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The Lab@SCR

New Play Programs

The Lab@SCR is South Coast Repertory’s multi-initiative investment in new works for the American theatre. The Lab@SCR expands and deepens SCR’s  nationally renowned new-play development program and includes a commitment to a more rigorous development of new American musicals, commissions for playwrights at various stages of their careers, playwright residencies and additional in-house readings and workshops.

"South Coast Repertory must continuously develop voices for the American theatre,” says Artistic Director David Ivers. “Doubling down on all aspects of our existing new-play development programs is essential to our mission. It is a natural progression as we recommit to the vision of our founders, expand how we support playwrights, and get creative about activating our new work, aiming for productions at our theatre and beyond.”

Watch Artistic Director David Ivers talk about expanding new play development in The Lab@SCR.

About The Lab@SCR

The Lab@SCR is a comprehensive play-development infrastructure that provides resources with which artists can imagine, create and develop new work for SCR and for the American theatre. These expanded and new initiatives are all housed in The Lab@SCR.

  • Pacific Playwrights Festival: This annual three-day festival showcases the best in new American plays and musicals. Founded in 1998, it serves as a meeting-ground for national theatre professionals and avid local new-play fans by presenting seven new plays—in readings, workshops and productions. Going forward, it will provide a forum for sharing work emerging from The Lab@SCR and as a means to advance the development of that work. PPF aims to promote co-productions, multiple productions and new opportunities for America’s finest playwrights, and to foster a sense of community among artists and audiences devoted to new American theatre. Information about our play submission procedures.

  • Musicals: Beginning in 2020, SCR commits to the goal of including one musical or music-theatre piece in each Pacific Playwrights’ Festival.

  • Samples from the Lab: As a part of select Pacific Playwrights Festivals, SCR will present Samples from the Lab—excerpts from musicals and plays in development in The Lab@SCR.

  • Pinnacle Commissions: On its own, or in partnership with a like-minded theatre, SCR will periodically offer a large, “pinnacle commission” to a major American playwright. The inaugural commission of $60,000 is in partnership with Playwrights Horizons.

  • Mid-Career Commissions: SCR commissions exceptional mid-career playwrights, offering higher compensation, with an eye toward encouraging their continued contributions to the American theatre in the face of lucrative opportunities in other media.

  • Emerging Commissions: SCR places a special emphasis on investing in early-career playwrights, for whom a commission serves as both financial support—at a time when it’s particularly needed—and a vote of confidence.

  • CrossRoads Commissions: SCR’s CrossRoads Initiative provides commissions to writers whom the theatre brings to Orange County for immersive, community-engagement residencies at the beginning of and at key moments in their creative process. CrossRoads promotes a shared sense that new projects are being created for this community, inspired by this community and with the active engagement of people who live in Orange County neighborhoods.

  • NewSCRipts: SCR’s first new-play development program, NewSCRipts, was created in 1985 and opened a window on the development process for interested audience members. It allows playwrights the chance to hear their developing plays read and to receive audience feedback. Under The Lab@SCR, NewSCRipts will continue presenting three public play-readings on Monday nights throughout the season, which provide playwrights and SCR’s artistic staff with a way to test drive a work-in-progress and receive feedback from the audience. During the 2021-22 season, SCR expanded the NewSCRipts series to include NewSCRipts in Schools. In addition to the public reading at SCR, select readings in the series receive a subsequent presentation at a local college or university. This opportunity to engage with students allows the playwright a chance to hear their play in front of a second audience comprised of young theatre-makers. Information about our play submission procedures.

  • Lab/Work: These in-house readings and workshops will take place when a writer wants to work with actors and/or other collaborators without having a public audience at the end of the process. The Lab@SCR will provide numerous manners of in-house readings or workshops, ranging from a one-day table reading to a long-term exploration. By tailoring the collaborative experience to the needs of the individual writer and project, Lab/Work puts the emphasis on process and discovery.

  • Lab Residencies: Sometimes for a creative artist, it’s just about retreating from the demands of everyday life and being given a place and the time to write, away from the usual distractions. SCR playwrights always know they can find that retreat, now funded by The Lab@SCR.

About Commissions

Since 1983, SCR has awarded 356 commissions to 245 playwrights, composers and lyricists. These are the theatre’s most effective means of supporting and developing long-term relationships with writers. Vietgone by Qui Nguyen, Cambodian Rock Band by Lauren Yee, Three Days of Rain by Richard Greenberg, Brooklyn Boy by Donald Margulies, Golden Child by David Henry Hwang, The Beard of Avon by Amy Freed and A Doll's House, Part 2 by Lucas Hnath were all successful products of SCR commissions.

The theatre has produced 157 world premieres; and, since its founding in 1998, the Pacific Playwrights Festival (PPF), an annual, national showcase of new work, has presented 152 new plays. Eighty-five percent of PPF works have gone on to productions at SCR and/or other theatres.

Writers With Current Commissions

Luis Alfaro • Aurora de Asua • The Bengsons • Jane Bruce • Julia Cho • Mia Chung • Kate Cortesi • Spenser Davis • Evelina Fernández • Lindsey Ferrentino • Selina Fillinger • Amy Freed • Noa Gardner • Michael Golamco • José Cruz González • Isaac Gómez • Richard Greenberg • Dipika Guha • Lauren Gunderson • Adam Gwon • Jennifer Haley • Kate Hamill • Sean Hartley • Ike Holter • Naomi Iizuka • Branden Jacobs-Jenkins • Rajiv Joseph • Claire Kiechel • Michael John LaChiusa • Kimber Lee • Mike Lew • Alex Lin • Naomi Lorrain • Shayan Lotfi • Craig Lucas • Martyna Majok • Tony Meneses • Daniel Messé • Molly Smith Metzler • Michael Mitnick • Dominique Morisseau • Ana Nogueira • Liliana Padilla • Eliana Pipes • Max Posner • Kemp Powers • Ankita Raturi • Eliana Theologides Rodriguez • Heidi Schreck • Madhuri Shekar • Jen Silverman • Charly Evon Simpson • Charise Castro Smith • Octavio Solis • Susan Soon He Stanton • Sanaz Toossi • Sarah Treem • May Treuhaft-Ali • Mfoniso Udofia • York Walker • Lauren Yee • Karen Zacarías

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