North Carolina Playwrights Lab

Development of original plays by NC playwrights

The North Carolina Playwrights Lab is a premiere, professional program for developing new works by playwrights residing in this beautiful state. NCPL provides a robust set of tools and space for playwrights to dig deep and develop their plays in hopes of taking the next step in the journey to full production.

The 2023 North Carolina Playwrights Lab will develop 2 full-length, original plays, written by NC playwrights, over 3 weeks with 2 staged-reading presentations for a public audience. Selected pieces will be chosen through a 2-step reading process by a seasoned reading committee. At the heart of this experience is the opportunity for playwrights to receive moderated feedback sessions with a panel of 3 local and national industry professionals after each presentation of their work. These sessions are intended to inspire brave edits in the week between presentations and beyond!

Selected pieces will receive the following:

  • 2 staged readings for the public in a local venue
  • Basic technical capabilities with a sound designer and lighting designer
  • Rehearsal facilities will be provided for a 2 week, in-person, rehearsal process, equipped with printers to implement live edits – we love new pages!
  • Each piece will be assigned a professional creative team including a seasoned director, dramaturg, stage manager, as well as a qualified cast
  • 3 panelists, locally and out-of-state, will provide moderated critique after each presentation, along with playing a key role in the script editing process
  • Playwright Compensation – $500, PLUS HOUSING if outside the greater Triangle area

Performance Location/Dates:

TR Studio Theatre, 3027 Barrow Drive, Raleigh, NC, 27616

The 2023 North Carolina Playwrights Lab will be held from August 14 – September 2

August 19 – The Learning Curve

August 26 – It Was June

August 27 – The Learning Curve

September 2 – It Was June

All presentations are at 3pm


The North Carolina Playwrights Lab is generously sponsored in part by…

Debbie and Mark Hammersla &

Allyson and Mark Pfeffer


Vickie G. Hampton

The Learning Curve

SYNOPSIS: When a black science teacher from an urban school takes a job at a private, predominately white school, he and the white principal clash in ideologies, perspectives and cultures. Can they navigate a learning curve that has thrown then both for a loop?

Vickie G. Hampton is an award-winning editor and writer who is now expanding her craft to the art of storytelling.

She has had three consecutive plays — “Sarah and Sally,” “Learning Curve” and “I Am Grace” — selected for staged readings at the National Black Theater Festival, which biennially draws 60,000 theater patrons from around the globe to Winston Salem, N.C., to showcase the best of black theater.

“I Am Grace” was fully staged in May 2021 by Face Off Theatre Company in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Another play, “I’m Not Buying It,” was produced as an immersive experience in June 2021 by 7Stages’ Human Lights Festival: A Curious Experience in Atlanta, Georgia. “I’m Not Buying It” will be staged at the 11th Columbus (Ohio) Black Theatre festival in July 2023.

Hampton is a full-time editorial contractor whose projects include editing magazines and newsletters; project managing marketing and fund-raising publications; developing scripts for major events; writing executive-level correspondence and speeches; and creating content for publications, advertisements, public relations collateral, and the Web. She is also the author of two children’s books, My Day at the Zoo and My Day at the Aquarium.

Hampton received a bachelor’s degree in English and journalism from Tougaloo College in Tougaloo, Miss., and a master’s in journalism from Columbia University in New York.

Steffi Rubin

It Was June

SYNOPSIS: Andi knocks on Owen’s door, greeted by the smell of coffee and bacon grease. She comes with news that takes the old man back to his youth, to a moment at Ocean Beach. Before long, uninvited revelations disrupt the family’s collective memory and call into question everything they thought they knew.

Steffi Rubin came to play writing with the main stage premiere of “The Woodstock Tontine,” which was also selected for The Road Theatre’s Summer Playwrights Festival and Mad Cow Theatre’s Women’s Voices. Her play, “Always Will,” was presented virtually during 2020 and was a finalist at the Garry Marshall Theatre New Works Festival. A commissioned piece, “Ogrowdowa Street,” based on the life of Rachmiel Frydland, enjoyed a premiere in Cary, NC in November 2021. “My Other Mother,” the musical based on her life as an adoptee (with composer Miriam Kook), has had staged readings in Maryland in 2018 and 2019. Steffi is also the lyricist for “Beyond the Dressing Room,” featuring Bianca Leigh, Rebekah Root and Austin Pendleton, which began workshops in NYC, 2019. Originally from the Bronx, NY, Steffi lives in Chapel Hill, NC.


Guest Panelist

Joe Calarco

Joe is a multiple award-winning director and playwright. Off Broadway credits include Patrick Barlow’s adaptation of A Christmas Carol (Drama Desk nomination), the world premieres of Boy and In Transit(Drama Desk nomination), at Primary Stages, The Burnt Part Boys and Floyd and Clea Under the Western Sky at Playwrights Horizons, the world premieres of The Summer of the Swans and Sarah, Plain and Tall at the Lucille Lortel, the world premiere of The Mistress Cycle for The New York Musical Theatre Festival, the world premiere of Fugitive Songs, and the first New York revival of Bury the Dead and The Memory Show for The Transport Group. He is the adaptor/director of Shakespeare’s R&J, which ran for a year Off-Broadway and earned him a Lucille Lortel Award.

Regionally Joe has won Best Director Barrymore Awards for both Ordinary Days at 11th Hour Theatre Company and The Light in the Piazza at Philadelphia Theatre Company. Other shows at PTC include The Last Five Years (Barrymore Award Best Musical), Elegies (Barrymore nomination), and M. Butterfly. At Signature Theatre in Arlington Virginia, he has directed Assassins (Helen Hayes Award), the world premiere of Nijinsky’s Last Dance (Helen Hayes Award), Side Show (Helen Hayes Award), Urinetown (Helen Hayes Award), Gypsy (Helen Hayes nomination), God of Carnage, Jesus Christ Superstar, The Flick, John, The Scottsboro Boys, the world premieres of Nest, The Gulf,  The Boy Detective Fails, Cake Off, as well as the world premieres of his own plays Walter Cronkite is Dead and In the Absence of Spring which premiered in New York as the inaugural production of Second Stage’s New Plays Uptown series under his own direction. Other regional work includes the world premiere of Lincolnesque as well as The Glass Menagerie at the Old Globe, the world premieres of the musicals The Burnt Part Boys, The Memory Show, and The Mysteries of Harris Burdick (also book writer), as well as Kiss Me Kate, Breaking the CodeRomance in Hard Times, Ragtime, A Doll’s House Part 2, Into The Woods, Sister Sorry (world premiere), and Waiting For Godot (Berkshire Critics Association Award) at Barrington Stage Company where he is an Associate Artist, The Circus in Winter and LMNOP at Goodspeed, the world premiere of Short Order Stories for Charter Theatre in Virginia, the world premiere of The Religion Thing at Theater J in Washington D.C. At the O’Neill Musical Theatre Conference, he has directed Broadcast, The Toymaker, Sarah Plain and Tall, In Transit, Picnic at Hanging Rock, and The Shadow Sparrow. He is the director of Twice Charmed: an original twist on the Cinderella story for Disney Creative Entertainment, and his reworking of Ring of Fire: the music of Johnny Cash toured the U.S for over a year.

As a writer his published work includes In The Absence of Spring (Playscripts and included in The Best Stage Scenes of 2004), Walter Cronkite is Dead (Dramatists Play Service and included in The Best Stage Monologues of 2013), Shakespeare’s R&J (DPS), his short plays, Just A Little Sniffle and Parting Gifts, two collections of his plays for teens Signature in the Schools Volumes 1&2 (Concord Theatricals). His other work for teens includes 295N, Smile Lines, 12 Million Footsteps, The Spoken Word, Winter Break and Spring Break (DPS) which will soon be followed by Summer Break, and Final Break, as well as two one acts 17 and 18 (Playscripts). Other adaptations include A Midsummer Night’s Dream (The Shakespeare Theater Company) which he has reworked once again for 8 actors as Well Met By Moonlight and will soon be published by Theatrical Rights Worldwide, and Antigone Renewed, which had its first workshop at the National Theater in London.

Other produced work includes A Measure of Cruelty (Carbonell Award nomination Best New Work and included in The Best Stage Monologues of 2013) at Mosaic Theater and will soon be published by TRW, Isolated Incidents, Watershed, and Waiting for Expanded Arts Inc., and Separate Rooms at 4615 Theatre in Silver Spring, Maryland, which is included in the Best Stage Monologues of 2020 and will soon be published by TRW. He is the book writer for the musicals The Mysteries of Harris Burdick with composer Chris Miller and lyricist Nathan Tysen, which had its West End premiere in conjunction with Mercury Musical Development and its U.S. premier at Barrington Stage Company, for Golden Gate with composer/lyricist Richard Pearson Thomas (developed at Second Stage and Lincoln Center), and he was a contributing book writer of the Drama Desk Award nominated The Audience (The Transport Group.) His current work in development includes The Circus in Winter with composer/lyricist Ben Clark, and A Rhythmic Me with collaborators Jared Grimes and Mark Meadows.

He served as Director of New Works at the Tony Award winning Signature Theatre in Arlington, Virginia, as resident playwright at Expanded Arts, Inc. for two years, and as Resident Director at Barrington Stage Company. He has been a Joseph Papp artist in residence at Second Stage, sat on the Executive Board of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society (SDC), is one of New York Theatre Workshop’s “usual suspects,” is a Drama League directing fellow, and is a member of The Dramatists Guild.