La MaMa Umbria: International Playwright Retreat

August 17 - August 27, 2020

Now Accepting Applications! Click Here to Apply!


Aleshea Harris’s Is God Is (dir. Taibi Magar at Soho Rep) won the 2016 Relentless Award, an OBIE award for playwriting, the Helen Merrill Playwriting Award and was a finalist for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize. What to Send Up When It Goes Down had its critically-acclaimed NYC premiere (dir. Whitney White, produced by The Movement Theatre Company), toured D.C. and Boston in fall of 2019, was featured in American Theatre Magazine’s April ’19 issue was part of the 2020 Under the Radar festival and a finalist for the 2020 Blackburn Prize. Harris was awarded the Next Step Award from Samuel French and has commissions with Playwrights Horizons, Center Theatre Group and the Almeida Theatre. Upcoming: What to Send Up When it Goes Down…at Playwrights Horizons, summer of 2020. Is God Is, The Royal Court in London, summer 2020.

Photo credit: Andrew Wofford and Costa Ciminiello

About the Playwright Retreat

Playwrights, both professionals and students, are welcome to spend their summer with La MaMa Umbria International in beautiful Spoleto, Italy. The selected group of playwrights will participate in writing workshops led by an award-winning playwright while enjoying the peaceful surroundings of the Italian countryside. Past workshop leaders include Lynn Nottage, Lisa Kron, Naomi Izuka, Chuck Mee, Branden Jacob-Jenkins, Erik Ehn and Mac Wellman, among others. 

Frequently Asked Questions

FEE: The fee is $2,600. Fee includes workshop, housing and meals for 10 days, ground transportation from the Rome airport to and from La MaMa Umbria, and excursions by bus, van or car.
CREDIT: The Retreat is fully accredited program of Sarah Lawrence College (1 credit for the Retreat) For more information about Sarah Lawrence College, please visit
La MaMa UMBRIA: La MaMa Umbria International has been a retreat and incubator of artistic work for over thirty years. Created by La MaMa Founder Ellen Stewart, the Programs bring together artists from around the world to create, learn, share and develop theatre and interdisciplinary performance. Playwrights will live and work at La MaMa Umbria, but will have opportunities to explore the nearby town of Spoleto which is a cultural mecca and other parts of Umbria on guided tours. All meals and accommodation are provided, along with transportation to and from the Rome airport.
APPLICATION PROCESS: Playwrights who wish to participate in the retreat will fill out the Application Form and send in their $500 deposit. You will be notified about your acceptance into the program shortly. Participants will be selected based on their commitment to the process and the case they make on the application as to how this program will help them with their creative process. Subject matter of the plays developed will NOT be a criterion for acceptance, nor will theatrical style, number of characters, nationality, perceived ethnicity, race or gender.
The deadline for Applications is: May 15, 2020.
If you are not accepted into the Retreat, your deposit will be returned in FULL. If you are accepted and choose not to attend, you will receive a refund of all but a $100 registration fee, provided you notify us by June 15, 2020. After that date, we cannot provide a refund of your payment.

From Previous Participants in the La MaMa Umbria Playwright Retreat:

A gentle introduction to writing residencies and retreats, with a great daily balance of structured vs. unstructured writing time, in a beautiful part of the world, surrounded by interesting people who will inspire and transform your writing. I began writing with greater trust in my instincts and more curiosity about topics that scare me.
- MT Cozzola, Chicago Dramatists

La MaMa's Umbria was a transformative experience for me as a playwright. And one I will never forget. A timeless time away to work on your craft while surrounded by other artists and exposing your body and mind to a whole other kind of environment than one is likely used to.
- Matthew Paul Olmos, playwright

I loved my experience at La MaMa and think of it as a breakthrough in my creative career. It helped me to break out of a box of insecurity and doubt into exploring and appreciating the myriad of different ways I had available to approach a project. The retreat and all associates make you feel warm and loved and that the art you are creating is beautiful and important. That, to me, is a priceless gift that continues to be expressed even after returning home.
- Barbara Jwanouskos, playwright