OPEN-The New Jewish Theater Residency







LABA: The National Laboratory for New Jewish Culture at the 14th Street Y, (344 E. 14th St., NYC) and the Jewish Plays Project are proud to announce the new program OPEN, which is seeking five collaborative teams of theater artists for a three-week pilot residency program. The residency is designed to give selected artists time, space and support to create vibrant new work that extends the Jewish conversation through cutting-edge theater forms and techniques. The Residency runs from June 11 – July 1, 2012. Proposals are due by March 15th, 2012 at 6 pm. The announcement of the artists selected will be made on April 16th, 2012.


The contest is open to artists of all backgrounds, denominations, faiths, creeds, religions and other ideals.   For information on how to submit a proposal visit or see the attached information sheet.


OPEN is a key pilot program in the Jewish Plays Project’s mission to engage Jewish audiences in the future of Jewish theater. Each project must have at least 3 artists already committed to the work in significant ways. LABA and the Jewish Plays Project are not interested in single playwrights submitting work, actor’s with a vanity piece, or director’s with a single-minded concept. The goal is to gather thriving teams of multidisciplinary artists committed to their projects and to each other who are excited about coming together with like-minded artists to seek a new, contemporary, cutting-edge direction for Jewish theater in New York City


Each selected project will receive:

  • 20 hours of rehearsal space per week over 3 weeks including time in the theater.
  • A production stipend to cover minimal physical production elements.
  • Production, stage management and intern support.
  • Artistic and dramaturgical input as requested and needed.
  • Substantial marketing and PR support
  • At least one public performance of a selection of the resulting work.
  • Prominent place in the Project’s ongoing advocacy towards production.


Selected artists will also participate in the LABA’s Beit Midrash program, learning how ancient texts can inspire and inform their artistry. Under the guidance of master teachers Basmat Hazan Arnoff and Ruby Namdar, this part of the residency will introduce new ideas, sources and techniques that will serve as a resource for your work for years to come.



OPEN seeks to discover and develop a new generation of theater that reflects the 21st Century Jewish experience, and strives to engage a broad audience in a discussion of what that experience may be. Each project will be reviewed by a Community Panel of up to 30 lay leaders involved in the New York City Jewish Community who will score projects on the clarity, importance and personal connection of its Jewish ideas. A separate Artistic Panel of actors, directors, writers and academics will evaluate projects for their aesthetic value, structural and stylistic innovation, understanding of their target audience and production feasibility. 


ABOUT LABA: LABA: House of Study is a beit midrash for culture-makers at the 14th Street Y in New York City. Every year the LABA staff selects a group of 10 fellows — a mix of artists, writers, dancers, musicians, actors and others — to partake in a yearlong study of classical Jewish texts centered around a theme. The fellows then interpret these texts in their work which is featured in the bi-monthly online journal and annual year-end festival. A central focus of LABA is to present Judaism’s rich literary and intellectual traditions in a non-denominational, non-religious setting, so that these writings may serve as inspiration for the fellows’ art.


ABOUT THE JEWISH PLAYS PROJECT: The Jewish Plays Project is a development house for 21st Century Jewish theater. We seek to ignite an explosive engagement between cutting-edge theater artists and Jewish audiences by developing and advocating for a new generation of plays and musicals that embrace and investigate the intersection of Jewish identity and secular self.



David Winitsky                                                 Becky Skoff

Director, Jewish Plays Project                Manager, LABA, and the Theater at the 14th Street Y                

347.878.5771                                                              646.395.4322


OPEN has received generous support from the UJA-New York Committee on Jewish Identity and Renewal’s Gen I Task Force, the Louis T. Roth Foundation, and a host of individual donors.

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