If Such a Thing as a "Theater Boot Camp" Existed, It Would Be This. Discuss.

We at IP like to think we choose our words carefully, so when we saw that the Dramatist Guild Fund (DGF) was expanding its fellowship program, a perfectly naturally question emerged: From a duration standpoint, when does a "fellowship" become a "boot camp?"

Two weeks? Two months? How about six months?

While there's no definitive authority on such matters, we'll go out on a limb and say that yes, an intensive nine month fellowship program certainly resembles a "boot camp." (In the best possible way, of course.)

Indeed, each year, the guild selects a group of new theater writers for a program which provides continued support and training. The nine-month program includes group sessions with theater professionals, one-on-one mentoring, and opportunities to become interns or observers with dramatists involved in professional productions. 

According to the fund, the program is unique "not only in the kinds of opportunities it offers, but also because it brings together both playwrights and musical theater writers to discuss their work and common goals."

And so the guild encourages playwrights, composers and lyricists to apply. Musical theater fellows should apply as creative teams; those who write both music and lyrics would apply alone as a "self-contained" writer.

The fund recently selected fellows for this year's development programs. Check them out here.

Now in it's 15th year, the program shows no signs of slowing down. Indeed, as previously noted, it's actually expanding, welcoming an impressive cohort of institutions like Eugene O’Neill Theater Center into the mix to offer residency programs to one playwright or writing team. (Tangentially speaking, this development reminds us of the Tow Foundation's Playwright-in-Residence program.)

The Dramatists Guild Fund is the public charity arm of the Dramatists Guild of America (DGA), whose mission is to "aid and nurture writers for the theatre; to fund non-profit theaters producing contemporary American works; and to heighten awareness, appreciation, and support of theatre across the country."

Take a look at the DGF's site and you'll see they offer one-time emergency grants to individual playwrights, lyricists, and composers in need of temporary financial assistance due to unexpected illness or extreme hardship. (Tangentially speaking, this offering reminds us of the Foundation for Contemporary Arts' Emergency Grants program for visual and performance artists.)

But there's more. The DGF also offers grants to nonprofit theaters and theatrical institutions across the country that develop and/or produce contemporary American plays and musicals in support of the American writer. Click here for more information.

As for the aforementioned playwright and musical theater fellowship, evidence suggests that aside from its duration, the program bears no striking resemblance to a boot camp in the conventional sense. 

But wouldn't it be cool if the fellowship included a sunrise bugle reveille of "One Last Time" from Hamilton?