Application deadline: May 13th, 2016 (call for extension if needed)
Application forms may be requested by emailing staff@nautilusmusictheater.org


The Nautilus Composer-Librettist Studio is designed to provide an opportunity for five writers and five composers to work with five professional performers, exploring the possibilities and basic elements of music-theater. The studio focuses on the process of collaboration through a series of brief exploratory assignments for the writers and composers. The exercises are then sight-read by the performers in brief working sessions. The participants rotate partners, and the process is repeated four more times. Within the two-week period, all composers work with all writers and all performers. Toward the end of the studio, an informal reading of all the compositions is held. The studio is co-directed by Ben Krywosz (Artistic Director of Nautilus Music-Theater) and music director Jill Dawe. All working sessions will be held at the Nautilus Studio in Lowertown Saint Paul.

It is not intended as a developmental session for existing pieces, but concentrates more on the collaborative process, nurturing relationships and suggesting ways that writers, composers, and performers can work together. The collaborative atmosphere of the studio is relatively free from the performance pressures usually associated with the commercial musical theater or opera field. First created in 1984, Krywosz has conducted over 57 studios around the country in such cities as New York (through New Dramatists), San Francisco, Washington, Chicago, Portland, Los Angeles, and Miami. All the studios have nurtured collaborative teams that have gone on to develop and produce new work.

15 NAUTILUS Rough Cuts

Time Commitment:

The studio is an intensive two-week program with sessions scheduled primarily during afternoons, along with a few mornings and evenings. It will begin Saturday, June 4th and continue daily through Sunday, June 19th, 2016. Selected pieces will be presented in Nautilus’ Rough Cuts series June 21st and 22nd. It has been strongly recommended by past participants that we require writers and composers not to work on any other projects during the studio, since most outside time is spent writing and composing.


Because we see this studio as a long-term investment program in the professional development of creative and performing artists, each composer, writer, and performer will receive a $600 honorarium for participating in this program. Participants (60% of whom will be emerging artists) are chosen by a panel including program directors and selected past participants. This activity is made possible, in part, by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.



Composers and writers are selected through a highly competitive application process, and
must be current residents of Minnesota. Application forms may be requested by emailing us at staff@nautilusmusictheater.org. Questions may also be sent to this email address; no phone calls please. Applications materials (forms, resumes, scripts, scores, and recordings) must be submitted by May 13th by hand or mail; electronic submissions will not be accepted.

Nautilus Music-Theater:

Since 1986, Nautilus Music-Theater has been dedicated to the creation, development and production of new American opera and other forms of innovative music-theater. Our goals include the formation of partnerships between creators, performers and audiences, and the creation of professional training programs for artists. We use music-theater as a tool to create enriching experiences for artists and audiences, and to support the individual and collective growth of the human spirit.

Application deadline: May 13th, 2016 (call for extension if needed)
Application forms may be requested by emailing staff@nautilusmusictheater.org