Tennessee Playwrights Studio

Developing Fresh Voices for the 21st Century

Developing Fresh Voices for the 21st Century

Developing Fresh Voices for the 21st CenturyDeveloping Fresh Voices for the 21st Century

"The TPS fellowship (in every sense of the word) was a gift. I started the year with a huge stack of pages and no idea whether any of it made sense. Hearing the words read aloud by actors, and hearing feedback from everyone in the room, helped me cut the chaff and revamp the rest. Every deadline was incentive to write, and every meeting gave me a sense of progress and anticipation: I couldn’t wait to see what would happen next in the other Fellows’ plays. It all culminated in the wonderful festival, where we sat back and watched as the most talented directors and actors brought our work to life."

              -- Claudia Barnett, 2018 Fellow

About Us

Develop your vision for the stage with Tennessee Playwrights Studio

We're a development lab for Tennessee playwrights, and we're looking for strong, brave, even fierce voices. Bring a point of view, a handful of characters and a kick-ass narrative, and we'll get along just fine. No one can deny that we live in a pivotal moment in this country's history. When historians look back at the early 21st century, they'll examine our art, our music, our STORIES. Let us help you tell yours on stage. 

Participants meet one Sunday per month at the Darkhorse Theatre Chapel in Nashville. After developing their scripts with the help of peer feedback and readings by local actors, TPS writers will present their working  drafts to the public in late fall. 

Tennessee Playwrights Studio is committed to inclusion and a safe, harassment-free work environment.

Kenley Smith


directs the TPS program. He came to Nashville in 2011 as an Ingram New Works playwright, and he facilitated the Writing Room at Nashville Rep from 2015 to 2017. Earlier, Kenley founded Studio Roanoke, a new-works venue in Virginia that put up some 30 first or second productions from 2009 to 2012. His plays, including DEVIL SEDAN, EMPIRES OF ETERNAL VOID and MAIDENS, have been produced in Chicago, Nashville, Memphis and Omaha; AKUMA-SHIN received its world premiere in 2018 at Sacred Fools Theatre in Los Angeles. All three plays were MainStage selections at the Great Plains Theatre Conference in Omaha. Learn more about Kenley and his work here.

Molly Breen


the Program Coordinator for TPS, is an actor who loves working with new plays and playwrights. She performs with many Nashville theatre companies, has appeared on stage in Atlanta, Kentucky, Los Angeles, New York and Washington, D.C. and has also originated roles in more than 15 world premiere productions. As a writer, she has received fellowships with the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and the Mary Anderson Center for the Arts. Actors interested in participating in TPS workshops or readings can send headshot/resume/ age range to molly@tnplaywrights.org.

how to apply

Applications are now closed.

Check out our 2020 cohort here!

What documents are in an application?

During our annual call for scripts, you'll submit up to 20 pages of a prior play OR (if you're new to writing for the stage) up to 5,000 words in another genre.  We also ask for a 250-word biography and a 500-word synopsis/statement of purpose regarding the new play you propose to write in our lab. The application and the program are free of charge. Transportation and lodging in Nashville are not included.

Do I need to have a full manuscript of my play in hand before I begin?

Absolutely not! We ask that you propose a brand-new, full-length script that you will develop over the course of the lab. You'll receive feedback all along the way, and actors will be available to perform your fresh material. You will also have ample time for revisions and new drafts. At the end of the process, playwrights will receive public readings of their work.

our home for 2020


TPS partners with Actors Bridge Ensemble

We're delighted to be working in partnership again with Actors Bridge Ensemble! ABE has long been an advocate for new works, producing dozens of world and Nashville premieres. and always provides Middle Tennessee audiences with bold, challenging theatre. We can't think of an organization that better shares our goals and outlook.

Beginning in March, our monthly workshops will be in the Actors Bridge Studio behind the Darkhorse Theatre  at Charlotte Avenue and 47th Avenue N. in Nashville. Our 2020 Reading Festival will run for a week in December, also in the Actors Bridge Studio.

Actors Bridge will present Eve Ensler's THE VAGINA MONOLOGUES on Feb. 12 at City Winery; tickets are available here. ABE's continuing program, FIRST TIME STORIES, runs on the third Friday of the month.

Contact Us

Drop us a line!


Tennessee Playwrights Studio

4610 Charlotte Ave, Nashville, Tennessee 37209, United States