Every year, the National New Play Network awards at least two commissions to playwrights who work with Core Member theaters to develop new work. More than 30 commissions have been awarded to artists all over the country through three programs: the NNPN Annual Commission, the Smith Prize for Political Theater, and Full Stage USA.
The National New Play Network Annual Commission is chosen from projects nominated by Core Members and selected by NNPN’s Board of Directors. NNPN awards at least one $10,000 commission each year, and the theater that nominated the winning proposal is responsible for the administration and development of the commissioned play. Commissioned playwrights agree to grant the right of first refusal to produce their play to all NNPN Core Members in their respective markets, and pay royalties to the Network only after reaching a predetermined level of income from the play.
In 2006, Timothy Jay Smith and a group of socially conscious donors established the NNPN Smith Prize for Political Theater to encourage emerging playwrights to tackle the pressing issues of our times. The $5,000 Prize is awarded annually as a commission, chosen by the Network, from proposals from NNPN-affiliated early career writers for a play that examines the American body politic. NNPN also compensates a Member Theater up to $2,500 for a developmental workshop of the play and provides an additional $2,500 to the first NNPN Member to fully produce the resulting work.
In 2010, NNPN was selected to participate in Full Stage USA, a commissioning program administered by New Dramatists in New York City. The program forged new partnerships with five producing entities across the country, and each partnership commissioned a writer to create a new script. NNPN supported the work of Peter Sinn Nachtrieb, and his play, The Totalitarians, was produced as a NNPN Rolling World Premiere by Core Members Southern Rep Theatre and Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, and Associate Member Z Space.
Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, Possum Carcass
New Jersey Repertory Theatre, Soul on Vinyl
Southern Rep, Rising Water
Perishable Theatre, Untitled
Smith Prize, Topsy Turvy Mouse
InterAct Theatre Company, Neighborhood Watch
Playwrights Theatre of New Jersey, Revelation
Mixed Blood Theatre Company, New Math
Horizon Theatre Company, Sheddin'