New Plays for Young Audiences 2017

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 also 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 in June 2017 for our 20th season with three new plays and a graduate course in play development as well as a special event to mark our anniversary. 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. Also this summer during the same period as the series, the Program in Educational Theatre is running a course, Introduction to Theatre for Young Audiences, which explores the approaches and challenges in writing theatrical works for children. Students will study both classic and current texts. 

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.

David Montgomery, Artistic Director
Teresa Fisher, Producer/Production Manager

20th Anniversary Season (June 4-25, 2017)

Celebrating their 20th anniversary season, New Plays for Young Audiences will stage rehearsed readings of three new plays for young audiences, June 10-25 at the historic Provincetown Playhouse, presented by the Educational Theatre program at the NYU Steinhardt School. The readings are free and open to the public.

Siamese Cycle by Tidtaya Sinutoke is a semi-biographical play-in-cycle of a young Thai artist living in New York City dealing with cultural differences, a language barrier, food preferences, and of course, being an immigrant in this lonely city. Nancy Smithner directs. This piece is appropriate for ages 13 and up. Rehearsed readings are on Saturday, June 10, at 7:30pm and Sunday, June 11, at 3pm.

Based on an American folk-ballad, John Henry by Elise Forier Edie, takes place in a railroad camp a decade or so after the American Civil War. A young African American boy and his best friend, an Irish American girl, grapple with discrimination as their fathers struggle to keep their jobs in a burgeoning industrialized world. Karl O’Brian Williams directs. This play is appropriate for ages 9 and up. Rehearsed readings are on Saturday, June 17, at 2pm and Sunday, June 18, at 3pm.

Now Comes the Dust: A Heartland Musical with book and lyrics by Laurie Brooks and music by Paul Carrol Binkley. Jeff Church directs. In the heart of the dustbowl, Ellie’s family has made the choice to stay on their farm. The constant dust storms have killed their crops, their livestock and, in many cases, their friends and loved ones. The family’s hope is that sixteen-year-old Ellie, who they believe is an angel sent from God, will call down the rain and save them from the dust. How could such a heavy responsibility be laid at her feet? When Ellie’s Daddy, overwhelmed with “the loneliness”, wanders off the farm, Ellie sets off on a journey to find him and bring him home. Will Cole, a drifter with questionable motives, help Ellie bring her Daddy home? Will Ellie make it rain? Most importantly, will she find a way to be the “Ordinary Girl” she longs to be? Soaring music and rousing songs drive this family story of love, loss and determination. This play is appropriate for ages 11 and up. Rehearsed readings are on Saturday, June 24 at 7:30 pm and Sunday, June 25 at 3 pm.

All rehearsed readings are in the Provincetown Playhouse. Tickets are FREE. There are no advance reservations. Tickets will be available at the theatre’s box office beginning an hour before each reading.

In addition to the three readings, NYU’s Educational Theatre program will host a special roundtable event for the New Plays for Young Audiences 20th Anniversary to explore emergent directions in writing and producing works. The event will take place on Saturday, June 17 from 3:30-5:00pm in the Pless Lounge at 82 Washington Square East. Email Andrew Gaines for more information or follow this link to register. The roundtable event is free and open to the public, but an advance reservation is needed. 

Panelists include Laurie Brooks, award-winning TYA (Theatre for Young Audiences) playwright; José Cruz González, a leading Latino voice in TYA; Cecily O’Neill, foremost drama in education authority; David Montgomery, director of NYU’s Educational Theatre program and co-author of Theatre for Change; Kathy Krzys, archivist for ASU’s Child Drama Collection; and Courtney Boddie, director of education/school engagement at the New Victory Theater. The panel will be moderated by Philip Taylor, associate professor of educational theatre at NYU Steinhardt.


Auditions for New Plays for Young Audiences's 2018 series will be held in April or May 2018 for non-equity actors. Information will be posted here and on our Facebook page no later than March 2018.

Call for scripts

Beginning July 1, 2017, New Plays for Young Audiences seeks new unpublished and unproduced full-length play scripts for young audiences (ages 4-21) for our 21st season, June 2018. The final date that submissions for 2018 will be accepted is October 31, 2017.

Submission Guidelines:

  • 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. We cannot guarantee a preferred slot, but this information will help facilitate the scheduling process once scripts are selected. The 2018 series is slated to run June 3-24 in three one-week segments: June 3-10, June 10-17, and June 17-24.

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 (David Montgomery or Teresa Fisher).

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 2018 series, send your script between July 1 and October 31, 2017, to Producer/Production Manager, Teresa Fisher. We reply to all submissions within 7 days of receiving them.

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