New Voices: Players by the Sea Announces New Play Development Program

BY BRADLEY AKERS, PBTS Associate Director

Producing new plays by local writers is part of Players by the Sea Theatre’s mission, an initiative continued since its 1966 inception. Jacksonville is on the brink of experiencing a Renaissance in theatre, that which is highly sparked by New Play Development. Writers such as Al Letson, Barbara Colaciello, Kelby Siddons, David Sacks, Joshua McTiernan, and Olivia Gowan have presented their work on the Players by the Sea stage, elevating their artistic development and making Jacksonville an incubator for the new voice.

The hottest American theatre started somewhere, whether it was a living room reading or a workshop production. Now, in its 50th Season, Players by the Sea looks to structurally develop the next pieces of hot American theatre with a year long writing process that takes an idea from concept to production with financial and artistic support.

New Voices is Players by the Sea’s recently formed New Play Development Process. Starting with an open submission call from January 15 – March 1, 2016, aspiring and acclaimed writers are encouraged to submit 10 new pages of dialogue inspired by a concept they have for a new play. Writers are also asked to submit a 1-2 page proposal that clearly defines the concept for a new play along with a brief synopsis (keeping in mind that it is absolutely subject to change), reason to why this play would fit the mission of Players by the Sea and New Voices, and why the writer would benefit from a year long development process. Submissions will be adjudicated locally and nationally by a Panel comprised of theatre and writing professionals. The panel includes: Jayne Atkinson-Gill (Tony nominated actor), Lisa Dillman (Chicago-based playwright), Dylan Pickus (Literary Fellow at Playwrights Horizons in NYC), Barry Gordin (critic for in NYC), Harolyn Sharpe (Professor at FSCJ), and Simone Aden-Reid (teacher at Douglas Anderson School of the Arts & local actor). These panelists will select two playwrights who will embark on the year long development process. The accepted playwrights will be announced on April 1, 2016. After selection, the two playwrights are assigned Dramaturgs who will help guide the play through the entire development process. Playwrights will receive advice, constructive criticism, and general feedback during Developmental Meetings with the Dramaturg. A living room reading will be held once a first draft is complete, subsequently moving to rewrite sessions and a public reading. Once the plays reach a draft that can be rehearsed, auditions will be held and the plays will enter the rehearsal process. Both plays will be fully mounted in April 2017 as part of Players by the Sea’s 2016-2017 Season.

It is important to note that Players by the Sea is not looking for a play that is 90% written or already has a working draft. The goal is to find two concepts that will be developed and written into a full length play. More rules and regulations can be found on Players by the Sea’s website. This process is open for writers residing in Duval, St. Johns, Clay, and Nassau Counties. Submissions must be sent in PDF format to [email protected]. Submissions will not be accepted or read before January 15.

New Play Development is the life-blood of American Theatre, and this is an exciting program to follow as Players by the Sea hopes to develop the next hottest American voices! For more information contact Bradley Akers by phone at 249-0289 or 403-9837. Those interested can also reach Akers by email at [email protected].

New Voices aims to develop the next hot voices of American Theatre right here in Jacksonville. Two playwrights will be selected from a submission call and with an assigned dramaturg, will embark on a yearlong development process. Dramaturgs will help guide the playwright from concept to the writing process, offering advice and constructive criticism to help develop the strongest piece possible. At the end of this process, both playwrights will receive a mounted production of their brand new work.

With an exciting blend of local and national professionals, our panel of adjudicators will review all submissions and make a selection. The panelists are:

Click on each name for more information.

Jayne Atkinson Gill, Tony Award Nominated Actress
Lisa DillmanPlaywright, Chicago
Dylan PickusLiterary Fellow at Playwright’s Horizons, NYC
Barry GordinEditor-in-Chief at, NYC
Harolyn SharpeProfessor at FSCJ & Local Actor/Director, Jacksonville
Simone Aden-ReidLanguage Arts Instructor at Douglas Anderson & Local Actor, Jacksonville

Interested applicants are asked to submit the following:

  • 2 page compelling proposal. Let us know why you want to be selected and how you would benefit from a yearlong development process. Explain the concept for your play specifically and succinctly. Describe the emotional arch of the proposed play/concept.
  • 10 pages of dialogue. Please submit 10 pages of dialogue from a body of your work or 10 pages of dialogue that are the kick-off to your concept.
  • It is important to note that we are not looking for completed plays. We want to spend the next year working with you so that you can write and develop your new play.
  • Please submit your proposal in PDF Format to[email protected]. This is the only way to submit your proposal.


  • Submissions will be accepted from January 15 – March 1.
  • The two selected playwrights will be announced on April 1.
  • The process will begin with Development Meetings, moving to Living-Room Style Readings and Public Readings.
  • Auditions will be held for both plays in the early part of 2017.
  • Both plays will be performed in rep during April 2017 on our Studio Stage.


All great plays start with a voice. Let us hear yours! Both playwrights will receive a $2,000 stipend upon completion of the process.

For more information, please call Bradley Akers (PBTS Associate Director) at904.249.0289, email him at [email protected] or

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About Bradley Akers