Shakespeare Festival St Louis - In the Park

Building on the success of Shakespeare in the Streets, the Emerging Writers pilot fellowship, and In the Works, we’re excited to announce our latest initiative in support of new works and emerging writers—the Confluence Regional Writers Project, launching during our 2019 season.

The Confluence Regional Writers Project will

  • Support for a cohort of early career playwrights
  • Provide annual commission of a new play by a prominent regional writer
  • Pursue multi-year development of new plays by the Confluence cohort




November 1, 2018–Submission Deadline
January 2019–Confluence Kick-Off Retreat for Playwriting Fellow and Cohort
February – November 2019–Monthly meetings with Playwriting Fellow and Cohort
October/November 2019–Rehearsals with actors/directors
November 2019–Staged readings of finished plays


The Confluence Regional Writers Project will be produced by Shakespeare Festival St. Louis starting in our 2019 season. Our goal is to further foster a regional culture of playwriting by providing support and inspiration to emerging playwrights in St. Louis and its radiating regions through a Playwriting Fellowship, an Emerging Playwrights Cohort, and new plays commissioned and developed by the Festival.

The Playwriting Fellowship is a year-long residency at Shakespeare Festival St. Louis of an established, nationally-recognized playwright. The Fellow receives a commission for a new work with an option for the Festival to produce that new work. The Fellow also mentors the Playwrights Cohort at events throughout the year.

The Emerging Playwrights Cohort is a group of emerging playwrights (three in year one, building to four-five by year three) who meet monthly for day long workshops and writing sessions in St. Louis. Each playwright commits to producing a new full-length work. Each playwright will be assigned a director, a dramaturg, and actors to work with on a public reading of the play during the Festival season.

Emerging Playwrights will have a range of levels from having written one good one-act to having a play or two produced regionally. The Festival will seek a diverse cohort in terms of race, age, gender identification and/or level of physical ability. At least one position in The Playwrights Cohort will be reserved for a St. Louis-based playwright and special consideration will be given to playwrights who are interested in community-based work.


Confluence Project Director Nancy Bell is the author of the past five Shakespeare in the Streets adaptations, two of which received St. Louis Theatre Circle Awards for Outstanding New Play. Nancy was also recognized in 2017 with the St. Louis Visionary Award.  She is the author of VENUS, finalist for the Next Generation New Play Prize, 2012, and co-author of PRESENT TENSE, winner of the LaBute Playwriting Festival, 2013. Her new play for youth, THE RUNAWAY CUPCAKE, was produced by OnSite Theatre Company. Nancy is Assistant Professor of Theatre at Saint Louis University, where she directs and teaches acting.

Inaugural Confluence Fellow Carter Lewis teaches Introduction to Playwriting, Advanced Playwriting and Dramaturgy at Washington University in St. Louis. Prior to that, he was Resident Dramaturg & Playwright-in-Residence for The Geva Theatre Center in New York.  Carter was also co-founder and Resident Playwright for Upstart Stage in Berkeley, California. He is the winner of several national playwriting awards including: The Julie Harris – Playwriting Award, The State Theatre – Best New American Play, The Cincinnati Playhouse Rosenthal New Play Prize (’96 & 2001), New Dramatist Arnold Weissberger Playwriting Award, Playwright’s Center Jerome Residency, The Kevin Kline Award for Best New Play of 2009 and he is a two time nominee for the American Theatre Critics Award. For his play, While We Were Bowling, Carter was the recipient of an NEA/TCG Residency Grant for Playwriting, and The Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation Award for Best New American Play.


The Confluence Regional Writers Project is generously funded by Sondra & Dorsey Ellis.