Downstage Left residencies are designed to help playwrights take a project from the conceptual stage all the way to a production-ready script. Playwrights work closely with one of our ensemble directors and members of the literary team to design a process tailored to the particular needs of their project.

The Bottle Tree -- 2016

Script Submissions

Our Residency application round is currently closed, please watch this space for updates on when the application process will re-open. Email any questions to:

Season 37 Residencies
The Volunteer
by Cassandra Rose

In March 1981, Roger Fisher published an article detailing a new, more personal form of nuclear deterrence: The nuclear launch codes would be surgically placed behind a volunteer's beating heart. The President would have to kill one person before killing millions. With the help of a mysterious Volunteer, Fisher's thought experiment becomes an alternate 1980s reality. The Volunteer is a surprisingly timely and dark political comedy.

This residency will be directed by Brittany Gillespie, with dramaturgy by Allison Diamond.

Cercle Hermaphroditos
by Shualee Cook

In 1895 New York, trans man Ambrose Carlton has a plan to beat the restrictive system around him and live as himself as much as possible - to find a bride at Roland "Laureline" Reeves' infamous Cercle Hermaphroditos, a social club for "androgynes" (aka, trans women). Ambrose hopes to find a lady at the club he can legally marry, then live the life expected of them in public while pursuing the life they want in private. But finding the proper match becomes more difficult than he expected, especially after the club is raided by police and the fragile safe place Laureline has created threatens to break apart for good.

Cassandra Rose-pic_edited.jpg

Cassandra Rose

This bisexual playwright has had over 300 of her plays performed in Chicago and beyond. That includes the hundreds of micro-plays that made up all five years of The Dictionary Project, a challenge she created for herself to write short plays for her friends based on their suggestions and random words found in the dictionary. Her longer plays include The Amen Trilogy, The Battle of Charlottesville, Billy to his Friends, and The Volunteer. Her work has been produced by Broken Nose Theatre, City Theatre, Cold Basement Dramatics, Jackalope Theatre Company, Nothing Special Productions, The One Minute Play Festival, and The Whiskey Radio Hour. And Cassandra sometimes starts theatre companies; she was a founding member of the Chicago Theatre Marathon and Cold Basement Dramatics. Girl gets around. Cassandra earned her BA in playwriting from Columbia College Chicago, and she's a Tutterow Fellow Alumna.

Shualee Cook

Shualee Cook has been writing theatre in the Midwest for so long that she’s starting to forget how to speak Californian. She is currently a resident playwright at Tesseract Theatre in Saint Louis. Productions, readings and workshops include An Invitation Out (Mustard Seed Theatre, Benchmark Theatre Fever Dream Festival), Sunset Artists of the American West, (2016 Chicago New Work Festival), Tempest In A Teapot (R-S Theatrics, 2016 Idle Muse Athena Festival), The Geography of Nowhere (Mustard Seed Theatre), Osgood Rex (2012 Saint Louis Fringe Festival) and Music of the Goddess (SATE Aphra Behn Emerging Artists Showcase).

Previous Residencies

Well Intentioned White People by Rachel Lynett
Cercle Hermaphroditos 
by Shualee Cook

The Sitayana by Lavina Jadhwani
Continuity by Joe Zarrow

St. Sebastian by Andrew Kramer
The New Deal by Mrinalini Kamath

The Bottle Tree by Beth Kander
Heartland by Gabriel Jason Dean
The Comparables by Laura Schellhardt
The Firestorm by Meridith Friedman
The Liar Paradox by Kristin Idaszak
The Abacus by Bilal Dardai
Warped by Barbara Lhota
Witches Vanish by Claudia Barnett
Blessed Assurance: The Story of Boston Corbett, Slayer of Booth by Randall Colburn
The Face of a Ruined Woman (later Impenetrable) by Mia McCullough
Here Where It’s Safe by M.E.H. Lewis