NNPN’s flagship initiative, its Rolling World Premiere Program, supports three or more theaters that choose to mount the same new play within a 12-month period. The result is an NNPN Rolling World Premiere, in which a playwright develops a new work with multiple creative teams in at least three different communities. The playwright is part of the process, working on the script and making adjustments based on what is learned from each production.
NNPN gives $7,500 to each participating theater, or a total of $22,500 to projects that include more than three partners. Approved projects are also eligible to apply for Collaboration Funds, which allow the partnerships additional time and resources to work together on an element or specific need of the play that might not otherwise be afforded by the budgetary or time restraints of the participating theaters.
NNPN has championed the Rolling World Premieres of over 70 new plays with more than one million dollars in support. With a minimum of three productions in a single year, these plays attain the momentum needed to join the repertoire of frequently-produced new American works. Plays that have completed their Rolling World Premieres have received more than 600 subsequent productions and hundreds of citations in their local markets, been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize, and have won the Steinberg/ATCA, Stavis, Pen Center, and Blackburn Awards.
RWP projects are most often chosen through a self-selecting process. Harnessing the power of the Network and its enormous reach into the new play world, potential scripts are submitted by and circulated to NNPN member theaters. Projects are put together through active matchmaking on the staff level and through NNPN programs that serve as pipelines for productions, such as the NNPN Annual and Smith Prize commissions, MFA Playwrights’ Workshop, National Showcase of New Plays, and Playwright Residencies.
All NNPN Rolling World Premieres are coordinated through NNPN’s staff and must complete an application process for approval.