Iowa New Play Festival 2021

Iowa New Play Festival

The first week of May is a special time for us, as we mount our annual Iowa New Play Festival (NPF). The 2021 Iowa New Play Festival will be presented virtually and will include four full productions and daily readings. All readings and productions will take place during the month of May.

2021 Schedule of Events

Link to the 2021 Iowa New Play Festival Schedule

2021 Productions

The Job
By Ikram Basra
Directed by Sarah Gazdowicz  
Dramaturgy by Art Borreca

Blue Whale Variations
By Dakota Parobek
Directed by Ann Kreitman
Dramaturgy by Rob Ascher

Wild, Wonderful 
By SP O’Brien
Directed by Natalie Zito
Dramaturgy by Margo Skornia

Doctor Vysarius
By Steven Glavey
Music by Jeremy Geragotelis
Co-Directed by Steven Glavey and Jeremy Geragotelis
Dramaturgy by Nate Ferguson

The Reading Series

By Isaiah Reaves
Directed by Dennis A. Allen II
Dramaturgy by Margo Skornia

Year of Revue
Directed by Jarek Pastor
Written by the Year of Revue team
Dramaturgy by Rob Ascher

By Amanda Keating
Directed by Molly Clifford
Dramaturgy by Meg Mechelke

The Switch
By Charlie O’Leary
Directed by Ivey Lowe
Dramaturgy by Meg Mechelke

Still Life
By Valerie Muensterman
Directed by Erica Wray
Dramaturgy by Nate Ferguson

The arrogance of it
Written and directed by Olivia Clement

Just Above Hades
By Emma Silverman
Directed by Nina Morrison
Dramaturgy by Margo Skornia

Pins and Needles, or The Circumstance of Falling Forever on Ash Wednesday, 1988
By Jeremy Geragotelis
Directed by Amanda Keating

Readings from the Undergraduate Playwrights Workshop
Directed by Brett Stone

2021 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.

The 2021 festival guest artists will participate virtually. Guests will include:

Beth Blickers - Agent at Agency for the Performing Arts
Kia Corthron - Playwright, Screenwriter, Novelist
Cat Filloux - Playwright; Librettist; Co-founder Theatre Without Borders
Martine Kei Green-Rogers - Fellowship Associate at Playwrights' Center; Past President of LMDA
Lynde Rosario - Literary Manager at Denver Theatre Center
Cori Thomas - Playwright; Co-founder Pa's Hat Foundation

Visit our Virtual Lobby to learn more about these guests.


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 Iowa New Play Festival is presented during the last week of spring term classes. Four to 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 four or 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.

Iowa New Play Festival 2020 was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Iowa New Play Festival 2019 guests included Elissa Adams, Noel Allain, Len Berkman, Christine Scarfuto, Amy Wegener, and Connie Winston. These guests came to Iowa City and responded to the following productions, workshop, and readings.

2PM in Faith, Nebraska by K.T. Peterson
Bell at the Back of Her Throat by Courtney Meaker
Blackberry: A Burial by Eric Marlin
P o l a r i s (a tragedy expansion pack) by Charles Green
Inferno of Eye Candy by Leigh M. Marshall
I Can Help You by SP O'Brien
We All Were Sunflowers by Ikram Basra
Smile Medicine by Dakota Parobek
Park Slope Under Water by Aja Nisenson
Perils of the Flowerbed by Steven Glavey

Iowa New Play Festival 2018 guests included Len Berkman, Bryan Delaney, Julie Felise Dubiner, Tanya Palmer, and Cori Thomas. These guests came to Iowa City and responded to the following productions, workshop, and readings.

Shoe by Marisela Treviño Orta
Lingering by Margot Connolly
The Age of Innocence by Nina Morrison
A Kingdom Jack'd by Scott Bradley
I am Pretty Bird by Leigh M. Marshall
The Wait by Aja Nisenson
You Must Wear a Hat by Courtney Meaker
Hear, Israel! by Charles Green
and come apart by Eric Marlin
Richmond Park by K.T. Peterson
Kant in Vegas by Leigh M. Marshall
Moon Dust by Alysha Oravetz

Iowa New Play Festival 2017 guests included Elissa Adams, Len Berkman, Matthew Maguire, Elsa Menédez, and Jenni Page-White. These guests came to Iowa City and responded to the following productions and readings.

Seed by Scott Bradley
Tough by Margot Connolly
The Pirate Queen by G. Flores
"...among other things..." by Michael Tisdale
Alcira by Marisela Treviño Orta
The Book of Jonah [The Interim Years] by Eric Marlin
Tiny Thin Woman Inside by Courtney Meaker
A Desert Fugue by Charles Green

Iowa New Play Festival 2016 guests included Len Berkman, Jacqueline E. Lawton, Todd Ristau, José Rivera, and Cori Thomas. These guests came to Iowa City and responded to the following productions and readings.

squeeze: A Motel Play by Theresa Giacopasi
Cut & Run by Eric Micha Holmes
Doxxed by Sam Lahne
Great Emergencies by Sean David DeMers
Packing by Scott Bradley
Quiz Out by Margot Connolly
Household or Must be a Duck by Michael Tisdale
Dr. Lovely by Alysha Marie Oravetz
Wolf at the Door by Marisela Treviño Orta
Alcyone by G. Flores

Iowa New Play Festival 2015 guests included Len Berkman, Bryan Delaney, Matthew Maguire, Sydné Mahone, Lisa Rothe. These guests came to Iowa City and responded to the following productions and readings.

Faculty Portrait by Sean David DeMers
Silo Tree by Sam Collier
TRICH by Sarah Cho
Below the Pacific by Ryan Oliveira
Hunting BigFoot by Theresa Giacopasi
Right by Sam Lahne
Binary Star by G. Flores
Boom Boom Town by Alysha Oravetz
Meloman (a music lover) by Michael Tisdale
Cut & Run by Eric Holmes

Iowa New Play Festival 2014 guests included Elissa Adams, Keith Josef Adkins, Len Berkman, and Amy Rose Marsh. These guests came to Iowa City and responded to the following productions, workshops, and readings.

Four Stories by Micah Ariel James
and i will hold you/when you are broken by Lisa Flora Meyers
Swordplay by Ryan Oliveira
Speed of Light by Bella Poynton
Life of the Experiment by Sarah Cho
Phoebe by Sean David DeMers
#julys by Sam Lahne
Still Quiet by Emily Dendinger
Falls for Jodie by Eric Holmes
Suit of Leaves by Sam Collier
Order Now by Theresa Giacopasi


Contact the Theatre Office