SheNYC is the City’s premier festival showcasing new, original works by gender-marginalized writers, composers, & directors.
Photo: The Shoebox by Kate Brennan at SheNYC 2019. Photo credit: Kate Brennan.
Announcing our 2023 Festival Shows
After our most competitive year ever, we’re so excited to announce the 8 plays and musicals we selected out of over 300 submissions! Read more about them below.
The 2023 SheNYC Summer Theater Festival will run July 25-August 6 in The Connelly Theater. Tickets will be on sale in June!
Some of our shows are casting. Click the buttons below to see each show’s casting breakdown, then submit your materials here:
0874: A Filipino-American Love Story
Book, Music, & Lyrics by Alexandra Palting
Music co-composed by Baz King
0874 is a musical about Alexandra Palting’s grandparents’ courtship and immigration as told through their 874 love letters. At the beginning of letter one, Palting’s grandmother, Paz, wanted to be a nun in Manila; by the last letter, she traveled across the world to start a new life with her husband Jun. The story oscillates between the world of the letters and the present, the Philippines and the United States, and explores truth’s relationship to time, distance and intimacy within the context of family, and the courage to grow up with another.
Book, Music, & Lyrics by Gillian Fox Orwoll
Book & Lyrics co-written by Grace Lazos
In a city where Gods lord over mortals, an ambitious young woman stands alone as she attempts to start a revolution.
BLOOM tells the story of a close-knit community tyrannized by the cruelty of the Gods, and one young woman who continually tries to inspire her people to revolution. When Arachne, our revolutionary idealist, claims to be a better weaver than the goddess Athena, Athena challenges her to a weaving contest, with the fate of the village hanging in the balance. Will the villagers gain the courage to support Arachne and finally revolt against their oppressors?
Book, Music, & Lyrics by Elizabeth Addison
A meta-musical about learning to love your younger self by writing her a new narrative and reclaiming her dreams.
Inspired by writer Elizabeth Addison’s time in treatment and chasing her own Broadway dreams with her musical, “This is Treatment,” CHASING GRACE is an immersive, meta experience taking place in the mind and memory of both The Writer of “Treatment” and Grace, her main character. The musical explores identity, addiction, recovery, trauma, the weaponization of our dreams, and how learning to face your past and love yourself can help you rewrite your narrative and reclaim your dreams.
By Samantha Stone
A play about how memory jogs stories, and stories jog memory.
Narrated from the present and taking place in the early 2000s, Finding Olive tells the story of a teenage girl who embarks on a school trip to an educational wilderness facility, just days after she was sexually assaulted at a party. Olive is randomly placed in a small group with her abuser and while she aims to free herself from the burden of her trauma, she becomes forced to face the consequences of something she never asked for in the first place.
First Sight: A Queer Indonesian Love Story
By Dena Igusti
A play about love when everything else gets in the way.
1997 Jakarta, Indonesia. Sari is an aspiring singer hoping to achieve stardom through amateur performances at her best friend Fina’s parties. Her song leads to a chance encounter with Lisa, a determined journalist, and the two become a hot item in Jakarta’s lesbian party scene. But when Sari is forced to flee from the aftermath of Suharto’s dictatorship, the two must adapt their love to conform to the pressures of survival and migration. Eighteen years later, Sari’s daughter Diah must navigate the residual trauma of Sari’s past as it is projected onto her own relationship with her girlfriend, Melli.
It’s a Free Country
By Leigh Flayton
A new play about how the coarsening of American society affects a famous writer and her fractured family.
Louisa “Lou” Clay is the author of a cult classic feminist novel that is now a hit TV series, compelling the ever-reclusive Lou to hunker down in her country house. Following her is a slew of unintended consequences, owing to America’s current political climate and the rage against the patriarchy that is the hallmark of the show. So, when a death threat arrives at Lou’s apartment, her niece, Ramona, and Lou’s agent and friend, Nell, join Lou in the country, where they try to ascertain the severity of the threat — and evade any attempts on Lou’s life.
The Moss Maidens
By S. Dylan Zwickel
Inspired by the true events of a group of teenage girls who flirted with Nazis, lured them into the woods for a romantic walk, and murdered them.
The year is 1941 and five ordinary teenage girls living in a midsized Dutch town spend their days gossiping about their classmates, dreaming about their futures, and trying not to catch the eye of any of the Nazis that have taken up residence in their town. But when Rini, the romantic of the group, takes a walk in the woods with a Nazi and sort-of-accidentally ends up killing him, the girls discover that they’re the last people anyone would ever suspect when harm befalls members of the invading army, and a new branch of the Resistance is born.
By Sarah Groustra
A post-apocalyptic coming of age story.
After a climate crisis decimates civilization as we know it, two sisters trek across the post-apocalyptic wasteland with only an eccentric voice on their transistor radio for company. When another young girl stumbles upon their campsite, they must decide whether or not the newcomer can stay. Longing, reminiscence, and a desire for their past life bond the women together, while the looming dangers of the natural world threaten to take their lives.
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!
All SheNYC Summer Theater Festival Performances are at the Connelly Theater, 220 East 4th Street, in the East Village.
The SheNYC Summer Theater Festival is funded in part by the generous support of:
Public Funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in Partnership with the City Council
The National Endowment for the Arts
A.R.T./New York’s NYC Small Theatres Fund made possible with support from the Howard Gilman Foundation
The New York State Council on the Arts
About the SheNYC Summer Theater Festival
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 (like the theater itself, front-of-house staff and supplies, and technical equipment), making the process far less expensive for everyone than producing your show 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!
Unique to SheNYC, there is no participation fee to participate in the Festival, and we cover all those shared costs for you and the other shows.
The rental of the historic 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.
Pictured: a rehearsal photo from DANCING GIRL by Elinor T & Drew Vanderburg, SheNYC 2019. Photo credit: Shoshana Medney.
October 1, 2022: Script submissions open. You’ll be able to submit your application and script any time between then and November 15 at 11:59pm PST.
February 2023: We will notify you if you’re a finalist for the Festival.
April 2023: We notify all shows of their acceptance to the festival. (We will also let you know if you’re not accepted, though that may come later in the month.) You then accept your slot.
May: All the fun stuff starts! We’ll kick things off with a meet and greet/info session. You’ll lock down a director and start casting your show.
June: Start rehearsals for your show! This is the part where you and your creative team take over. Our staff will be checking in about your progress, answer any questions, and to help market your show. NOTE that you will only have 5 hours to tech your show, and 15-30 minutes to load-in and load out, so we recommend you keep it simple when it comes to tech elements.
July/August: The SheNYC Festival will run in July/August at the Connelly Theater — exact dates TBD.
Each show will get a 5-hour tech slot (where you do a cue-to-cue and dress rehearsal), followed by 2 performances within those two weeks. We will also leave a few empty performance slots in the schedule so that any show that sells out its first two performances can add extra performances. We’ll then close things out with a Closing Night Party for everyone to celebrate their hard work.
Frequently Asked Questions
When will submissions open for the 2024 Festivals?
Script submissions will open on September 2023 for the 2024 SheLA & SheNYC Theater Festivals.
Submissions will open in December 2023 or January 2024 for the 2024 SheATL Theater Festival.
At that time, the application will be live at www.SheNYCArts.org/submissions.
What is it like to do my show in the Festival?
Once you get accepted into the Festival, you'll want to start thinking about a director for your show. We can help with that, and other creative team roles, by sharing our Artist Directory.
Next, casting! Work with your director to get your show cast, and hire any other creative team members you might need.
Then you'll spend the 1-2 months before your performance date rehearsing and getting your show ready. Simply put, you handle your show in the rehearsal room, while our staff gets the theater ready. Our Producers and Production Manager will be checking in often to get information from you and keep you on deadline.
Our Festival staff loads all our equipment into the theater the day before tech starts. You'll have an assigned 5-hour tech slot in which you must load in your set & costumes, do a cue-to-cue so our Lighting Designer can cue your lights, and then do a dress run of your show.
After that, you have 2-3 performances scheduled by our Production Manager. You have 15 minutes to load in your show before each performance, and 15 minutes to load out after. We handle everything related to Front of House - ticketing, box office, ushers, etc. - so all you have to worry about is what's happening on stage.
Finally, we close the Festival with a closing night party and awards ceremony!
What makes us different from other theater festivals?
Our goal is to make this an inclusive, productive, and affordable environment to see your work produced in full. We pride ourselves on providing more for less - more support, supplies, and learning opportunities without the prohibitive submission & participation fees that other festivals require.
Also, we’re working to create a network of professionals and artists that are devoted to promoting the voices of women & gender-marginalized professionals 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.
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 marginalized 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?
Because we don't charge a submission fee and get such a large volume of submissions, we unfortunately don't have the bandwidth to offer feedback on each script.