Established in 2022, Theater J’s Expanding the Canon initiative has commissioned seven racially and ethnically diverse Jewish writers to create new full-length plays over the next two and a half years that thematically and visually center diverse Jewish narratives in order to correct and broaden the historically limited portrayals of Jewishness on stages in the United States and around the world.
After receiving submissions from 82 writers, Theater J artistic staff interviewed finalists and selected the seven playwrights who each receive a $10,000 commission and a $5,000 developmental budget that can be used for readings, workshops, research, and travel over the next two and a half years.
The program kicked off August 28-30 with a three-day intensive Beit Midrash (learning space) led by Rosh Beit Sabrina Sojourner, a Shaliakh Tzibur and nationally recognized Jewish leader. This intensive learning process allowed the playwrights to engage with texts and discuss Jewish thought and tradition inspiring them as they begin to craft their plays.
Throughout the commission, writers will meet monthly to continue to learn, share additional resources and workshop written material.
Excerpts of the finished scripts will be shared in a final gathering in December 2024. All commissioned scripts will be strongly considered for Theater J mainstage productions.