Ian August is a New Jersey-based playwright and lyricist whose works have been performed across the U.S., as well as in Canada, Australia, the UK, South Korea and Bermuda. His full-length plays include The Excavation of Mary Anning (Winner, 2018 Ashland New Plays Festival and 2018 DVRF New Playwright Program, Semi-Finalist 2018 O’Neill Conference); Interviewese (Winner Garry Marshall Theatre New Works Fest, Finalist New Comedy Fest B Street Theatre); Donna Orbits the Moon (NJ Repertory Company, Utah Contemporary Theatre; Barbour Memorial Playwright Award, 2011); Missing Celia Rose (NYC Summer Play Festival; Orlando Shakespeare Theater’s “Playfest 2009”; Bermuda Musical and Dramatic Society); Submitted by C. Randall McCloskey (2011 NY International Fringe Festival); and The Aisling (Winner 2009 Heiress Productions New Play Series). He is a founding member of the Princeton-based playwriting collective, the Witherspoon Circle, and is a graduate of the Philadelphia playwriting workshop, The Foundry.
The Excavation of Mary Anning: Amidst the groaning cliff sides and weather beaten shores of southern England, fossil hunter Mary Anning combs the earth for glimpses of the ancient past. Armed with only her determination, her lucky hammer, and her erstwhile companion, Tray, Mary uncovers secrets that redefine science and religion and philosophy. But 19th-century geology is a nobleman’s game, and Mary’s discoveries are buried beneath the rubble while the stars of her male counterparts grow ever brighter. The Excavation of Mary Anning is a historical fantasia about things that come from the earth and things that go to the earth and one woman’s quest to reclaim her legacy in a society that refuses to acknowledge her worth.
The Excavation of Mary Anning was directed by Penny Metropulos
Underwritten by Suzanne Christensen
10/17 @ 7:30 pm | 10/20 @ 1:30 pm
Nate Eppler is an award-winning playwright and new play advocate, currently serving as Playwright-in- Residence for Nashville Repertory Theatre. He was the recipient of the 2017 American Theatre Critics Association/Osborn Award and a finalist for the 2017 Steinberg/ATCA National New Play Award for his play The Ice Treatment. In addition to his work as a playwright, Mr. Eppler serves as Director of the Ingram New Works Project, a nationally-recognized program designed to connect artists and audiences across extraordinary new plays. His plays include Long Way Down (Semi-Finalist Steinberg/ATCA New Play Award); Primary User (2018 Finalist PlayPenn Conference, 2018 Ashland New Play Festival); and This Red Planet (2018 Ingram New Works Festival).
Primary User: Oz and Mia built a chatbot. They used Oz’s social media posts and emails and texts as a basis for the chatbot and ended up with a digital assistant with something approaching a real personality. A chatbot that actually chats. They sold their invention and they were about to be very, very rich. And then Oz died. And now Mia is left with a digital monument. But Mia isn’t the only one grieving the loss – Oz’s new fiancé Liz had no idea this is what Oz and Mia were working on. When Mia offers a copy to Liz, the women do not agree on who should claim ownership of the technology or who can claim ownership of the grief.
Primary User was directed by Kyle Haden
Underwritten by Carol Putnam and Lance Haddon
10/18 @ 7:30 pm | 10/21 @ 3:00 pm
Victor Lesniewski‘s works include Couriers and Contrabands (World Premiere at TBG Theatre in NYC, Developmental Workshop at New York Theatre Workshop), Cloven Tongues (World Premiere at The Wild Project in NYC), Where Bison Run (Ars Nova Out Loud Reading Series, NY Times Profile), Amid Purpleheart (Geva Theatre Center Concert Reading), Pipistrellus (The Dramatists Guild Fellowship), and Khardal (Berkeley Rep’s The Ground Floor). His short play Someone Who Knows was produced by Gowanus Art + Production in their inaugural Green Plays event in NYC, as well as by Ammunition Theatre Company in Los Angeles, and was a Heideman Award finalist. He was the only American to be shortlisted for the inaugural Theatre503 Playwriting Award, which included six writers culled from over 1,600 applicants. He was a 2015-16 Uncharted Artist in Residence at Ars Nova. In 2018 he has participated in New Works Now at Northern Stage (VT) and Campfire Theatre Festival (ID). He is an Artistic Patriot at Merrimack Rep and a member of The Playwrights Union.
Cold Spring: 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.
Cold Spring was directed by Terri McMahon
Underwritten by Peggy Moore and Betsy Bradshaw
10/18 @ 1:30 pm | 10/19 @ 7:30 pm
Stephanie Alison Walker is overjoyed to be back at the incredible Ashland New Plays Festival for the second time! Her full-length plays include The Madres; The Abuelas; Friends with Guns; The Art of Disappearing; American Home; The Sister House; Three Fittings; and The Box Jumper. Her honors include: Blue Ink Award (winner); Ashland New Plays Festival (two-time winner); BETC Generations Prize (winner); O’Neill Playwrights Conference (two-time finalist); CTG/Humanitas Prize (finalist); Primus Prize (finalist); Saroyan/Paul Playwriting Prize for Human Rights (finalist). Stephanie’s short plays are anthologized by Smith & Kraus and have been produced all over the world. Her play The Madres (ANPF 2016) just completed a four-city National New Play Network (NNPN) Rolling World Premiere and also received its Latin American premiere in a bilingual production in San Miguel de Allende with La Troupe. The Abuelas is set to premiere in Chicago at the Victory Gardens Theatre with Teatro Vista in February 2019. Her play, Friends With Guns (2018 O’Neill Finalist), will be premiering in Milwaukie, Oregon, with Chapel Theatre Collective, also in February 2019. Stephanie is proud to be an NNPN Affiliate Artist and a member of the Playwrights Union and Antaeus Playwrights Lab. She lives in Los Angeles with her brilliant husband Bob and their spirited sons, Malcolm (7) and Graham (4.)
The Abuelas: 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.
The Abuelas was directed by Ricardo Gutierrez
Underwritten by Jane and Bill Bardin
10/19 @ 1:30 pm | 10/20 @ 7:30 pm
ANPF 2017 Testimonials:–“I had a tremendous time at the ANPF. My actors and I were given ample time to rehearse, both before and after our first performance. My director was brilliant and the quality of the artists I was able to work with was completely inspiring. It’s also a thrill to be able to do a staged reading in front of a huge (200) audience for two different performances. The audience at Ashland is extremely well-informed and thoughtful – a large number of them were readers for the contest so they are very familiar with the work. In some ways, it’s a bit overwhelming. People were coming up to me on the street or in restaurants and telling me how much they enjoyed my play. In short, it was everything you want from a developmental opportunity: a chance to work on the work, while reaping the benefits of an informed, passionate audience. And the accommodations were wonderful too!” – Don Zolidis, A Dark Sky Full of Stars–“I had a great time at ANPF! I enjoyed getting to see Ashland for the first time, meeting some lovely actors and directors from all over the country and feeling the love and support of the whole community at both of my readings. I’m very impressed with the level of deep engagement the ANPF audiences have with the plays and playwrights they encounter. I left the week with my spirits bolstered and with warm feelings about the vibrant Ashland theater community. I also must mention the beautiful and bountiful gift bags we received upon arrival! Thank you to everyone who makes this week possible and hope to see you all again soon!” – Emily Feldman, Go. Please. Go.–“My time in Ashland was meaningful and productive, as well as a ton of fun! It was a great to be in the room with such generous theater artists, who all worked hard to bring my play to gorgeous life. A huge part of what made the week so worthwhile was connecting with my fellow playwrights and spending time with my director talking about process and our respective experiences. Ashland has an incredibly thoughtful and engaged theater community, and I was so glad to get to know the ANPF staff, as well as my lovely hosts and the donors who underwrote my play. I felt thoroughly supported through the entire week and am so grateful for the many resources I was given. I hope I can return one day!” – Callie Kimball, Sofonisba–
“What a gift what a gift what a gift! Ashland New Play Festival is a true oasis for playwrights, and an experience to cherish. From first contact, I felt taken care of, respected, and encouraged to do my best work. My accommodations were lovely. My hosts were gracious to a fault. The coffee was AMAZING! My fellow playwrights were inspirational, kind, and generous with their insights and feedback. Beth Kander was the perfect artistic host – the smartest, most articulate cheerleader one could ever hope to meet. Kyle Haden led the festival with a calm, cool, collected hand that made everything seem possible. The artistic team assembled to work on my play could not have been bettered. But the real prize of the festival was the community. The depth and breadth of their engagement with the process from beginning to end was truly astonishing – to have a talkback with a hundred people who have read your play MULTIPLE TIMES!!!!!!!! What?!!?!?!?!?! If my punctuation is a little hysterical, so be it. The people of the Ashland New Play Festival – all of them – every one – deserve all the exclamation points I can throw at them. It was an honor to be in their presence.” – Blake Hackler, What We Were–More testimonials here.
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You are the heart of ANPF! Thank you.