We are now celebrating our twenty-ninth year. Founded in 1992 and managed by a volunteer board of directors, Ashland New Plays Festival is a nonprofit organization that encourages playwrights in the creation of new works through public readings. We also offer an educational forum to the community through discussions and workshops. Read about our history.
ANPF’s flagship Fall Festival is an international playwright competition that culminates in the dramatic readings of four new plays chosen by a cadre of volunteer readers from hundreds of submissions. This unique and much-loved event features professional actors from Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Southern Oregon University’s Theatre Department, and the community. The dramatic readings, and the talkbacks that follow, are a rich theatrical experience for audiences.
The winning playwrights look to our sophisticated playgoers, skilled directors, world-class actors, and expert guidance from our artistic director and host playwright for responses to their works as they evolve from the page to the stage. In those magical exchanges of feedback, comments or suggestions may help turn a very good play into a masterpiece and encourage playwrights to continue their efforts in the challenging endeavor of bringing new works to the public.
The soul of ANPF is our Reading Committee, which starts with organizational and training meetings in the fall and then reads blinded scripts throughout the winter and spring. Through a series of group discussions and at times employing a numerical scoring system, readers reduce the submissions from several hundred to around 35. At that point further discussions result in 10 to 15 semifinalists, and the artistic director leads the collaborative process of choosing the four winners.
The winning playwrights are announced in July, and in October they travel to beautiful Ashland, Oregon, for the festival, which draws playwrights and theater lovers from far and wide for a week of readings, talkbacks, workshops, and playwright appreciation as we celebrate new works for the stage.
Want to Get Involved?
We have a few vacancies to fill on our Board of Directors and are always looking for good candidates to work with us. If you have a passion for the theater arts and a dedication to serving our community, we would welcome your application. Currently, we are looking for a CPA or other financial management professional to assist us with accounting. A recent article in the San Francisco Chronicle praised ANPF as both “prestigious” and “celebrated.” If you are interested in serving on this dynamic board, please contact us!
If you would like to volunteer with ANPF to help with our flagship festival and other events throughout the year, please view our Event Volunteers page for more information and how to connect. You can also become a member and support our work through a generous gift. Visit our Support page to learn about the many benefits of joining the ANPF community in this vital way.
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