We are grateful for your interest in sharing your voice with us. With the hope of creating a streamlined and transparent process, we offer the following information to give you a sense of what to expect when you do.
Our mission at Steppenwolf Theatre Company is to strive to create thrilling, courageous and provocative art in a thoughtful and inclusive environment. We seek work that sparks curiosity, empathy and joy to help artists and audiences navigate our complex world together.
Steppenwolf plays contain collision. This manifests itself in many ways: collision of ideas, events, personalities, ideologies, etc. It is essential that stakes are high and that the central plot has the potential to inspire nuanced conversation. Rich character work is especially appealing to our ensemble members. We are interested in modes of storytelling that help expand our audience’s idea of what to expect when they come into our space and we welcome work that is brave, complex, intersectional and bold.
Steppenwolf Theatre Company accepts full-length scripts year-round from literary agents and theatre professionals with whom we have an existing relationship; if you are a represented writer, please have your agent send us your material directly. We regularly attend virtual and in-person readings, festivals and productions. We have strong relationships with play development centers, other theaters and writing programs that result in many submissions each year. In addition, we research and actively solicit new work from local writers and/or unrepresented artists who are not yet on the national radar.
For many years we have accepted unsolicited submissions every July and August from Chicagoland writers only. In July 2020, we opened up our unsolicited submissions to unrepresented talent everywhere, which resulted in more than twice the number of submissions we normally receive. Now in 2021, in recognition of our commitment to fostering unrepresented and local voices, during the months of July and August, we invite unrepresented writers to submit an application for our SCOUT New Play Development Initiative, which provides a one-week workshop during which the playwright works with one or more members of our ensemble to develop their play and this process culminates in a public reading.
Please note that scripts received via this portal will also be considered for Steppenwolf mainstage productions and Steppenwolf for Young Adults, but we are shifting the main purpose of this unsolicited submission period to be for development with SCOUT, as this program is especially designed for writers who are new to Steppenwolf.
To be considered for SCOUT, please include the following via the portal below:
- Brief biography
- One paragraph play synopsis
- Ten pages of sample dialogue
- Brief statement (no more than 200 words) detailing why you see Steppenwolf as the right home for your project
- Because we are an ensemble theater, we do not consider one-person plays.
- Plays that require a cast of more than 12 performers cannot be considered.
- We rarely produce musicals and therefore do not accept unsolicited musical submissions.
- Work written explicitly for the virtual platform will not be considered.
- Due to our limited staff and in an effort to consider as many new projects as possible, please do not resubmit work that has already been reviewed.
- We only accept unsolicited submissions via the portal on this site; no hard copy submissions.
- Please submit only one project per year.
Due to the number of submissions we receive and our limited capacity, we cannot personally respond to every submission. Please know that each and every submission is read by trusted and paid literary personnel within four months. If we are interested in requesting the full script, you will hear from us before the new year. If you do not hear from us by then, please know that your work has been given careful consideration and that we won’t be requesting the full script.
Apply for Steppenwolf’s SCOUT new play development initiative by filling out the form below! Thank you for coming along with us as we strive to create a more equitable and inclusive submission process.
Let us know about your readings!
Playwrights are always welcome to email invitations for upcoming readings (live or virtual) to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please know that we do our best to attend as many readings as possible with our limited staff. Please do not submit unsolicited scripts to this email address.
Are you a Chicago-based performance artist? Learn more about presenting your work as part of LookOut, our multidisciplinary performance series.