There is no participation fee to participate in the SheNYC Summer Theater Festival. Note that everything listed below is subject to change pending the COVID-19 pandemic and our staff and shows’ safety.
The rental of the Connelly Theater in the East Village, a beautiful 99-seat proscenium theatre and all of the equipment that goes inside of it:
- All light and curtain rentals
- Laptop and speaker system for sound cues
- Miscellaneous tech items like gaff tape, common tools, etc
- A 5-hour long tech slot to tech your show
- General Liability Insurance for your time inside the theater (note that this is separate from the insurance required by AEA if you hire AEA actors)
We provide the staff IN the theater to make your tech and performances run smoothly, including:
- A Production Manager and Associate Production Manager to run your tech and call your show
- A lighting designer to design your lights and program the light board during your tech
- A sound technician to make sure your sound cues run smoothly
- 1-2 additional backstage crew members to use in a way that best fits your show
- Full front of house staff – Ushers, Box Office, Concessions, and House Manager
SOME SET PIECES & PROPS
- We provide some limited miscellaneous set pieces that will be shared by all of the shows, exact pieces TBD. In the past, we’ve had tables, chairs, and couches to offer to all of our productions. Our Production Manager will poll the shows in advance of tech to get an idea of what the furniture needs may be.
- We also have a Materials for the Arts (MFTA) membership, which provides free materials for arts nonprofits. We’ll set up a group visit to their warehouse in Queens so you can get free set, props, and costume items.
- An upright piano in the space.
MARKETING & ADVERTISING
- We have a marketing campaign advertising the festival as a whole with social media ads, Google Ads, and various ads on other digital outlets that theatergoers frequent.
A SHOW MENTOR
- Unique to SheNYC, we provide a Mentor to each show. This is a member of our Festival staff who is there to guide you through the festival process, offer advice, and be an extra set of hands to help out as needed.
Some other tools and items we provide are:
- We pay for your first $200 in rehearsal studio space
- Playbill for all shows
- A closing night party with awards determined by a panel of industry judges
- Full ticketing system managed by SheNYC Box Office staff
- Production photography & videography
- $5 for every in-person full-price ticket sold to your show; and our Tip The Writers program allows patrons to leave you a tip for digital performances, which we pay out to you at the end of the Festival
- A life-long community of artists who will support all of your work in the future!
CAST AND CREATIVE TEAM
You can choose to work with Union or non-Union artists.
- If you do hire AEA actors, you will need to manage your contract or code with them, pay them the amounts dictated by your contract with AEA, and provide the insurance required by AEA (your show mentor can help explain!)
Any other creative team members (except a lighting designer, which SheNYC provides) that you think you need to build the world of your show. Just note that with limited tech and load-in time, we recommend you keep it simple!
- Any additional set, costumes, and props that aren’t covered by our shared pieces or MFTA warehouse.
- If your show requires a band, you/your musicians should bring their own instruments beyond a piano.
REHEARSAL STUDIO SPACE
You handle the entire rehearsal process before you get into the SheNYC Theater. Booking rehearsal studios tends to be the biggest expense in your budget, so we have some partnerships with local studios to get you discounts on those costs.
*New to 2022: Due to a generous grant, we’re able to cover the first $200 toward rehearsal studios!*
“ELBOW GREASE” MARKETING
While we manage paid ads for the festival, we need your help to spread the word about your show to your networks! You likely won’t need or want to put money into this — just some old-fashioned effort of starting an Instagram for your show, emailing your network to let them know about your performances, and otherwise spreading the word to family & friends.
Frequently Asked Questions
What makes us different from other theater festivals?
We’re working to create a network of professionals and artists that are devoted to promoting the voices of women in theater -- not just put up your show and never hear from you again. We have meetings where all of the writers gather together to mingle, and hope that the other writers and artists involved in the festival will become lifelong friends, mentors, and supporters. We provide mentoring and support every step of the way, including a Show Mentor dedicated to be your advocate and personal helper during the process.
What are we looking for?
You've got an awesome show. We've got an awesome festival. It's like a match made in heaven.
We look simply for shows that are high-quality and written by people of marginalized genders. We like to have a good mix of genres in each festival - plays, musicals, comedies, dramas, experimental works, and more. We also are partial to shows with themes that fit our mission of women in leadership. But at the end of the day, we want to show the world that our playwrights produce high-quality work that deserves to be seen on Broadway and stages around the country - so, the number one factor in our decision-making is how well-written your show is.
Who can apply?
Any writer of a marginalized gender (including cis women, trans women, non-binary and gender non-conforming writers), or writing team that is at least 50% marginalized genders, is eligible to apply. We’re also taking adaptations that are directed or adapted by folks of marginalized genders, even if they were originally written by men. We only accept full-length shows for the Festival (no short plays), though note that there is a 2-hour run time limit for your performance.
What kind of shows can apply?
Musicals - musicals of any size, shape, and form are welcome to apply. Just keep in mind that 2-hour run time limit. You can submit a show that runs longer than that in its current form, as long as you're okay with making some trims for the festival.
Plays - again, plays of any size, shape, and form are welcome to apply!
Adaptations - are you a woman director or adapter who wants to do a reverse-gender production of King Lear? We love that. Just make sure you are actually able to obtain the rights to your show (sometimes, special rights have to be obtained if you want to adapt or change gender roles), or better yet, take a public domain play.
How many shows are picked and how will we pick them?
We’re aiming to take 8 shows for our She NYC Summer Theater Festival, though we reserve the right to pick as little as 6 or as many as 9 depending on what the submission pool is like. For our She L.A. Summer Theater Festival, we'll pick 5 shows. For Atlanta, we'll pick 3-5.
We’re judging the shows based on two things: The quality of the writing, and the relevance to our mission. Mostly, we’re focused on giving women writers the notoriety and publicity they deserve, so the subject matter of your show will only play into the judging if we have a really tight race between two shows. If we’ve got one slot left and two equally awesome shows, and one is about Napoleon and one is about Molly Pitcher, we’ll probably pick the Molly Pitcher one.
How does the selection process work?
You submit your scripts and application materials by the submission deadline. We pass your script around to a team of script readers, so each script will be read by at least three different people. The shows that get the highest ratings get passed along to the semi-final round, where they will be read by at least two more script readers, with the highest-scoring shows moving to the finalist round. Starting in February, we’ll be notifying people if they’re finalists on a rolling basis. From there, the finalists are read by our full staff, and we make our final decisions after an in-depth team discussion.
By April, all of our selected participants will be notified, and we can start getting to work!
If I submitted a show in the past, can I submit again?
You sure can! You can submit the same show again, particularly if you've revised it, or a new show. If you've already had a show produced in the Festival, you can also submit a new show for this year.
Will we get feedback on our submissions?
Due to the high volume of submissions, we're not able to automatically offer feedback on every script. However, if you email us after the script vetting process is over, we're happy to send you notes from our readers!