NNPN's New Play Exchange Adds Its 10,000th Play

Oct 28, 2016

National New Play Network—the alliance of theaters dedicated to the development, production and continued life of new plays—is proud to announce that its database of new scripts, the New Play Exchange (www.newplayexchange.org), now includes 10,000 plays by living writers.

“The New Play Exchange’s database continues to grow faster than we projected,” said NNPN Executive Director Nan Barnett. “In less than two years the NPX has become an indispensable tool for theater-makers, and the impact of its creation and capabilities has exceeded expectations.”

The New Play Exchange (NPX) is a crowd-sourced, open-access database created by and for anyone seeking to share, discover, read, and produce new work for the theater. The NPX, which launched in January 2015, was developed after three years of research led by NNPN and funded by the Doris Duke Charitable Fund, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the membership of NNPN. The database has enabled thousands of users—more than 2,700 playwrights, 280 organizations, and 5,200 literary managers, dramaturgs, directors and artistic leaders—to access plays and musicals shared by writers from more than 40 countries.

“The fact that there’s now one neutral platform on which writers from every state and country can share their work worldwide—one definitive place to go to learn about new plays and musicals—is game-changing for the field,” said NPX Project Director Gwydion Suilebhan.

In the NPX, playwrights create profiles about themselves—including their representative’s contact information, a bio, photo, and artistic statement—and then upload scripts. Each script can include a full draft (and a score, for musicals), a sample, or a link to a published version. Scripts in the NPX also include synopses and complete development and production histories. In addition, to make them searchable, each script is also amended with metadata: subject matter keywords, cast size, cast ethnicities, and length, among others.

Readers—anyone with a need to access, understand, and assess new work, such as dramaturgs, literary managers, producers, actors, directors, students, and audience members—create profiles and use precise filters to search for exactly the plays or writers they are looking for. They can also recommend work to others by writing brief, online positive recommendations; build libraries of plays to be read; and record private notes about the scripts they are reading.

NPX memberships for playwrights and readers are available for only $10 per year. Organizational memberships—profiles for theaters or other new play affiliated groups—are $25 per year and include the ability to share opportunities with the entire database of writers.

NNPN was aided in the research and beta testing phases of the product's creation by the leadership and constituencies of Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas, the Playwrights Foundation, the Playwrights' Center, and Chicago Dramatists, in addition to its own Core and Associate Members and Alumni Playwrights. Further development of the product is ongoing, with new features and upgrades being released quarterly.

For more information about the New Play Exchange and a product demonstration, contact Project Director Gwydion Suilebhan at gwydion@nnpn.org. For more information about National New Play Network, contact Executive Director Nan Barnett at nan@nnpn.org or 202.312.5270.