NNPN Announces the 15th National Showcase of New Plays in Austin, Texas.
Washington, D.C. - National New Play Network, the country's alliance of nonprofit theaters that champions the development, production, and continued life of new plays, is pleased to present the 15th annual National Showcase of New Plays (NSNP). NNPN and The University of Texas at Austin's Department of Theatre & Dance will host more than 40 playwrights, directors, and actors from December 9-11 as a part of the National Showcase of New Plays, presenting readings of six production-ready new plays to NNPN Core and Associate Members and invited guests.
From over 65 submissions, two rounds of readings narrowed the pool to 13 finalists, from which a committee of NNPN Artistic Leaders, Ambassadors, and Affiliated Artists selected the six plays that will be presented in Austin this December. The selected works are Nomad Motel by Carla Ching (nominated by The O’Neill), Br’er Cotton by Tearrance Chisholm (Core Member Kitchen Dog Theater), The Mermaid Hour by David Valdes Greenwood (Core Member Actor’s Theatre of Charlotte), Motherland by Allison Gregory (Core Member Orlando Shakespeare Theater), The Madres by Stephanie Alison Walker (Associate Member Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company), and House on the Hill Amy E. Witting (nominated from the 2016 MFA Playwrights’ Workshop).
Established in 2002, the National Showcase of New Plays is an annual three-day event that showcases unproduced plays from across the country. The Showcase creates a unique and invaluable opportunity for production-ready new plays to be viewed by NNPN’s Core and Associate Members’ artistic directors and literary managers, as well as literary agents, publishers, and independent producers invited from around the country.
More than 90% of the plays featured in Showcase have received a production within the next three seasons, many of them supported as NNPN Rolling World Premieres.
ABOUT THE 2016 NATIONAL SHOWCASE OF NEW PLAYS
By Carla Ching
Alix lives in a tiny motel room with her mother and two brothers, scrabbling to make weekly rent. Mason lives comfortably in a grand, empty house while his father runs jobs for the Hong Kong Triad. Until the day his father disappears and Mason has to figure out how to come up with grocery money and dodge Child Services and the INS. Mason and Alex develop an unlikely friendship, struggling to survive, and trying to outrun the mistakes of their parents. Will they make it out or fall through the cracks? A play about Motel Kids and Parachute Kids raising themselves and living at the poverty line in a land of plenty.
By Tearrance Arvelle Chisholm
Lynchburg, Virginia. The former site of a thriving cotton mill is now an impoverished neighborhood. Deeply affected by all the recent killings of young black men like himself, Ruffrino, a 14 year old “militant,” incites riots at school and online. More and more at odds with his mother and grandfather, the boy’s anger grows beyond containment while the family home literally sinks into the cotton field, and no one seems to notice but him. He’s out to save the world, wake up the zombies, and prove by any means necessary that Black Lives Matter.
The Mermaid Hour
By David Valdes Greenwood
Working class parents try to navigate the gender transition of their daughter Vi as she rocks her first crush, discovers the power of YouTube, and decides they aren't moving fast enough.
By Allison Gregory
A self-made woman does her crafty best to protect her wayward children, keep her food truck business thriving, and impart some kind of moral code in an inner city battling collapse. But in the War on Poverty it turns out the enemy is hard to identify, and objectives are even murkier. In Motherland grit, guile, and guns are everyday parenting tools, and hope comes at a cost. A funny, raw, timely new play inspired by Mother Courage and Her Children.
By Stephanie Allison Walker
Buenos Aires, 1979. People are disappearing right off the street during the so-called "Dirty War." Carolina and her mother Josefina have been searching for their disappeared pregnant daughter/granddaughter, Belén when they receive a surprise visit from a neighborhood priest and then by a soldier. Desperate to find her, they come up with a plan to try to see Belén one last time. If they can. Taut and psychologically nuanced, this political drama shows the strength and resilience of three generations of women in the face of dangerous and unimaginable circumstances.
The House on the Hill
By Amy E. Witting
Cousins Alex and Frankie haven't spoken in ten years since a single devastating moment shattered their lives and families. After a decade of trauma, can a new birth help them heal at last?
ABOUT CARLA CHING
An LA native, Carla Ching stumbled upon pan-Asian performance collective Peeling at the Asian American Writers Workshop and wrote and performed with them for three years, which she still considers her first theater training. Her plays include Nomad Motel (O’Neill Playwrights Conference), Fast Company (South Coast Rep, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Lyric Stage and Pork Filled Productions; winner of the Edgerton New American Play Award and The Seattle Times’ Footlights Award for Top Play on a Smaller Stage), The Two Kids That Blow Shit Up (Artists at Play and Mu Performing Arts; Ovation recommended), TBA (2g), and The Sugar House at the Edge of the Wilderness (Ma-Yi Theater Company). She’s an alumna of The Women’s Project Lab, the Lark Play Development Center Writers Workshop, the CTG Writers’ Workshop, and the Ma-Yi Writers Lab. She is former Artistic Director of Asian American Theater Company, 2g. TBA is published in Out of Time and Place. Fast Company is published by Samuel French. She has a BA from Vassar College and an MFA from the New School for Drama. Carla is a proud member of New Dramatists and The Kilroys. On television, she has written on USA’s Graceland, AMC’s Fear the Walking Dead, and is currently writing on Amazon’s I Love Dick. carlaching.com @carlaching
ABOUT THE O’NEILL
The Eugene O'Neill Theater Center, founded in 1964 in honor of Eugene O'Neill, four-time Pulitzer Prize-winner and America's only playwright to win the Nobel Prize in Literature, the O'Neill is the country's preeminent organization dedicated to the development of new works and new voices for the American theater. The O'Neill has been home to more than 1,000 new works for the stage and thousands more emerging artists. Scores of projects developed at the O'Neill have gone on to full production at other theaters around the world, including Broadway, off-Broadway, and major regional theaters. O'Neill programs include the National Playwrights Conference, National Music Theater Conference, National Critics Institute, National Puppetry Conference, the Cabaret & Performance Conference, and National Theater Institute - which offers six credit-earning undergraduate training programs. In addition, the O'Neill owns and operates the Monte Cristo Cottage as a museum open to the public. The O'Neill is the recipient of two Tony Awards and the 2015 National Medal of Arts. theoneill.org @ONeill_Center
ABOUT TEARRANCE ARVELLE CHISHOLM
Tearrance Chisholm is a current member of the Lila Acheson Wallace American Playwrights Program at Juilliard and a recent MFA Playwriting graduate from the Catholic University of America. His play Hooded: Or Being Black for Dummies will receive its world premiere at Mosaic Theater in Washington, D.C. this year and will be followed by the world premiere of his play Br’er Cotton at Kitchen Dog Theater in Dallas, TX. His work has been developed with Signature Theatre, Theater J, Theatre Alliance, National New Play Network, The Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival, the Bay Area Playwrights Festival, and the Djerassi Resident Artists Program. He was named a “Person to Watch” by American Theatre Magazine and a “Rising Star” by Variety. He was named a semi-finalist for the inaugural Relentless Award and won the Rosa Parks Playwriting Award and the Lorraine Hansberry Playwriting Award at KCACTF 2016. theatrethirsty.com @theatrethirsty
ABOUT KITCHEN DOG THEATER
The mission of Kitchen Dog Theater (KDT) remains as relevant today as when the company was founded 26 years ago: to provide a place where questions of justice, morality, and human freedom can be explored – whether they are found in the classics, contemporary works or new plays. KDT consistently offers artists the opportunity to take on challenging roles, make bold choices in direction/design, and wrestle with big questions. The characters and stories at KDT have populated ancient cities and contemporary trailer parks. Woven among all the productions are the adherence to our mission and artistry of the highest caliber. kitchendogtheater.org @KitchenDog
ABOUT DAVID VALDES GREENWOOD
David Valdes Greenwood’s plays have been staged across the US and in the UK. His work has been seen with the Huntington Theatre Company, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Portland Stage, New York Theatre Workshop, Actors Theatre of Charlotte, the Humana Festival, and others. In 2016, his play The Mermaid Hour was included in the Actor’s Theatre of Charlotte nuVoices Festival, Raggedy And received its world premiere with Pride Films & Plays of Chicago and a second production in the Vermont Pride Festival, Vow Keepers was presented by IATI Theatre as part of a Cimientos Fellowship, and Full Code received a world premiere with Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company. The author of three nonfiction books and a forthcoming YA series, Valdes Greenwood is a past Huntington Playwriting Fellow, Brother Thomas Artist Fellow, and a Sloan Commission recipient. davidvaldesgreenwood.com @dvgtweets
ABOUT ACTOR’S THEATRE OF CHARLOTTE
Actor’s Theatre has received numerous awards and accolades over its 24-year history as the recipient of “Theatre of the Year” honors from Creative Loafing nine of the last eleven years, as well as three-time recipients of “Theatre Company of the Year” honors from the Metrolina Theatre Association. They have received two George A. Parides Professional Theatre Award (2001 and 2004) from the North Carolina Theatre Conference, and the 2013 "Best Performing Arts Company" from Charlotte Magazine's BOB Awards. These honors have cemented Actor’s Theatre’s place as the region’s most award-winning theatre company. atcharlotte.org @ActorsTheatre
ABOUT ALLISON GREGORY
Allison Gregory’s plays have been produced all over the country, and she has received commissions, grants, and development from Oregon Shakespeare Festival, South Coast Repertory, The Kennedy Center, Indiana Repertory Theatre, the Skirball-Kenis Foundation, ACT Theatre, Seattle Repertory Theatre, Seattle’s Arts and Cultural Affairs, LATC, The New Harmony Project, Northwest Playwright’s Alliance, Amphibian Stage Productions, and Austin Scriptworks. Her work has been the recipient of the Julie Harris Playwriting Award & South Coast Repertory’s Playwright’s Award (Forcing Hyacinths), Garland & Dramalogue Awards (Fall Off Night, Breathing Room, L.A.), and Seattle Times Best New Play Award (Burning Bridget Cleary), as well as finalists for the O’Neill Playwright’s Conference, Bay Area Playwright’s Festival, and American Blues Blue Ink Award. Her play Not Medea is currently receiving a National New Play Network (NNPN) Rolling World Premiere at B Street Theatre, Contemporary American Theater Festival, and Perseverance Theatre. Her play uncertain terms premiered at ArtsGarage, where it received a Carbonell nomination for best new play. Motherland will be featured in NNPN’s 2016 Showcase in December, and will receive a workshop production at Theatre Lab @FAU in January 2017. Allison is an alumni of LATC’S Wordsmiths and a former Hedgebrook Women Playwright’s resident. She splits her time between Seattle and Austin, where she is the co-founder of Austin ’Wrights, an awesome playwright collective. allisongregoryplays.com
ABOUT ORLAND SHAKESPEARE THEATER
Founded in 1989, Orlando Shakespeare Theater in Partnership with UCF produces classic, contemporary, and children’s plays. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Jim Helsinger and Managing Director PJ Albert, Orlando Shakes has grown into one of the region’s most acclaimed professional Equity theaters, garnering national recognition from The Wall Street Journal’s Terry Teachout, “Hence the high quality of Orlando Shakespeare, a company that deserves to be far more widely known outside Florida.” orlandoshakes.org @orlandoshakes
ABOUT STEPHANIE ALISON WALKER
Stephanie Alison Walker’s plays include The Madres, The Abuelas, The Art of Disappearing, American Home, The Sister House, Three Fittings, and The Box Jumper. Stephanie’s work has been produced and/or developed at San Diego Rep, 16th Street Theater, Chicago Dramatists, Boulder Ensemble Theater Company, Antaeus Theatre Company, The Road Theatre, Moving Arts, The Blank Theatre, American Blues Theater, Actors Theatre of Louisville, and more. Awards include: Ashland New Plays Festival, Blue Ink Award, the Generations Prize, Jane Chambers Award Runner-Up, finalist for the O’Neill Playwrights Conference and the CTG/Humanitas Playwriting Prize, and four-time Finalist for the Heideman Award. Stephanie’s short plays are anthologized by Smith & Kraus. She is a proud member of the Playwrights Union, Antaeus Playwrights Lab, Chicago Dramatists Network Playwrights, and The Dramatists Guild. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband Bob their sons Malcolm (6) and Graham (2.8) and Pablo the Pug. stephaniealisonwalker.com @Littof
ABOUT BOULDER ENSEMBLE THEATER
The Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company is committed to finding the best new American scripts and presenting regional and world premiere productions that inspire audiences and enrich the community. BETC is a 2015 recipient of the National Theatre Company award from the American Theatre Wing. BETC's Ensemble members are twenty-two of the region's most talented actors, directors, designers, and technicians. Their new play development program, "Generations," is an annual national competition and residency for playwrights who are parents of children 18 and younger and The Madres, by Stephanie Walker, was our 2015-16 Generations winning play. betc.org @BETCTheatre
ABOUT AMY E. WITTING
Amy E. Witting’s plays include The House on the Hill (Atlantic Theater Inaugural LAUNCH Commission; Abingdon Theatre New Play Reading Series); Semi-finalist, O’Neill National Playwrights Conference), There’s Never A Gavin: The True Story of a Disco Roller Skater (Atlantic Theater Amplified Reading Series; nominated, 2016 Weissberger Award), The Midnight Ride of Sean & Lucy (Roundabout Underground Reading Series; Finalist, SOURCE Festival), A BAD NIGHT (2015 Jerome Foundation Emerging Artist Fellowship), Day 392 (Kennedy Center ACTF/NNPN MFA Playwrights' Workshop; Honorable Mention, The Kilroy’s List; nominated, Susan Smith Blackburn prize), Road Veins (2014 Anne Freedman Grant), Victor (Cabrini Rep; winner, 2013 Thespis Festival). She was a 2016 finalist for the Women’s Project Lab, and a 2015-16 finalist for the Leah Ryan FEWW award. Her plays have been developed at Tofte Lake Center, The Lark Play Development Center, and SPACE on Ryder Farm, among others. As a producer, she most recently curated FÊTE in association with Abingdon Theatre. She currently works as a Teaching Artist with Roundabout Theatre Company in New York, received her MFA at Hunter College. She is a member of Mission To (Dit)mars Propulsion Lab and The Dramatists Guild. amywitting.com @wittywitting
ABOUT THE MFA PLAYWRIGHTS’ WORKSHOP
A partnership between the Kennedy Center Education Department (the American College Theatre Festival) and Stanford University’s National Center for New Plays, the annual MFA Playwrights’ Workshop (MFAPW) provides six to eight graduate students with an eight-day workshop for their plays and a unique professional development opportunity that links them to Network theaters.
Universities are asked to nominate current MFA candidates for the program, and those who are selected are paired with professional directors and dramaturgs from NNPN member theaters—recognized leaders with years of experience in the development of new work—and Washington, DC-based professional actors. The process gives young writers an education in professional play development, unparalleled mentorship in the creation of their work, and a valuable entrée to some of the country’s most vital new play theaters. You can find more information on the MFA Playwrights Workshop here.
ABOUT THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT AUSTIN DEPARTMENT OF THEATRE & DANCE
Founded in 1938, the University of Texas at Austin Department of Theatre and Dance was the first university theatre program in the state of Texas. From its humble beginnings of four faculty teaching nine courses, it has grown tremendously in both size and quality. Now, with over 50 faculty and staff, and more than 150 courses each semester, the Department of Theatre and Dance is one of the largest theatre and dance departments in the United States. Our alumni are regularly featured on stage, television, and film, and have been recognized with Academy Awards, Tony Awards, Emmy Awards and the Pulitzer Prize in Drama.
The department is dedicated to balancing high–quality production and performance work with rigorous academic study. We average six to eight productions annually, with an additional 20 to 30 laboratory shows and readings. The development of new work, scholarly articles, innovative design and a varied dance and theatre repertory is a high priority. The department is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Dance (NASD) and is a member of the University/Resident Theatre Association (U/RTA).