2019 Theatre Lab Application Guidelines

Sundance “deepens the resolve of artists by bringing them together in a creative community 

so that they know they are not alone.”  

- Robert Redford

2019 Theatre Lab Application Guidelines

July 8-28, 2019  |Sundance Resort
Deadline to Apply: November 15, 2018 at 5:00pm EST

The Sundance Institute Theatre Program is excited to announce that the 2019 Theatre Lab will take place from July 8-28, 2019 at the Sundance Resort in Utah, USA.


After the 2018 Theatre Lab in Morocco, the Theatre Program will return to its homebase in Utah, with theatre artists from the United States and the Middle East & North Africa (MENA). This 21-Day residency will utilize actors in workshop. Participants in the Theatre Lab will be selected through an open application process. Plays about all topics and in any genre are eligible for consideration. 

The Theatre Program has increasingly engaged a broad spectrum of both US-based and artists from Arabic-speaking countries who work in diverse styles and express a wide range of content. We seek participants who yearn to reflect on their work, and those who are eager to embrace a community of world artists. The Lab is not a place to simply rehearse your text, or to polish what you feel is a nearly completed draft. The Lab serves as “the space-in-between” the conception of a new work and its eventual production, by offering a rare opportunity to experiment, rewrite, re-conceive and take artistic risks, within the context of an intimate peer-level artistic community. 

We will select up to eight projects for the 2019 Theatre Lab, including one project and an additional playwright-in-residence from the Middle East & North Africa. Sundance will provide an acting company,  a “day-on, day-off” rehearsal schedule, and rigorous dramaturgical support (in the language of creation), as well as underwrite all related expenses (including transportation costs, accommodations, visas, meals, stipends and support personnel).

Learn More!

The Sundance Process  |  The Space-in-Between


  • Playwrights, directors, composers, ensembles, performance artists, or choreographers from the United States and the Middle East & North Africa are welcome to apply;
  • Theatre-makers creating in English and Arabic are encouraged to apply, but artists from Arabic-speaking countries creating in English or French can be considered too;
  • Submitted work cannot have been previously produced, but may have received prior workshops or readings;
  • Commissioned work is eligible for submission; however, playwrights must obtain written permission from their commissioning organization prior to applying; Playwrights may suggest a director, but Sundance retains the right to make final decisions on personnel. If you do not have a director attached to your project, please note that Sundance will help to match you up with a director if your play is selected;
  • Director-generated projects are also welcome to apply;
  • Sundance Institute is interested in both established and emerging theatre artists, as well as artists making a transition from areas outside of theatre.

NOTE: Artists may only submit one application. Previous applicants may re-apply, but not with previously submitted material.


All submissions – generally between 700 and 900 annually – are read in their entirety and evaluated by qualified readers from around the world. Our artistic staff narrows the field to the top 25-30 submissions, which are then evaluated by an Advisory Committee comprised of established playwrights, dramaturgs, and directors. Shortlisted applicants might be invited to an in-person or online interview before the Artistic Director makes the final selections and extends personal invitations to join the Lab.

Sundance Institute looks for original, compelling human stories that reflect the independent vision of the theatre artist. We are interested in supporting a diverse and daring group of theatre artists who tell unique stories, present material in a new form, or conceptualize existing material with an innovative vision.

NOTE: All applicants must be available for the entire duration of each Lab. 


  • Roundtrip Economy Airfare
  • Airport Transfers
  • Private Accommodation 
  • Three meals/day
  • $520 USD/week stipend = $1560 USD total 
  • Inclusive of parties & receptions
  • Financial support to secure travel visas (if needed)

Additionally, the Theatre Program provides actors, dramaturgs, rehearsal space, and stage management for the collaborative team working on each project. Projects rehearse on alternating days, giving writers the opportunity to rewrite or regroup when they're not in rehearsal (actors are frequently double-cast working on two projects on alternate days). At the end of the Theatre Lab, projects will culminate in an informal presentation for the Lab community only, followed by an artist-led conversation with Sundance Institute’s artistic staff and guest Creative Advisors.

Each full-time Fellow (playwright, director, or other creative collaborator) is assigned a company of actors (if applicable), selected by Sundance Institute in collaboration with the Fellows, to support their project. Actors are selected from the US and the MENA region for their professionalism, versatility, suitability for the development process and of course fluency in the language of the project.


Complete the online application form and upload your materials electronically. Materials to include:

  • Script Draft of your play or musical (unprotected Word or PDF document)
  • Artistic Statement (If applying as a playwright/director team, Sundance Institute requires a statement from both the playwright and director)
  • Describe the status of the project, including prior readings and workshops, and what you hope to accomplish at the Lab. Include comments on the content, style of the piece, and the team's objectives for the workshop.
  • Bios for each collaborator
  • Letter of permission from a commissioning organization (if applicable)
  • $35 non-refundable application processing fee payable by credit card (waived for applicants from the Middle East & North Africa)

NOTE: Online application is reserved to US-based artists only. Artists from outside the U.S. must submit all materials directly to MENAtheatre@sundance.org. Applications are accepted in Arabic, English and French. 

NOTE:  If you do not have access to the Internet, please call the Theatre Program at +1-646-822-9564 and we will work with you to submit your materials using alternative methods. Please make every effort to utilize the online application as it ensures the safe delivery of your application and supports the Sundance Institute’s environmental stewardship.


The application will open on September 25, 2018. The window of submission will be September 25-November 15, 2018. The deadline for submission is November 15, 2018 at 5:00pm EST. Applicants will be notified on or before March 15, 2019.

Acting Company

US actors who wish to be considered for the Acting Company during the Theatre Lab, are invited to send their headshot and resume to: theatre@sundance.org. Arabic-speaking actors who wish to be considered for the Acting Company are also invited to send their headshot and resume to: MENAtheatre@sundance.org. We will review all submissions with the Theatre Program’s casting directors. The Theatre Program holds Equity Principal Auditions once a year in New York for US actors. Please refer to the Actors’ Equity website for scheduling information. 


Applicants can find answers to many questions on the FAQ page.

US Inquiries: theatre@sundance.org

Middle East/North Africa Inquiries: MENAtheatre@sundance.org