James Houghton, artistic director of the O'Neill Playwrights Conference, will hold an open forum for playwrights in New York City at New Dramatists (424 West 44th Street, between Ninth and Tenth avenues) from 4pm to 6pm on September 24 to address questions and concerns about the conference's decision to change from an open submissions process to a nomination-driven one for 2004. The forum, which is intended only for playwrights, will be hosted by New Dramatists artistic director Todd London.

The change is being instituted due to a dramatic increase in submissions for the conference's residency program for writers. The new selection committee will be made up of theater professionals from across the United States; at least two members will read and evaluate each anonymously submitted script at each stage of the selection process until 15 scripts are chosen for the residency program. According to Houghton, "It is important for the playwriting community to hear directly from the source the thinking and reasoning that went into the decision to change the OPC selection process, and important for the community to respond directly."

Playwrights interested in attending the forum should RSVP by calling New Dramatists at 212-757-6960; those who will be unable to attend in person may submit their questions via e-mail to playwrightsconference@oneilltheatercenter.org or by writing to James Houghton at the O'Neill Playwrights Conference office at 630 Ninth Ave, Suite 1106, New York, NY 10036. For further information, visit www.TheONeill.org or call 860-443-5378.