New Play Festival
The first week of May is a special time us, as we mount our annual New Play Festival (NPF). Join our annual week-long festival of new work written by MFA and undergraduate playwrights. Four full productions and daily staged readings are presented to audiences that include visiting professional writers, dramaturgs, directors, producers, theatre lovers, and new play enthusiasts. The 2014 NPF will be May 4 – 10.
Festival participants also have opportunities to discuss these new works through workshops, roundtable discussions, and receptions.
Link to an article on the Daily Iowan.
Link to an article on Iowa Now.
2013 Schedule of Events
For the Falls
by Emily Dendinger
Directed by Tlaloc Rivas
half sick of shadows
by Katharine Sherman
Directed by David Hanzal
You Lost Me
by Bonnie Metzgar
Directed by Nathan Halvorson
The Aleph Complex
by Deborah Yarchun
Directed by Megan Monaghan Rivas
The Aurora Project
by Bella Poynton
Directed by Rachel Korach Howell
The Reading Series
by Various Graduate Playwrights
2013 Festival Guest Artists
Since its inception in the 1970s, the Iowa New Play Festival has brought guest artists to campus to meet with students. Festival Guests attend all performances and give feedback to the creative team for each show. The feedback is given in roundtable discussions following each reading and on the morning after each production or workshop. These roundtables help the playwright and his or her collaborators see their work in a professional context. This year's Festival Guests are:
Len Berkman, Playwright, Professor at Smith College in Massachusetts
Wendy C. Goldberg, Artistic Director of The National Playwrights Conference at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center
Sarah Gubbins, Playwright based in Chicago
Sarah Lunnie, Literary Manager at Actors Theatre of Louisville
Tanya Saracho, Playwright, Director, and Actor based in Chicago
2013 Festival Guest Biographies
Len Berkman is the Anne Hesseltine Hoyt Professor of Theatre at Smith College, where, having taught playwriting, theatre history, and the dramatic literature of various nations and cultures since 1969. He has received Distinguished Teacher (1992), Sherrerd Teaching Excellence (2011) and Charis Medal Awards, and where his former students number such diverse theatre artists as Wendy Wasserstein, Kathleen Marshall, Liev Schreiber, Patricia Wettig, Rob Corrdry, Margaret Edson, Kevin Heelan, Leah Ryan, Addie Walsh, John Eisner, Dare Clubb, Jordan Baker, and Erin Cressida Wilson.
Among Len’s plays are: Excuse Me For Even Daring To Open My Mouth, ’Til The Beatles Reunite, Adultery Without Touch, Voila! Rape In Technicolor, Missing Children, Quits, I Won’t Go See A Play Called ‘A Parent’s Worst Nightmare’, Quote/Unquote, and These Are Not My Breasts.
His essays appear in such journals as MODERN DRAMA, MASSACHUSETTS REVIEW, THE PRAIRIE SCHOONER, Arena Stage’s HowlRound, and PARNASSUS; and in such volumes as THE SUZAN-LORI PARKS CASEBOOK, MARIA-IRENE FORNES: CONDUCTING A LIFE, THE CONTINUUM COMPANION TO CONTEMPORARY THEATRE, AMERICAN JEWISH WOMEN WRITERS, and UPSTAGING BIG DADDY: DIRECTING PLAYS AS THOUGH RACE AND GENDER MATTER.
Holding Yale Drama School M.F.A. and D.F.A. degrees across several Yale ‘regimes’, Len has served as new-play development dramaturg for the Hispanic Playwrights Project/Festival at South Coast Rep. the Mark Taper Forum, WordBRIDGE, Epic Theatre Ensemble, the Sundance Institute, and at New York Stage & Film. He has been consultant for the National Endowment of the Arts and foran array of university theatre and dance departments. He is on Voice & Vision’s Founding Circle of Advisers and served on Roberta Uno’s New World Theatre Advisory Board for all of its 30 production and project seasons. Len has been ‘thrice’ Guest Professor at the University of Hamburg, Germany, and has been on the Fulbright “Senior Specialist” Professor roster since 2010.
He has treasured being an Iowa New Play Festival guest on seven heavenly occasions since the early 1990s.
Wendy C. Goldberg is in her ninth season as Artistic Director of The National Playwrights Conference at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center in Waterford, CT. Under her tenure, The O’Neill has been leading the field and received the 2010 Tony Award for outstanding regional theater. The O’Neill is the first development and education organization to receive this honor. Wendy is only the third Artistic Director in the organization’s 49 year history and the first woman assigned to this post. She was named Artistic Director when she was 31 years old.
Wendy is also an award winning director with multiple production credits at the most esteemed theaters in the country including five productions for Arena Stage, The Alliance, The Goodman Theatre, two productions for The Guthrie, five productions for Denver Center Theater Company, Paper Mill Playhouse and three productions for Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park among others.
Recent credits include three world premieres of projects developed at The O’Neill: Deb Laufer’s Leveling Up (Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park), University of Iowa grad Idris Goodwin’s How We Got On (Humana Festival of New American Plays/ ATL), and Lisa Loomer’s Two Things You Don’t Talk About at Dinner at Denver Center Theatre Company.
In New York, she is represented on Broadway as the Creative Advisor of Rock of Ages and has directed commercially, world premieres, at The McGinn/Cazale and DR2. Current Projects include new musical collaborations with Kleban Award Winning Composer Matt Schatz (Dunkfest 88 upcoming at Ars Nova) as well as a new musical developed with hip hop artist Psalmayene 24 developed with MTV. She will direct the opening production at The Guthrie this season, Tribes.
Wendy served as Artistic Associate at Arena Stage in Washington, DC for five seasons. She is a Tony voter, has served on panels for TCG and the NEA and proudly serves on the Executive Board of the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers. Education: UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television MFA and University of Michigan BA.
Wendy lives in Brooklyn with her partner and her almost three-year-old son, Max.
Sarah Gubbins is a Chicago playwright. Her full-length plays include: The Kid Thing, The Drinking Problem, I am Bradley Manning, fml: how Carson McCullers saved my life, In Loco Parentis, and Fair Use.
She won a Joseph Jefferson Award for Best New Play 2012 for The Kid Thing which was produced by Chicago Dramatists & About Face Theater developed by the Steppenwolf Theater. The Kid Thing won an Edgarton Foundation New American Play Prize. fml: how Carson McCullers saved my life was commissioned and produced by the Steppenwolf Theater in 2012 and published by Dramatic Publishing in 2013.
Her latest play, The Drinking Problem won the 2012 Global Age Project sponsored by the Aurora Theater in Berkeley California. The Drinking Problem was developed as part of Playlabs (formerly titled The Water Play) and received additional development from Timeline Theater in Chicago.
Her play Fair Use was developed and produced at the Steppenwolf Theatre Company as part of their First Look Repertory of New Plays during the summer of 2008 and was produced in by Actor’s Express Theatre in Atlanta. Fair Use was also a finalist in the Alliance Theatre’s Kendeda National Graduate Playwriting Competition.
She was commissioned to write I am Bradley Manning by the Theatre School at DePaul University and the play was produced at the Merle Reskin Theater in Chicago in 2012.
Her plays have been read or developed at the Public Theater, New York Theater Workshop, The Goodman Theatre, Steppenwolf Theater Company, American Theater Company, About Face Theatre, Chicago Dramatists, The Playwrights’ Center of Minneapolis, The Aurora Theater Company, Timeline Theater, Pine Box Theater, American Theater Company, Next Theatre Company, Actor’s Express and Collaboraction.
Sarah is the recipient of two City of Chicago CAAP Individual Artist Grants and is a Resident Playwright at Chicago Dramatists and an Artistic Associate at About Face Theatre. She was the 2010-2011 Carl J. Djerassi Playwriting Fellow at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and was a 2011-2012 Jerome Fellow at the Playwrights’ Center in Minneapolis. She has additionally been commissioned by Actors Express. She collaborated with the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange on A Matter of Origins. In 2012 Sarah was named Best Playwright of 2012 by Chicago Magazine.
She holds an M.F.A. in Writing for the Screen + Stage from Northwestern University and currently lives in Los Angeles.
Sarah Lunnie is the literary manager at Actors Theatre of Louisville, where she is involved in curating and developing new work for the Humana Festival of New American Plays. Now in her fifth season at Actors, she has served as a dramaturg on the Humana premieres of plays by Lucas Hnath, Rinne Groff, Mona Mansour, Charles L. Mee and Anne Washburn, among others, and on many productions in the theatre’s mainstage and Apprentice/Intern Company seasons.
She has collaborated with directors including Anne Bogart, Jon Jory, Ken Rus Schmoll, Lila Neugebauer and Mark Wing-Davey, and is an affiliated artist with The Mad Ones.
Lunnie has been a guest dramaturg at the Kennedy Center M.F.A. Playwrights’ Workshop, a visiting artist at the Iowa New Play Festival and the Hollins University Playwright’s Lab, and a grant review panelist for the Kentucky Foundation for Women. She co-founded the Telephonic Literary Union, a Louisville company that devises phone-based storytelling experiences for very small audiences. The Kentucky Foundation for Women awarded her a 2009 Artist Enrichment Grant to support her writing. Lunnie is the co-editor of several volumes of Humana Festival: The Complete Plays and a handful of New Voices Festival anthologies.
She holds a B.A. from Boston College.
Tanya Saracho was born in Sinaloa, México. She’s a playwright, director, and actor -- as well as a TV writer for the upcoming Lifetime series, Devious Maids. Named Best New Playwright of 2010 by Chicago Magazine, Saracho is a new ensemble member at the Tony Award-winning Victory Gardens Theater, a resident playwright emerita at Chicago Dramatists, a Goodman Theatre Fellow at the Ellen Stone Belic Institute for the Study of Women and Gender in the Arts and Media at Columbia College Chicago, the founder of the Ñ Project, the producer and director of ALTA (Alliance of Latino Theater Artists) and founder and former Artistic Director of Teatro Luna: Chicago’s All-Latina Theater.
PRODUCED AT: The Goodman Theater, Steppenwolf Theater, Teatro Vista, Teatro Luna, Fountain Theater, Clubbed Thumb, NEXT Theater and 16th Street Theater.
PLAYS INCLUDE: The Tenth Muse, Song for the Disappeared, Enfrascada; El Nogalar (inspired by The Cherry Orchard); an adaptation of The House on Mango Street for Steppenwolf; Our Lady of the Underpass ; Surface Day; Jarred (A Hoodoo Comedy); Kita y Fernanda, and Quita Mitos.
Saracho is a winner of the Ofner Prize given by the Goodman Theater, a recipient of an NEA Distinguished New Play Development Project Grant with About Face Theatre and a 3Arts Artists Award. NEW WORK DEVELOPED AT: Sundance Theater Lab 2012, Hedgebrook Women’s Playwright’s Festival 2012, Ucross/Sundance 2011, Martha’s Vineyard Arts Project 2011, Superlab with Clubbed Thumb/Playwrights Horizon, Ignition Festival at Victory Gardens, Latino Mixfest at Atlantic Theater, and XYZ Fest at About Face Theater.
Saracho was named one of nine national Latino “Luminarios” by Café magazine and given the first “Revolucionario” Award in Theater by the National Museum of Mexican Art. Tanya is currently working on two Mellon Foundation commissions for Steppenwolf Theatre, an adaptation of a Sor Juana Inez de la Cruz play for Oregon Shakespeare Festival which will premier in the 2013 season, and a historical fiction about a transgendered civil war soldier titled The Good Private for About Face Theatre. Song For The Disappeared is a Goodman commission.
COMMISSIONS: Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Goodman Theater, Steppenwolf Theatre, About Face Theater, Teatro Vista, Denver Theater Center. Tanya is a proud member of SAG/AFTRA, and a new member of the Writer’s Guild.
For more than two decades, Theatre Arts has presented an annual festival centered on producing, reading, and discussing new scripts from the Iowa Playwrights Workshop. The Workshop was formally organized in the fall of 1971, although a strong tradition of playwriting has existed at Iowa since the 1920s when the department was under the leadership of E.C. Mabie. From 1923 until his death in 1956, Mabie was strongly dedicated to the writing and production of original plays. The Workshop was one of the first programs established to concentrate solely on playwriting and is one of the most production oriented playwriting programs in the country.
The New Play Festival is presented during the last week of spring term classes. Five plays by MFA playwrights are selected for full productions, most of them directed by MFA directing students and faculty members. Readings of full plays written by the other MFA writers are also presented during the week, as is a selection of work by undergraduate playwrights. Classes in the department are cancelled for the week so everyone may participate. Professional playwrights, directors, and producers from around the country are in residence to see and discuss all aspects of the work.
Many of the plays premiered during the Festival have gone on to win prestigious awards and have productions at professional theatres throughout this country and abroad. Preparing five new plays and presenting them in a single week is a monumental undertaking that is only possible by the utilization of the department’s wide-ranging resources in acting, directing, design, dramaturgy, stage management, and technical support. The development of new work through production continues to be a fundamental emphasis of the entire department.
Contact the Theatre Office