Shakespeare’s Sister Overview


* In order to honor and provide space for the vital work of the new AROHO board, and with the exception of the AROHO Waves anthology, all programs and awards are suspended until further notice. We are grateful for your inspiration, and ask for your understanding, patience, and optimism as we embrace this evolutionary phase. Thank you for listening. Please keep writing, creating and connecting.

…[I]f we live another century or so…and have five hundred a year each of us and rooms of our own; if we have the habit of freedom and the courage to write exactly what we think…Shakespeare’s sister will be born…I maintain that she would come if we worked for her, and that so to work, even in poverty and obscurity, is worthwhile.
—Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own
The play that the prize will make possible need not have even been thought of yet. It’s the kind of prize which, I think, will spur an entirely new kind of play than a playwright would ever have been able to write without it.
—Fellowship Creator & Mentor, Ellen McLaughlin

The Shakespeare’s Sister Fellowship provides a unique opportunity for a female playwright to be supported by three extraordinary institutions over the course of a year while she writes and develops a new play.

In addition to a cash prize of $10,000, the playwright will receive residencies at three geographically distinct institutions—AROHO, Hedgebrook, and the Lark Play Development Center—each one providing a different kind of support at successive stages in the playwright’s process. The fellowship seeks to make possible for the playwright a breakthrough into the kind of new work she would not have had the freedom or the resources to create otherwise.

  • In order to be eligible, the applicant must be a woman playwright (18 years or older) who has written at least one full-length play.  (A first round-applicant will submit 30 pages of a play that she will then submit in its entirety if she makes it into the second round.)
  • Applicants must be able to commit wholeheartedly to each stage of the fellowship, entailing four weeks of dedicated time over the course of the year, and must be willing to write an entirely new play. (This fellowship isn’t designed to refine existing work. The playwright must be open to what the process brings.)

View the Shakespeare’s Sister Showcase to see winners, finalists, and other announcements about the fellowship.

Questions?  Find the answers on our FAQ page.

 Fellowship Timeline:

December 2014:  New York, NY

Two-day meeting with representatives from the Lark, AROHO, and Hedgebrook

In December, before the fellowship year begins, the playwright will go to New York for a meeting with representatives from the three partner organizations, during which she will be encouraged to dream and strategize about how she wants to use her time and the resources she will have to draw upon.


Lark Theatre

Hedgebrook new logo

Winter–Early Spring 2015

Hedgebrook, Whidbey Island, WA

Hedgebrook new logo

Two weeks: One-week residency/one-week master class

The playwright will start her fellowship year with a residency at Hedgebrook on Whidbey Island in Washington State in the winter or early spring, the beneficiary of what Hedgebrook calls its “radical hospitality.” She will live and work in one of the six handcrafted cottages on the rural property. She will be fed by master chefs and share a meal every night with the other writers in residence there. That retreat week will be followed by a master class week in which she will continue her residency and have a chance to participate in a writing class taught by a celebrated writing teacher, who will also consult with her one-on-one about her ongoing work.

Summer 2015

VW_design_fillA Room of Her Own (AROHO), Ghost Ranch, NM

One-week Waves Discussion Series and Retreat

In the summer, the playwright will be invited as a special guest to participate in the A Room of Her Own (AROHO) Waves Discussion Series and Retreat at Ghost Ranch in New Mexico. In concert with AROHO’s unique style of programming, this careful assembly of women writers ensures attendees access to:  mentorship and collaboration across all levels of accomplishment and in between genres; acceleration of craft mastery; real opportunity to establish fruitful relationships with industry and literary experts; and meaningful, personal engagement between accomplished and fledgling artists facing the struggles of artistic innovation and marketplace reception first articulated by Virginia Woolf and still relevant today. This week will be an opportunity for the playwright to engage with the larger community of women writers, helping her to establish a network of like-minded peers and essential mentors.

Fall 2015

LarkLark Play Development Center, New York, NY

One-week roundtable workshop

Finally, in the fall of 2015, the playwright will have a project residency week in New York at the Lark Play Development Center, an organization dedicated to the support and development of the playwright. In that week the playwright, working with professional actors and directors, can look at what she’s generated over the year and gain perspective on her process and insight into how what she’s written might evolve.