The Foundry is a place to experiment. A place to take risks. A place to stretch your imagination. It’s the Live Arts Foundry, dedicated to creating opportunities for wild, fun, theatrical experiments and developing new works.

Details of each program below:



In an effort to encourage new work, foster collaboration between like-minded artists, and ignite the imagination of our audience, the Foundry’s New Works on Fire program empowers artists by providing them 2-3 weeks of rehearsal space to workshop a developmental piece, culminating in a live public reading. It’s yet another way we forge theater here in the Foundry. Actors, directors, and of course playwrights, click HERE for more information as a PDF.


In an effort to encourage new work, foster collaboration between like-minded artists, and ignite the imagination of our audience, Live Arts empowers an Initiating Artist with two to three weeks of rehearsal space to workshop a developmental piece, culminating in a public presentation.

goals of the program

  • To bring a play/musical/performance piece substantially further toward its final form
  • To give a fair number of volunteer artists a fun and artistically satisfying experience
  • To provide an outlet for talented artists who may not be able to commit to full productions
  • To bring our audiences into the process of creating new work

what this experience is about

  • Your piece could be a MESS, and that is where you ended up. The workshop is about process, not “finished product.” The presentation is not intended as the be-all and end-all.
  • Explain to the audience and they will be WITH YOU. Art is messy.
  • These workshops are NOT about getting a full production at Live Arts.
  • Boot-strapping! Foundry Projects are designed to be artist-driven (not staff-driven).

application process

Email one of the below, to Foundry Facilitator, Scott Dunn:

  • One full-length script–prefer greater than 2 performers, if possible, to involve more artists. Shorter scripts cannot be accepted. If a play, 2nd or 3rd drafts preferred, as these are most likely to benefit from a workshop, rather than “an idea” piece.
  • Or a description of work in process (if a performance piece)
  • Musical script with CD if music (if one exists)

Include a simple cover letter with “NWOF Submission” in the Subject Line, and the following:

  • Your full name, date, and contact information
  • One paragraph description of what you’d like to accomplish
  • One paragraph on why a workshop would be helpful at this stage of development
  • A brief description of your past involvement with Live Arts, if any
  • Any collaborators with whom you’d like to work and whether you’ve already asked them to collaborate
  • Any major scheduling conflicts in the season (weddings, vacations, etc.)

essential elements of the process

Everything revolves around serving the Initiating Artist’s work. How can we bring it closer to fruition? Exploration and positive collaboration are our watch-words…

PRODUCING. Initiating Artist (i.e., playwright) functions as your own producer
and recruits other collaborators as needed

Ask yourself: Am I up for this challenge? Do I have enough time to make it work?

You’ll be guided by PAD, Bree Luck & our volunteer team; and other qualified Company Members

Yes, you can choose your own director, in collaboration with Bree. We’ll help you find one as well. There are no Stage Managers on NWOF projects. The director usually handles those tasks

DURATION. Slots vary in length–two to three weeks of work-time. We’ve sometimes scheduled a one-week “rewrite break” in the middle so the playwright/artist has time to work

Initiating Artist commits to being in-town and working on the project throughout the process,
even during “re-write” weeks. “All-in” attitude required.

CASTING. Initiating Artist & Director responsible for all casting

Auditions are not encouraged. Rather, recommendations and recruiting work best

Auditions are rarely approved by the Producing Artistic Director, as they take a great deal of effort

We can post a casting breakdown on the web, however, and get the word out on Facebook

Our Actor headshot books are a gold-mine. Staff can make recommendations, too

Once cast, please create a contact list.

REHEARSALS. Could be in any of our spaces, depending on availability

All rehearsal space requests go to

Rehearsal space may only be available on certain days

It’s important to let the audience know that this is a developmental process, as well. Therefore, production elements are kept to the absolute minimum, maintaining a “reading” feel

SCRIPTS. Scripts in-hand for presentation (non-negotiable). Talk to Bree if questions!

No memorization is required of actors

Shows audience that we’re “in process,” a vital element

You can use the Live Arts copiers to make your scripts and new page edit copies

VENUE. Presentations in Rehearsal A, our current venue for new work.

 TECH. Presentation tech options & requests to be discussed with the TD/PM, at least one week prior to the performance

Lights Whatever is in the air; Lights up/lights down… Nothing fancy.

Sound As is. Can use CDs & I-Pod plugin. (If use sound, you recruit operator)

Costumes If you must, then the artists are responsible. Live Arts cannot provide costumes

Props Discouraged, as getting toward production. Read stage directions… Creatively?

Chairs 60 available. Collaborators set up day of performance

Music stands 2-6 in the building at any given time + a podium is available.

Sight-lines Can be brutal in Rehearsal A.  Best configuration is wide-spread chairs, facing the kitchen. Sorry, no risers. Block people standing or on high stools!


“Pay What You Will.” Start time is 7 pm

Volunteers handle donations & concessions from a portable cart. Live Arts assigns volunteers

Short intro by Moderator and the Director laying out the process and inviting all to stay talk-back

POST-PRESENTATION DISCUSSION if Initiating Artist would find it helpful

Usually 20-30 minutes. Moderated by the Producing Artistic Director or experienced playwright

Often, the Initiating Artist gives Moderator a list of questions he/she would like us to explore


There’s always a lot going on at Live Arts, but we do our best to get the word out. You can do a lot yourselves through Facebook invitations. Meanwhile, here’s what we usually can do:

E-BLAST. Inclusion in our volunteer newsletter before your presentation

POSTER. We create a flyer in our NWOF template format

PROGRAM. If we have a show running or opening soon, we include a mention in “upcoming events”

FACEBOOK. We create a Facebook event page

PLAYBILL. We use the Flyer for the Playbill.  No bios required

Need: Initiating Artist & Director (as soon as nailed down)

Need: Short “blurb” about the piece (asap)

Need: Contact sheet + any updates


Emerging Director Projects give new directors the opportunity to try their hand at staging a full-length play and offer experienced directors the chance to tackle the type of theater that they might not typically direct. We’re talking about fast and furious, risk-taking theater! Directors have four weeks of rehearsal time to stage these bare-bones workshop productions. The Emerging Directors Project is about stretching creative boundaries at Live Arts!

Contact Bree if you have an idea for an Emerging Director Project.


Enter Playwrights’ Lab.

Our free forum for writers of every experience level to share, read, hear, and discuss their work with our community. Dedicated to developing the work of local writers in a fun, creative, supportive setting. Whether you’ve been writing for years or are just getting started, there’s a place for you in the lab!

New from Live Arts Radio:  

Live Arts Radio is very pleased to announce that we have partnered with The Charlottesville Podcasting Network to bring you original radio drama from Charlottesville’s top playwrights.

Follow Live Arts Radio on Facebook.

Click HERE for the Playwrights’ Lab Handbook

Playwrights’ Labs are held throughout the year on the 1st and 3rd Mondays of each month from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. For more information, contact



Get an inside view of your favorite shows at Live Arts!

Following the first Sunday matinee performance of every main stage production, Live Arts hosts a Talkback. We invite everyone from the audience (and, space permitting, anyone interested) to stay and take part in a conversation with the actors, director, designers and crew from the show. Come with a question, or just sit back and listen as Education Director Miller Murray Susen moderates what is always a fascinating discussion about the process of creating theater from script to stage.

Talkbacks start a few minutes after the end of the performance, so times vary. If you want to attend a Talkback without attending that particular performance, check with the Box Office for an estimate of when the Talkback is likely to begin.

Questions? Let Miller know at


Readers’ Circle is a monthly play-reading group, curated and led by Carol Pedersen, that meets at Live Arts to enjoy and discuss great plays, from the famous to the obscure. Join us on Readers’ Circle Sundays from 3 to 6 pm in Rehearsal B on the 4th Floor of Live Arts. Readings are free of charge! The schedule for the 2018-19 Readers’ Circle and a note from co-leader Boomie Pedersen are below.

The 2018 – 2019 Readers’ Circle gets underway on Sunday, Sept. 16 at 3 pm in Rehearsal B. This year’s roster of plays was inspired by The New York Times 25 Best Plays list. Interestingly, Live Arts has produced many of them. The Readers’ Circle choices are plays that are among the 75 total proposed for that list that weren’t among the final chosen. Please join us to read, listen and discuss and spend an afternoon in good company! Wine provided by Live Arts. Please feel free to bring a snack to share. Questions? Call Boomie Pedersen – 434-960-5936.

Readers’ Circle 2018-2019
All meetings occur in Rehearsal B (123 E. Water St., 4th Floor) from 3 pm to 6 pm

  • September 16 – Come Blow Your Horn by Neil Simon
  • October 28 – Laramie Project by Moisés Kaufman et al
  • November 11 – Laramie Project: Ten Years After by Moisés Kaufman et al (special location: 3rd Floor Lobby)
  • November 25 – You Got Older by Clare Barron
  • December 16 – Black Tie by A.R. Gurney
  • January 20  – Indecent by Paula Vogel
  • February 17 – This by Melissa James Gibson
  • March 24 – Third by Wendy Wasserstein
  • April 28 – Why Torture is Wrong, and the People Who Love Them by Christopher Durang
  • May 19 – The Model Apartment by Donald Margulies
  • June 16 – Appropriate by Brandon Jacobs-Jenkins

Contact Miller Murray Susen at for more information.