When the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation announced a $2 million challenge grant for CENTERSTAGE to establish the nation's first dramaturgy endowment, the first question out of many mouths was simple: "What is a dramaturg?"
The Foundation has enthusiastically endorsed the answer developed over the last 20 years by CENTERSTAGE: a dramaturg is an integral component of an artistically driven theater or theatrical production - and is worth significant financial support as well.
CENTERSTAGE has one of the country's largest and most accomplished Dramaturgical departments. Our dramaturgy staff includes a full-time resident dramaturg and a part-time Associate Artist. Visit their official blog!
Gavin Witt, Associate Artistic Director/Director of Dramaturgy, came to CENTERSTAGE in 2003 as Resident Dramaturg, having served in that role previously at several Chicago theaters. As a dramaturg, he has worked on well over 60 plays, from classics to new commissions—including play development workshops and freelance dramaturgy for TCG, The Playwrights Center, The New Harmony Project, The Old Globe, Bay Area Playwrights Festival, Contemporary American Theatre Festival, the Kennedy Center, and others. A graduate of Yale and the University of Chicago, he was active in Chicago theater for more than a decade as an actor, director, dramaturg, translator, and teacher, not to mention co-founder of greasy joan & co. theater, while serving as a regional Vice President of LMDA, the national association of dramaturgs. He has been on the faculty of the University of Chicago and DePaul University, and currently teaches at Towson University.
Susanna Gellert, Artistic Producer, joined CENTERSTAGE in January 2012. Prior to arriving in Baltimore, she worked as a freelance director in New York while also receiving a Masters in Theater Studies from the English Department of Columbia University. Recent directing projects include Mud Blue Sky by Marisa Wegrzyn and the world premiere event of My America at CENTERSTAGE, Bar Joke by Sam Allingham (Old American Can Factory), Open the Dark Door by David Nugent (New York Music Theater Festival), Visiting Day by Andy Bragen (Sewanee Writers’ Conference), Fugue States (PS 122), You Can’t Take It With You (University of Rochester), The Boss in the Satin Kimono (New York International Fringe Festival), The Duchess of Malfi (FSU/Asolo Conservatory), and Marat/Sade (The Fisher Center for Performing Arts at Bard College). Additional New York directing credits include The Lacy Project (Soho Think Tank’s Ice Factory ’07, the Ohio Theater), adaptations of Tamburlaine the Great and Valkyrie (Target Margin Theater), Match and L’Interieur (American Living Room), as well as workshops at the Lark, EST, and NYU. Susanna has taught at the University of Rochester, Bard College, Columbia University, and NYU. She was the founding Artistic Director of Chicago’s I-80 Drama Co. and an associate artist at Target Margin Theater. Currently, she is a member of Wingspace, a theatrical design collective, and the Women’s Project Directors’ Lab. A recipient of SDCF’s Sir John Gielgud Fellowship and the Julian Milton Kaufman Memorial Prize, Susanna is a graduate of Yale School of Drama and The University of Chicago.
Kellie Mecleary, Artistic and Dramaturgy Senior Fellow, holds a Master’s Degree in Performance Studies from New York University and a BA in English and Theater from Goucher College. She has worked as a dramaturg, director, critic, producer, administrator, and stage manager with various organizations including Brave New World Repertory Company, Pipeline Theater Company, WOW Café Theater, Manhattan Theater Source, and Vital Theater. Her writing has been published through Cerise Press and OffOffOnline.com. Locally, she served as production dramaturg for American Buffalo and A Skull in Connemara at CENTERSTAGE, as well as productions with Single Carrot Theatre and the BROS (Baltimore Rock Opera Society). She is co-producer of the Pub Labs at Liam Flynn's Ale House.
Because of the sheer volume of submissions, CENTERSTAGE will NOT accept any unsolicited scripts unless they are submitted by bona fide literary agents.
How to Be Invited to Submit a Play
If you are interested in having your play considered, please send an inquiry according to the following guidelines. It is not necessary (or helpful) to bind or cover your material, and email inquiries are encouraged.
- Send a brief letter of inquiry and introduction to Gavin Witt, Resident Dramaturg. You may mail this c/o CENTERSTAGE, 700 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, MD 21202; or send your inquiry via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Include a brief (1 page or less) synopsis of your piece(s) and a cast breakdown (indicating the total number of actors required).
- Include a script excerpt of up to 10 sequential pages (these not be the opening pages, but if not please provide some basic context).
- You must provide a SASE/P or an e-mail address if you wish a response, including acknowledgement of receipt; if you want your materials returned, please note this and be sure to include sufficient postage to send them back.
- For musicals, please include a CD recording of songs/music.
- You may include a brief bio or resume, or reviews from workshops, readings, or past productions if you like, but these are optional.
Please note that, while we try to get to all submissions promptly, it may take some time for us to evaluate your materials and respond; but so long as you have provided us with the means to reply we will do so if we would like to see a full copy of your work.
Remember: You may ONLY submit an entire script by explicit invitation, or through a literary agent. We regret that we will not be able to read or return any script received without prior invitation.