Madison New Works Lab

We seek... We encourage...We welcome... We invite...

We seek material ready to be workshopped with a community of artists at James Madison University (JMU).
We encourage scripts that respond to contemporary questions in our world.
We welcome diverse perspectives and theatrical approaches.
We invite artists eager to engage in a developmental process.

The mission of the Madison New Works Laboratory at JMU is to create a nationally recognized incubator for the development of new plays and musicals.

  • To develop new works by and for various ages, cultures, and populations
  • To produce a summer season of workshops, readings, and performances that assist new theatrical works in taking the next step in their development
  • To foster theatrical innovation in the development of musicals and plays
  • To identify new work for eventual production in our Mainstage Season
  • To support early-career playwrights
  • To create a theatre artist-friendly environment that encourages risk-taking and the chance for failure
  • To provide opportunities for JMU student-artists to develop their skills and gain valuable professional experiences working with professionals on new works, thereby supporting the next generation of theatrical innovators
  • To encourage the integration and development of community partners, thereby building an audience-base of colleagues, not just spectators. 

Click here for the Madison New Works Lab Call for Proposals 2019-20

Dance for Parkinson's Disease

Dance for Parkinsons

Photo by Richard Finkelstein

After a successful series of free classes in the spring and summer of 2019, the James Madison University School of Theatre and Dance in partnership with JMU’s College of Visual and Performing Arts (CVPA) and School of Music will offer a fall series of free Dance for Parkinson’s classes on Saturdays from September 21-November 16, 2019. Classes will take place on September 21 and 28; October 5, 12, 19 and 26; and November 2, 9 and 16 from 10:30-11:45 am in the Forbes Center for the Performing Arts. Classes are based on the Dance for PD® approach developed by the Brooklyn-based Mark Morris Dance Group. Dance for PD® programs serve 250 communities in 25 countries. A number of leading neurologists and movement disorder specialists around the world include Dance for PD® classes among a shortlist of recommended activities for their patients.

JMU dance professor emerita Kate Trammell, who earned a Wertheimer Fellowship to pursue certification in Dance for PD®, says the classes will allow participants to experience the joys and benefits of movement and music while creatively addressing symptom-specific concerns related to balance, cognition, motor skill, depression and physical confidence. The classes engage the participants’ minds and bodies in an enjoyable, safe social environment and are open to people with Parkinson’s, their families, friends and care partners.

JMU dance majors Leah Abrams, Ashton Clevenger and Chloe Conway serve as teaching assistants for the classes, while piano music education majors Thomas Hassett and  Abby Wiegand support with live music thanks to a collaboration with Dr. David Stringham and Dr. Jesse Rathgeber of the Center for Inclusive Music Engagement.

The students were awarded CVPA Undergraduate Research Grants to take a Dance for PD® course in Toronto, Canada. They also attended training workshops at the Mark Morris Dance Center in Brooklyn, funded by the CVPA Dean’s Office.

Also assisting in the fall classes are JMU Master of Occupational Therapy students Olivia Garcia and Caroline Puglia. Other dance majors in the JMU student organization Dance Theatre volunteer in the classes thanks to a coordination of training efforts by Conway.

New participants: please click here to register. Registration is required.

For further information about the classes, contact Kate Trammell at

Related Articles:


JMU News Article

Daily News Record Article

JMU Breeze Article

JMU Secondary Theatre Institute

The Secondary Theatre Institute focuses on theatre as a collaborative art through a series of hands-on workshops that explore acting, directing, devising, and dramaturgy. During the week, we consider how to use drama and theatre pedagogies to build community, deepen skill development in the art form, and engage students through story. Tools and strategies taught in this session serve both secondary classroom educators and extra-curricular theatre directors. Continuing Education Credit is available.

Click here to register for Summer 2019.

JMU Arts Integration Summer Institue

The Summer Institute is a research-based comprehensive pedagogical exploration and immersion training experience in the use of Drama-Based Pedagogy across the curriculum. The JMU Summer Institute is focused on arts integration for elementary teachers. This four-day intensive program provides an opportunity for educators and working professional from across the country to gather and explore the power of learning in and through the arts. Continuing Education Credit is available.

Click here to register for Summer 2019.

Theatre in Our Schools Month Event

A one-day conference for high school students (ideally freshmen, sophomores and juniors) to deepen their skills in the art form, collaborate with students from other schools, and explore and experience theatre at James Madison University. The event includes: Keynote by Guest Artist, Hands-On Workshops Taught by JMU Faculty, High School Play Competition & Readings, and Tour of the Forbes Performing Arts Center.

Click here to register for Spring 2020.

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