Aaron Loeb's  Ideation  (developed in the '11/'12 Lab, premiered at SF Playhouse)

Aaron Loeb's Ideation (developed in the '11/'12 Lab, premiered at SF Playhouse)

Just Theater’s New Play Lab commissions four Bay Area playwrights to work with four directors to develop full-length plays from initial conception to a staged reading of the first draft. The goal of the Lab is to create a distinctly collaborative artistic community to support playwrights in the critical early stage of the development of a new play.

Jonathan Spector's   In From The Cold   (developed in the '11/'12 Lab, premiered at Just Theater)

Jonathan Spector's In From The Cold (developed in the '11/'12 Lab, premiered at Just Theater)

Each of the writers enters the lab with an idea for a play they want to write but have not yet begun. The entire lab meets roughly twice a month for six months. When a writer presents their work, it is read aloud from the beginning, with lab members serving as actors. The group then engages in a rigorous, playwright-driven discussion of the work. Because the lab members encounter the play multiple times over the course of the year, the discussions of the play and it’s development grow deeper as the lab progresses. As the play develops,  the director/playwright teams also meet outside of the lab as they see fit. Over the course of six months, the writers complete the first draft of a new full-length play.
Each of the plays is then presented to the public in a staged reading. 

Since 2006 the Lab has grown to become one of the Bay Area's leading springboards for new work. Some of the thirty-five plays commissioned and developed in the Lab include Aaron Loeb's Ideation, which premiered at SF Playhouse and won the 2013 Glickman Award, Christopher Chen's Home Invasion which premiered with 6NewPlays in 2016, Andrew Saito's Mt. Misery which premiered at Cutting Ball Theater in 2013, Michelle Carter's Rose in America which premiered at Alter Theater in 2015, Lauren Gunderson's Toil and Trouble which premiered at Impact Theater in 2012, Erin Bregman's Before and After which was selected for the 2013 Bay Area Playwrights Festival, Jonathan Spector's In From The Cold which was a winner of Aurora Theater's Global Age Prize and premiered with Just Theater in 2014. 

Questions? Send an email to JTplaylab@gmail.com

Lauren Gunderson's  Toil and Trouble  (developed in '10/'11 Lab, premiered at Impact Theater)

Lauren Gunderson's Toil and Trouble (developed in '10/'11 Lab, premiered at Impact Theater)

Full Lab History:


  • Home Invasion
  • by Christopher Chen
  • directed by M. Graham Smith
  • Rose in America
  • by Michelle Carter
  • directed by Ariel Craft
  • Token
  • by Lisa Marie Rollins
  • directed by Michael Moran
  • The Houston Chronicles
  • by Aaron Loeb
  • directed by Nancy Carlin
  • Seas Between Us Braid
  • by Jonathan Spector
  • directed by Lauren English


  • Badge
  • by Gamal Chasten
  • directed by Adam Sussman
  • Punk as Fuck
  • by Barbara Jwanouskos
  • directed by Logan Ellis
  • Blasted Plains
  • by Beth Hersh
  • directed by Ben Randle
  • Ipap and Cucuracha
  • by Matthew Keuter
  • directed by Sydney Painter
  • Good, Better, Best, Bested
  • by Jonathan Spector
  • directed by Molly Aaronson-Gelb


  • Better
  • by Michelle Carter
  • directed by Michael French
  • The Worst
  • by Kate E. Ryan
  • directed by Tracy Ward
  • Mt. Misery
  • by Andrew Saito
  • directed by Addie Gorlin and Rob Melrose
  • FTW
  • by Jonathan Spector
  • directed by Jessica Heidt


  • Humans
  • by Abi Basch
  • directed by Edris Cooper-Anifowoshe
  • Forgetting
  • by JC Lee
  • directed by Jessica Burgess
  • The World To Come
  • by Jonathan Spector
  • directed by Nancy Carlin


  • Gizmo
  • by Anthony Clarvoe
  • directed by Rebecca Novick
  • Ideation
  • by Aaron Loeb
  • directed by Joy Carlin
  • In From The Cold
  • by Jonathan Spector
  • directed by Christine Young
  • Before and After
  • by Erin Bregman
  • directed by Joy Brooke Fairfield
  • Dust to Dust
  • by Daniel Heath
  • directed by Paul Cello


  • Toil and/or Trouble
  • by Lauen Gunderson
  • directed by Josh Costello
  • Sandal Weather
  • by Jonathan Spector
  • directed by Mina Morita
  • Nostalgia and Massacare in the Empire of Rath
  • by Christopher Chen
  • directed by Susannah Martin
  • Girl in a Box
  • by Geetha Reddy
  • directed by Jonathan Spector
  • Heartland
  • by Dan Rubin
  • directed by Molly Aaronson-Gelb

(Rather than four or five text based plays, in 2009 we created two devised pieces, which were presented during the Fools' Fury's Fury Factor Festival)

  • and i need that. this is all i need 
    conceived and created by Liz Lisle, Jonathan Spector and Chris White
    with Madeliene H.D. Brown, Christen Karle and Mick Mize
    Produced in partnership with Mugwumpin
  • Take Me to The Bridge
    text by Erin Bregman
    music by Dina Maccabee
    directed by Molly Aaronson-Gelb


  • The Whole Tree (Electric)
  • by Julia Jarcho
  • directed by Jonathan Spector
  • The Theory of Everything
  • by Jesse McKinley
  • directed by Katy Hilton
  • Street Symphony #1
  • by Erin Bregman
  • directed by Maryanne Olson


  • The Official Explanation
  • by Tim Bauer
  • Directed by Joy Meads
  • Matterless Fact
  • by Liz Lisle
  • Directed by Jonathan Spector
  • The Dream of a Courtyard
  • by Greg Beuthin
  • Directed by Christopher White
  • Abraham Lincoln's Big Gay Dance Party
  • by Aaron Loeb
  • Directed Molly Aaronson-Gelb


  • directed by Logan Ellis