Submissions Are Now Open for ANPF 2019
Dear playwrights! We look forward to accepting your new plays for our 2019 Fall Festival. Submission instructions are found on our Submit a Script page.
Our flagship festival is an international playwright competition that culminates in dramatic readings of four new plays chosen from hundreds of submissions in blind readings by a dedicated team of local volunteers with final selection by our artistic director. This unique and much-loved five-day festival in Ashland, Oregon, features outstanding actors and directors, many from Oregon Shakespeare Festival and Southern Oregon University’s Theatre Department. Talkbacks with audiences follow each performance.
The winning playwrights receive a $1,500 stipend and local accommodations. The ANPF 2019 Fall Festival will take place October 16–20, 2019.
Submissions will be accepted starting July 1, 2018, through December 31, 2018, or until 400 scripts are received, whichever comes first. Click here to learn more.
ANPF 2018 Winning Playwrights Announced
We are excited to announce the winning playwrights and plays for our annual Fall Festival 2018!
Ian August for The Excavation of Mary Anning
Synopsis: In 19th century England, fossil hunter Mary Anning combs the earth for glimpses of the ancient past while also fighting to claim her legacy in a society that refuses to acknowledge her worth.
Ian August is a New Jersey-based playwright and librettist. His works have been performed across the U.S., as well as in Canada, Australia, the UK, South Korea and Bermuda. He is a founding member of the Princeton-based Witherspoon Circle and a graduate of the Philadelphia playwriting workshop The Foundry.
Synopsis: A cutting-edge chatbot unintentionally becomes a digital monument when one of its creators dies unexpectedly, leaving his loved ones to argue over ownership of the digital remains – and their own grief.
Nate Eppler is a playwright and new play advocate currently serving as Playwright-in-Residence for Nashville Repertory Theatre. In addition to his work as a playwright, Eppler serves as Director of the Ingram New Works Project, a nationally recognized and locally valued program designed to connect artists and audiences across extraordinary new plays. He is represented by The Gersh Agency.
Victor Lesniewski for Cold Spring
Synopsis: After a teenager accuses his baseball coach of sexual assault, four parents attempt to deal with the response of their close-knit community while the ramifications resound through their own relationships.
Victor Lesniewski’s plays have received world premieres at TBG Theatre and The Wild Project in NYC. He was the only American to be shortlisted for the inaugural Theatre503 Playwriting Award and was a 2015-16 Uncharted Artist in Residence at Ars Nova. He is currently an Artistic Patriot at Merrimack Rep and a member of The Playwrights Union.
Stephanie Alison Walker for The Abuelas
Synopsis: A visit from two strangers exposes a 37-year-old secret about the
ongoing and devastating repercussions of the military dictatorship in Argentina in the 1970s and ‘80s. The Abuelas explores the heart’s capacity for resilience and forgiveness even in the face of the most incomprehensible betrayal.
Stephanie Alison Walker is a returning ANPF Fall Festival winner, previously winning in 2016 for The Madres, which is receiving four consecutive productions in Los Angeles, Chicago, San Diego, and Austin, as part of a National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere this year. The Abuelas is a companion piece. Walker is a NNPN Affiliate Artist and a member of the Playwrights Union and Antaeus Playwrights Lab. She lives in Los Angeles.
We look forward to welcoming the four winning playwrights to Ashland for our annual Fall Festival from October 17–21, 2018.
A week of receptions, rehearsals, a playwriting workshop, and other festivities will culminate with dramatic readings of their plays, which will be performed by some of our finest actors in both matinee and evening performances at the Unitarian Center, 87 Fourth Street, in Ashland. Talkbacks with Ashland’s sophisticated audiences will follow each performance.
Ticket sales will open to the public in September. ANPF members will have priority access to select their tickets when they receive their Festival Passes.
We wish to extend our deepest gratitude to the amazing ANPF volunteer readers for all their hard work in the selection process and choosing the top 15 finalists.
“As usual, the readers gave me a fascinating group of finalists,” Artistic Director Kyle Haden said, “After doing some close reading, I couldn’t be more excited about our four winners. We have a wide array of stories where there’s something for everyone here. I’m really looking forward to introducing these playwrights and their work to Ashland audiences this October.”
Finally, we sincerely congratulate the other eleven finalists, listed below,
Omen Road to Starrville by Erik Champney
Chaos is Come Again by Quinton Cockrell
Butterflies and Margarine by Oded Gross
Teach by Donna Hoke
Nancy F@&*ing Reagan by Daniel Hurewitz
Eight Nights by Jennifer Maisel
Age of Consent by Ruth McKee
Otis by Shanti Reinhardt
The Harder Courage by Leslie Slape
Late in the Game by Barbara Snow
Random Access by Mary Carol Stunkel
ANPF Theatre Talk Mini Subscription Passes Available
ANPF Theatre Talk is a salon series of conversations with prominent local actors and other theater professionals, inspired by James Lipton’s television series Inside the Actors Studio. All conversations begin at 7:30 p.m. and are held at the Bellview Grange.
Tickets for individual talks are $10 and are available at the door with cash or check. Subscription Passes are available every spring with a bundled discount price for all four talks.
This season features conversations with:
Join us and find out how a simple conversation can uniquely illuminate the art of theater!
For more information, click here to view Theatre Talk’s page on our website.
Past ANPF Winning Play Wins Pulitzer Prize for Drama 2018
The 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Drama was awarded to Cost of Living by Martyna Majok, a play that headlined Ashland New Plays Festival’s Women’s Invitational in 2016.
Cost of Living is “an honest, original work that invites audiences to examine diverse perceptions of privilege and human connection through two pairs of mismatched individuals: a former trucker and his recently paralyzed ex-wife, and an arrogant young man with cerebral palsy and his new caregiver,” the Pulitzer Prize Board said.
Following the ANPF presentation of Majok’s play in March 2016, it later received fully-staged productions at the Williamstown Theatre Festival and then at New York’s Manhattan Theatre Club.
“Cost of Living is a beautiful play,” said ANPF Artistic Director Kyle Haden, “I’ve been excited to watch its journey after our reading here in Ashland during the Women’s Invitational, through its major productions, and now being recognized with one of the highest honors a play can receive. I couldn’t be more thrilled for Martyna.”
The Ashland reading of Majok’s play was enthusiastically received by the local audience. It was directed by Penny Metropulos, long associated with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. The acting company was Armando Durán, Regan Linton, Valerie Anne Huntington, Christopher Imbrosciano, and Samuel L. Wick.
“All of us at ANPF are very pleased by Martyna’s well deserved success,” ANPF Board President James Pagliasotti said, “Bringing powerful voices like hers to our audience is what the Women’s Invitational was intended to do.”
Majok (pronounced my-oak) is a native of Poland and grew up in the U.S. She studied at the University of Chicago, Yale School of Drama, and Julliard. Her plays have been produced at many leading theaters.
Click here to learn more about ANPF’s past winners.
Meridith Friedman’s The Luckiest People trilogy
Thank you for joining us for ANPF’s dramatic reading of Meridith Friedman’s I Can Go, the final installment of her powerful and touching trilogy about the Hoffman family. This special, one-night-only event on Sunday, May 13, was directed by Kyle Haden and starred Kate Berry, Cameron Davis, Eileen DeSandre, Paul Michael Garcia, Aurelia Grierson, Rex Young, and Román Zaragoza.
As always we are incredibly grateful for our amazing cast, crew, volunteers, and audience members. We love our community!
Last night marked the first public reading of I Can Go, calling to mind one of several parallels with Friedman’s ANPF 2015-winning play The Luckiest People: both had their first public readings with ANPF, both were directed by Kyle Haden, and in all three of ANPF’s readings of the trilogy’s installments, our original cast returned. In addition, each play received thoughtful responses from our highly-engaged audiences during post-performance talkbacks.
“I couldn’t imagine a better setting for putting a new work out into the world,” said Friedman, “With a first-rate cast of actors who are truly committed to serving the play and an audience that responds with extremely smart, thoughtful, and constructive feedback.”
Friedman’s trilogy was commissioned by Denver’s Curious Theatre Company, and I Can Go will receive its world premiere there in the future.
At ANPF, we are very pleased to be working with playwrights in helping them refine their work for full production. Thank you for supporting us in this effort!
Gratitude for a beautiful performance: Your Best One by Meridith Friedman
Many thanks to everyone who made last night’s memorable and touching performance possible, from our audience and ANPF members to the playwright, cast, director, staff, and volunteers. ANPF is a community effort that we are proud to be part of. We’ll see you again for the final installment of THE LUCKIEST PEOPLE trilogy by Meridith Friedman on May 13.
Share the poster below with friends!
ANPF presentation of Your Best One by Meridith Friedman
Ashland New Plays Festival staged a dramatic reading of Your Best One, a play by Meridith Friedman, on March 25 in the Music Recital Hall at Southern Oregon University.
Friedman, whose previous work The Luckiest People was presented at ANPF 2015 to great acclaim, continues the story of those characters in her new work. Your Best One centers on the Hoffman family, the irascible widower Oscar and his grown children Richard and Laura and their families, as they rally together–and against each other–with their trademark wit and inherited neurosis when one of their own is faced with a serious health crisis.
The play starred actors Rex Young, James Edmondson, Paul Michael Garcia, and Kate Berry. The four are well-known to Ashland audiences and previously appeared in The Luckiest People in 2015. They will reprise their original roles. Your Best One also starred Cameron Davis and Aurelia Grierson. Paul Mason Barnes directed.
Part of a trilogy commissioned by Denver’s Curious Theatre Company, each play stands on its own so whether audiences are familiar with the first play or are new to the story, all will relate to these compelling and very human characters.
“Life is constantly vacillating between sadness and euphoria, to quote my favorite Billy Joel song,” said Friedman, who is currently residing in Los Angeles and writing for television, “And I want to create theater that explores the everyday tragedies and triumphs that bring us to the heights and depths of our experiences.”
ANPF’s next performance will be May 13 when the Hoffman family story will continue with the third installment, I Can Go (working title), of The Luckiest People trilogy.
Click here to learn more about the trilogy and the playwright.
2018 Season Announced
We are pleased to announce our 27th season of dramatic readings showcasing new theatrical works, along with a program of talks with theater professionals.
ANPF’s flagship annual Fall Festival Oct. 17-21 will unveil four new plays in dramatic readings by casts of professional actors. The plays will be selected from 400 entries currently being read by local volunteer readers, with the final decisions to be made in June by ANPF artistic director Kyle Haden. They will be performed at Ashland’s Unitarian Center.
In carrying out its mission to support new works for the stage, ANPF is “working to develop underrepresented voices in theater, including women and playwrights of color,” said Haden.
The 2018 season opens Sunday, March 25, with a dramatic reading of Meridith Friedman’s Your Best One, directed by Paul Mason Barnes, in the Music Recital Hall at Southern Oregon University. Tickets for the 7:30 p.m. performance go on sale online Feb. 11. Members receive early access.
Four actors who previously appeared at ANPF in 2015 in Friedman’s The Luckiest People will reprise their roles in Your Best One – Rex Young, James Edmondson, Paul Michael Garcia, and Kate Berry.
Next in the schedule will be an extensive workshop in Ashland of another as yet untitled Friedman play, culminating in a Sunday, May 13, dramatic reading of the work at Southern Oregon University’s newly renovated Main Stage Theatre. Eventually, the Friedman plays will form a related trilogy.
“ANPF increasingly is focusing on the workshopping model for presenting new plays, in which playwrights are given a place to refine their work in preparation for production,” said Board President James Pagliasotti.
Also on this year’s schedule is ANPF’s popular Theatre Talk series, hosted again this year by John Rose and moving to Bellview Grange. Guests for the talks June through September are OSF actors Nancy Rodriguez, Rex Young, Alejandra Escalante, and Daniel José Molina.
A special added feature will be a March 30 talk for members only, featuring Christopher Acebo, Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s nationally prominent associate artistic director. Click here to learn how to become a member.
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2017 Year in Review
As we close our 26th season of supporting new works for the stage, we wanted to look back at this amazing year and thank you for your continued support.
This season was our most successful yet. Our flagship Fall Festival this October brought us four incredible new plays that resonated deeply with audiences:
“Strong performances bring rich life to already exciting and well-crafted new plays.”
“Great theater is good words plus good actors. The rest is detail. You have it all.”
“It gets stronger and stronger every year. A joy to experience.”
“Hearing artists speak on their art is fascinating. It’s pleasurable to be part of artistic development.”– ANPF 2017 audience survey responses
The first performance of our 2017 season was in March when we presented a powerful reading of Octavio Solis’ modern verse translation of Edward III in collaboration with the Hitz Foundation and Play on! 36 Playwrights Translate Shakespeare, an Oregon Shakespeare Festival initiative.
2017 was also an exciting year for past ANPF Winners. Six playwrights saw their plays receive world premieres, including:
- Meridith Friedman’s The Luckiest People (ANPF 2015) at Curious Theatre
- Steven Haworth’s Fernando (ANPF 2011) at Ice Factory 2017
- Jamie Pachino’s Other Than Honorable (ANPF 2013) at Geva Theatre
- Martyna Majok’s Cost of Living (Women’s Invitational) at Manhattan Theatre Club
- Lauren Yee’s King of the Yees (Women’s Invitational) at Goodman Theatre
- Jiehae Park’s Hannah and the Dread Gazebo (Women’s Invitational) at OSF
In addition, Bo Wilson’s The Boatwright (ANPF 2013) had a regional premiere at Firehouse Theatre.
Next year, Stephanie Walker’s The Madres (ANPF 2016) will have its world premiere at Teatro Vista in Chicago. And at OSF, ANPF 1999 winner Karen Zacarias (The Sins of Sor Juana) will bring her play Destiny of Desire to OSF’s 2018 season. Click here to learn more about ANPF’s past winners and where they are now.
Also, from June to September, ANPF’s Theatre Talk summer salon series welcomed its second year of sold out interviews with acclaimed theatre professionals. Thanks go to the series’ volunteer organizers, subscribers, and our inspiring guests this year: Rodney Gardiner, Britney Simpson, Vilma Silva, and Steven Sapp.
The popular series will have a new home in 2018 at the Grange to accommodate more seating.
Finally, we are sincerely grateful to be part of this dynamic and supportive community. To all the playwrights, performers, audiences, and the more than one hundred volunteers who join us in this effort: You made 2017 an exceptional year.
Thank you for giving us the continued opportunity to find and present new works for the stage.
We are looking forward to our 2018 season, which will be another ambitious and exciting year. We will be announcing the full 2018 schedule with all the details after the start of the new year. Below is a partial schedule:
Save the Dates for 2018