The Process

The world is full of new play festivals, but there's only one Element.  We offer emerging playwrights an opportunity to work outside the typically solitary experience of playwriting and to begin to understand how their play works onstage.  Our top priority is offering access to a unique, creatively stimulating environment and a talented community of theater artists. 

For one week, those working on each play will meet frequently to rehearse for a staged reading, as the playwright revises and works with his or her cast and director to explore and prepare the piece.  Rehearsals will begin with a 24-hour intensive, in which the cast, director, and playwright live together in the Element space, where they can work on the play without distractions.  The 24-hour period helps cement the bond between actors, director, and writer that enables them to take risks and do truly challenging and exciting work. 

Each staged reading is performed before members of the public and invited members of the Chicago theater community.  It will include a moderated talkback designed to help the playwright understand the audience's experience and attack his or her next stage of revisions.