New Plays for Young Audiences is a play development series devoted to the work of the Theatre for Young Audiences (TYA) playwright and the development of TYA plays while providing NYU students the opportunity to study and experience the process first-hand. Housed in the historic Provincetown Playhouse and supported by NYU Steinhardt’s Program in Educational Theatre, NPYA was founded in 1998 by Lowell and Nancy Swortzell as a supportive space to nurture and evaluate new TYA scripts.
We return this June for our nineteenth season with three new plays and a graduate course in play development. Public rehearsed readings are performed each weekend with a discussion following each Sunday matinee. Our work honors the history of the Provincetown Playhouse where the early plays of Eugene O’Neill, Susan Glaspell, and Edna St. Vincent Millay were first presented. However, this series changes focus by devoting its efforts to development of new works for children, youth and family audiences written by both NYU students and noted authors in New York City, the US, and abroad.
Keeping with the goals of the Program in Educational Theatre, our series offers both students and theatre professionals the opportunity to test new ideas and methods within the field of TYA.
In conjunction with the series, the Program in Educational Theatre runs a graduate course, Theatre Practices: Problems in Play Production, the Development of New Plays, which studies theories and methods of play development utilizing the series as a laboratory. Students in the class both observe rehearsals and interact with the playwrights, directors, and dramaturgs over the course of the series.
For some background on how the season is chosen, HowlRound has published "From Soup to Nuts: Choosing a TYA Play Development Season" written by our producer.
New Plays for Young Audiences will present rehearsed readings of three new plays for young audiences June 5 – 19 at the Provincetown Playhouse. An audience discussion with the playwright and director will follow the Sunday readings. All tickets are free.
Beyond the North Wind is a performance project for young audiences and a 2015 recipient of the NYU Steinhardt Art and Culture Award. The piece will explore and adapt the children’s book At the Back of the North Wind, by George R. MacDonald (1871), for the stage. The story of a young boy’s lower class urban existence moves quickly from reality to fantasy, as the characters encounter poverty, illness, and disability, as well as embrace hopes, dreams and memories. The imagistic text is a rich source in which to engage the transformational modes of physical theatre: puppetry, magic, movement and mime. Through collaboration with experts in these aesthetic forms, Leland Faulkner, Therese Schorn, and Spica Wobbe, in addition to an original musical score by composer Robert Schwimmer, director/playwright Nancy Smithner will seek feedback from audiences of all ages in the New Plays Series, in order to further develop the key elements of the piece. This piece is appropriate for ages 4 and up. Rehearsed readings are on Saturday, June 11, 3pm, and Sunday, June 12, at 3pm.
In An Eye for An Eye by Rachel Teagle, Alys is in trouble. Driven from her home by an unending war, she finds herself at the mercy of a scheming noblewoman and locked in a tower with three other unfortunate young women. As they pass the time with stories and menial chores, they bond over their shared history and the oppressive tenure of their guardian. But, the fortress might not be as secure as they thought it was, and the far away war is getting closer every day. When it becomes clear that their guardian does not have their best interests at heart, the girls band together to sharpen their swords and their wits for the fight of their lives. Originally developed with Babes with Blades Theater Company in Chicago, An Eye for An Eye examines loyalty, retaliation, and the cost of battling one's personal demons in a high energy, swashbuckling setting. This play is appropriate for ages 13 and up. Rehearsed readings are on Saturday, June 18, 7:30pm, and Sunday, June 19, at 3pm.
In Kilo Hoku by Susan Soon He Stanton, after her parents’ divorce, a young girl is forced to spend the summer with her Hawaiian grandfather and her cousin. Meanwhile, thousands of years earlier in Tahiti, another young girl sets out on a dangerous journey to Hawaii. Combining hula, chant, history, and hard science, this play explores ancient and modern stories of navigation. Questions of identity, geography, and history collide when two young women, one modern and one ancient, find themselves wrestling with the stars and sea to discover their place in the world. This play is appropriate for ages 9 and up. Rehearsed readings are on Saturday, June 25, 7:30pm, and Sunday, June 26, at 3pm.
All rehearsed readings are in the Provincetown Playhouse. An audience discussion with the playwright and director will follow each Sunday reading. Tickets are FREE. There are no advance reservations. Tickets will be available at the theatre’s box office beginning an hour before each reading.
Auditions for New Plays for Young Audiences's 2016 series will be held April 14 (4-8 p.m.), 15 (2-6 p.m.), and 16 (10 a.m. - noon, 1-3 p.m.) for non-equity actors. Sign up is online. You will be asked to prepare a one minute monologue and bring a headshot or similar picture. You will need to know your June 5-19 schedule, including any potential conflicts. We rehearse 6-10pm Sunday through Friday and possibly on Saturday afternoon or evening (depending on need). Readings are on Saturday afternoon or evening and on Sunday in the afternoon. Actors can be cast in one, two, or all three weeks, depending on availability and script needs. Students taking the Theatre Practices course can audition for the series, but will be cast in no more than one week. This is an educational experience; no financial compensation is available to actors. We can only accept AEA actors who are current NYU students. All others must be non-Equity.
Call for scripts
Beginning June 27, 2016, New Plays for Young Audiences seeks new unpublished and unproduced full-length play scripts for young audiences (ages 4-21) for our 20th season, June 2017. The final date that submissions for 2017 will be accepted is October 31, 2016.
- In your email submission, please include your name, the name of the play, and where we can contact you.
- Also include in your submission your goals for the week of development – questions about the script you hope to answer, characters you want to further develop, story areas you want to look closer at, etc. Scripts received without goals are automatically disqualified, as this is an important part of our process.
- If you are submitting an adaptation, we ask that you include proof that the original author has agreed to you adapting their work.
- Finally, also rank, from most to least preferred, the development week that works best for you. Please also note any scheduling conflicts you have during that 3 week period. We cannot guarantee a preferred slot, but this information will help facilitate the scheduling process once scripts are selected. The 2017 series is slated to run June 4-25: June 4-11, June 11-18, and June 18-25.
Please note that we only accept previously unpublished and unproduced full-length play scripts. If your script has had a fully produced production, we cannot accept it. We accept musical submissions, but do not generally develop a musical every season. If you are uncertain if your script meets this requirement or believe there is cause for an exemption, feel free to contact us (firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com).
We welcome scripts of any cast size, but are limited to 10 actors due to the size of our stage. If your script requires more than 10 actors, include doubling suggestions with your submission.
To submit your new previously unpublished and unproduced play for young audiences for consideration in our 2017 series, send your script between June 27 and October 31, 2016, to Artistic Director, David Montgomery at firstname.lastname@example.org. We reply to all submissions within 7 days of receiving them.