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. 
Dance for Parkinson's Disease

New and Returning Participants Welcome to Fall 2019 Dance for Parkinson's Class Series!

Saturdays 10:30-11:45am: September 21 and 28; October 5, 12, 19 and 26; and November 2, 9 and 16

New participants: please click here to register.

Dance for Parkinson’s classes allows 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, and create an enjoyable, safe, social environment. This series is open to people with Parkinson's, their families, friends, and care-partners. Instruction provides modifications to make the movement safe and appropriate for all participants.

Classes are based on the Dance for PD® approach developed by the Mark Morris Dance Group, which has programs in 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.  Learn more at

JMU dance professor emerita Kate Trammell has 30 years of experience teaching dance to people of all ages and abilities. She received a Wertheimer Fellowship to pursue certification in Dance for PD®. JMU music majors will provide live music, while dance majors will serve as teaching assistants. Classes are free, but registration is required.

For further information, contact Kate Trammell at

Dance for Parkinsons

Photo by Richard Finkelstein

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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