Theatre Arts & Performance Studies

Writing is Live Festival

Writing is Live celebrates the diversity and strength of new theatrical voices while simultaneously exploring the meaning of text in performance.

Performance writing takes forms complete and incomplete, narrative and imagistic, compact and durational. As such, the festival plays with the idea of the live, allowing the development and evolution of new work in conversation with the writer, directors, actors, designers, and audience.  All are collaborators in the exciting life of the new performance script. 

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The Festival

The festival (formerly the New Plays Festival) is made possible through support from an endowed fund for the Adele Kellenberg Seaver ’49 Professorship in Literary Arts. Every year, the festival presents a combination of readings and workshop productions of new plays by graduate theatre artists from Brown and one or more productions by undergraduate Writing for Performance concentrators. The plays are acted and directed by students in the Brown/Trinity MFA program, Brown University’s undergraduate programs, and the community at large. 

The Structure

Writing is Live 2011
Writing is Live 2011- The Darkson Chronicles

Texts may take forms narrative or imagistic, compact or durational, sited in a theater or – anywhere else. Our scripts may feature improvisation, orature, music, dance, video… noise and hospitality and activism and any manner of human behavior.

The purpose of Writing is Live is to bring our writers closer to an understanding of the situations they have proposed – the behaviors they are asking for from the co-makers (artists, audience). Our festival also explores and articulates a set of relationships between Brown, Trinity and greater Providence. We welcome and value all our collaborators.

In the first year of the MFA program, the writers work through Articulation – focusing on the construction and shape and design of their project – clarifying thinking and notation. In their second year, the writers enter into the Atelier project – building out from their blueprints into time and space, drafting performance ideas. In the third year, we offer support of the writer’s Action, where we commit to more fully realized enactments of thesis.

In all cases, the actors, directors and designers are full co-conversationalists, illuminating and charging the life in the live.


With any questions or to schedule an interview with any of the festival’s participants, including the graduating MFA playwrights, please contact us at