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The Mark Plesent Commission Fund 2024

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The Mark Plesent Commission Fund supports the annual commission and development of new plays by working people. The commission provides mentorship, as well as financial and developmental support. Up to two commissions will be awarded annually to promising writers from our constituency of working people, who have not had the privilege or the resources to self-identify or support themselves professionally as artists, but who have shown extraordinary talent, consistency of practice, and a commitment to writing within the mission of Working Theater.

Applications for the 2024 cohort of the Mark Plesent Commission Fund will be open January 24th-February 23rd, 2024.


  • identify as a working person or working-class person; 
  • have never been paid to write a play or earned a paycheck as a professional writer, though they may have writing experience; 
  • love to write, but have not had the chance to develop their writing craft in a professional or university setting.
  • Applicants must reside in the NYC-metropolitan area.
  • If you have questions about your eligibility, we urge you to reach out to 



  • a full-time essential worker who’s always had a passion for storytelling; 
  • a parent who has put writing on hold to balance work and childcare; or 
  • a retiree who is just getting back to or discovering an old passion.

This is meant to be a safe and inclusive space that will offer mentorship, support, and community to those who are seeking to develop their voice. Whether you’ve secretly always loved writing, are discovering a new creative interest, or anything in between, we’re looking for undeveloped and undiscovered voices who need room to grow.


Recipients will be announced at Working Theater’s Annual Bridge Awards & Benefit in May/June 2024. Participants will receive a commission fee of $2,000 and be provided with a professional playwright mentor to advise and guide them in the process. The mentorship will begin in late spring 2024 and culminate in a developmental workshop with professional directors and actors in fall 2024. 


Step 1: Application 

  • 10-Page Writing Sample Submission: Let us get to know your work! Writing samples can include an excerpt from a full-length play*, short play*, screenplay*, short story, or other narrative story. (preferred*)
  • Cover Letter: Tell us a bit about yourself. You can speak about the kind of stories you want to tell and why you are drawn to storytelling. This can be a written paragraph or a 1-2 minute video.
  • If you are interested in applying and require any accommodations regarding the submission deadlines or requested materials, please reach out to
  • Applications will be open January 24th-February 23rd, 2024

Step 2: Finalist Interviews (April 2024 via zoom/phone) 

Step 3: Recipients Selected and Notified (April 2024)


Working Theater exists to bridge the access gap to theater.  We bring stories for, about, and with working people to the professional stage in NYC.  Working with our community, we aim to remove barriers such as relevance and affordability so that working people can experience and engage with theater in their everyday lives.


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