New Plays for Young Audiences

New Plays for Young Audiences

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 2018 for our 21st season with three new plays and a graduate course in play development. Public rehearsed readings are performed each weekend of the series. 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.

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

21st Season (June 3-24, 2018)

New Plays for Young Audiences will stage rehearsed readings of three new plays, June 9 & 10, 16 & 17, 23 & 24, 2018 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. The readings are a culmination of a week of development for each script starting the Sunday before and ending after the Sunday matinee.

Lucky Petra (musical) with book and lyrics by Carl Miller, music by Christopher Ash. In addition to developing 1491 (2007) and Bud (2009) at NPYA, Miller has also written plays for Unicorn, Belgrade Theatre Coventry, Birmingham Rep, and the National Theatre in London. Ash is a founding member of The Showstoppers’ Improvised Musical! and has composed scores for theatre (MAC Birmingham, Belgrade Coventry) and film. He is also an arranger, orchestrater, musical director, sound designer, improviser, and workshop leader. Petra has been brought up inside a high tower by her unhappy father. One winter, she escapes – her physical journey also turning into an emotional coming of age. Lucky Petra is a promenade from station to station, moving its audience between a series of environments, driven by a travelling band which draws its inspiration from the repertoire of travelling music groups from Balkan brass bands to contemporary Roma / punk mashups. The presence of the musicians and what we learn of their journeys juxtaposes Petra’s magical travels with today's tales of migration. A dramatic, musical voyage for all ages inspired by sources from August Strindberg to Lowell Swortzell and beyond. Tony Graham directs. Former Artistic Director for both TAG (Glasgow) and Unicorn (London), where he oversaw the building of a major new children’s theatre, Graham is now an international freelance director regularly directing in Seoul, London and Coventry. Dramaturg Cecily O'Neill has been the series dramaturg for NPYA for the last ten years. 2TimeTheatre, a production and publishing company, is her latest venture. She is also the author of a number of influential books on drama education. Lucky Petra is appropriate for ages 11+. Rehearsed readings are on Saturday, June 9 at 7:30 pm and Sunday, June 10 at 3 pm.

HOW? is by noted author Lois Lowry whose 45 books have been translated into twenty-seven languages, and several have been adapted for film and stage. HOW? is a play that invites the audience as well as the actors to explore together the question of violence in our society. It is a play that incorporates variables, in the same way that the lives of young people do. So it will be different at each performance, and demanding of both the performers and the onlooking participants. It will uncover hidden and uncomfortable things about each character on the stage and might, in doing so, be revelatory to those watching. It might make the audience laugh at times. It might frighten them. It might make them weep. It will certainly provoke thought and discussion. It will raise questions that should leave the audience pondering possible answers. Stan Foote directs. Foote is the proud Artistic Director of Oregon Children’s Theatre and is excited help to bring another Lois Lowry story to life! HOW? is appropriate for ages 13+. Rehearsed readings are on Saturday, June 16 at 7:30 pm and Sunday, June 17 at 3 pm.

Becoming Martin is by noted director, screenwriter, and playwright Kevin Willmott. In addition to many notable film credits, Willmott adapted and directed a stage version of The Watsons Go to Birmingham at NPYA in 2005 and at Kansas City's Coterie Theater. He is a Professor in the Media and Film Studies Department of Kansas University. Becoming Martin explores Martin Luther King, Jr.’s journey to understand his own feelings and beliefs during the time he attended Morehouse College beginning at the young age of fifteen. Through his relationship with Dr. Benjamin Mays, Martin discovers that a minister can also be a modern man debating theology and philosophy while fighting for justice and equality. Kansas-based director and actor Chip Miller directs. Miller is the Assistant Artistic Director at KC Rep and a graduate of NYU. This play is appropriate for ages 11+. Rehearsed readings are on Saturday, June 23 at 7:30 pm and Sunday, June 24 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.

New Plays for Young Audiences is supported by The Nancy and Lowell Swortzell Permanent Fund in Educational Theatre and with thanks to NYU Steinhardt’s Department of Music and Performing Arts Professions.


Auditions for New Plays for Young Audiences's 2018 series will be held April 12-14, 2018 for non-equity actors. For more information, go to our online sign-up. You can also learn more on our Facebook event page.

Call for scripts

Submissions for our 2018 season are now closed.

Beginning July 1, 2018, New Plays for Young Audiences seeks new unpublished and unproduced full-length play scripts for young audiences for our 22nd season, June 2019. The final date that submissions for 2019 will be accepted is October 31, 2018.

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 2019 series is slated to run in three one-week segments: June 2-9, June 9-16, and June 16-23.

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 2019 series, send your script between July 1 and October 31, 2018, to Producer/Production Manager, Teresa Fisher. We reply to all submissions within 7 days of receiving them.

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