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Conference Overview

  The nationally recognized Conference produced by Metropolitan Community College offers significant opportunities for new and emerging playwrights to learn and grow, no matter the level of experience in theatre. An overarching goal of the Conference is to build upon and to enhance the national and local community of playwrights. Through the GPTC, playwrights connect with one another and, in a supportive and encouraging environment, critique one another’s work, begin to develop work together, form future creative alliances and share vital contacts and resources.

The GPTC serves as an avenue to:

  • Introduce new theatrical work into the American theatre scene
  • Premier the works of new and emerging playwrights
  • Showcase Omaha’s theatre and cultural sites
  • Provide avenues for works produced beyond the Conference
  • Connect local and national actors, directors, playwrights, designers and technical theatre personnel

The GPTC attracts a national group of master artists who teach, panel, and perform their work for attendees and the public. Past artists include Edward Albee, Constance Congdon, Erik Ehn, Will Eno, Arthur Kopit, Mark Lamos, David Lindsay-Abaire, Romulus Linney, Emily Mann, Marshall Mason, Theresa Rebeck, Mac Wellman and Doug Wright.

The Conference utilizes the talents of over two hundred local and national theatre artists each year, including actors, directors, designers, and technical personnel. Since it began in 2006, dozens of theatre companies across the country have included works in their main-stage seasons that they discovered at the Great Plains Theatre Conference.



The foundation of the Conference are the daily Playlabs. In 2011, over thirty playwrights will journey to Omaha from across the country to immerse themselves for seven days, taking master classes, working on their scripts, interacting with the local theatre community, and attending Conference performances across the city. They will hear their play performed and receive feedback from master playwrights, theatre scholars, directors, and the public in a guided response setting.



Five plays receive special recognition through selection for the MainStage Series. Throughout the Conference, staged readings of the MainStage scripts are presented, after which a panel of top theatre professionals serve as respondents to the work.

The daily Playlabs and MainStage Series readings are free and open to the public.



PlayFest performances are held throughout the week of the Conference in venues and cultural sites across Omaha. The performances and readings highlighting the work of the Honored Playwright and other distinguished playwrights are followed by question and answer sessions with the playwright and directors.



The Theatre Workshops are a series of hands-on playwriting and performance-related classes designed and led by talented theatre professionals. Scheduled throughout the Conference, they provide educational opportunities for playwrights, actors, directors and the community. A wide variety of techniques and approaches are offered. Non-conference registrants may attend workshops for an individual session fee.



Daily lunchtime Seminars are provided for Conference attendees, actors, directors, technicians and general public. The seminars are diverse and cover topics of expertise that the Conference’s featured artists and theatre scholars hold.

I really feel that attending the 2010 Great Plains Theatre Conference is the best thing I've done for my career thus far. The amount of contacts and real, lasting friendships I made with other playwrights around the country couldn't have happened anywhere else. The warmth and intimacy of the conference lends itself to really getting to know the other attendees. And the staff of the conference assembled a diverse and amazingly talented group not only through the plays they selected, but the panelists who were drawn from every type of theater background. I personally found it so validating to hear ensemble based and generated theater being spoken about on the same level as the more mainstream theatrical model. Thank you for a mind-blowing week. It'll take me months to process everything that I learned!

Andrea Hart – Playlab Playwright