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 2019 for our 22nd 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

22nd Season (June 2-23, 2019)

Celebrating its 22nd season, New Plays for Young Audiences will stage rehearsed readings of three new plays exploring the price of popularity, a Mayan girl’s adventure at sea to save her brother, and the complicated issue of immigration for the youth experiencing it. These staged readings are presented by NYU Steinhardt’s Educational Theatre program at the historic Provincetown Playhouse from June 8-23, 2019 and are free and open to the public.
The plays are the outgrowth of New Plays for Young Audiences’ annual summer play development series, established in 1998 by Lowell and Nancy Swortzell. The prize-winning series has developed dozens of new plays written by leading playwrights for young audiences and families, many of which have gone on to receive both national and international recognition, publication, and production.

Popularity Coach is an original script for young audiences being developed by playwright Brian Guehring exploring gender expectations. The play tells the story of third grader Cooper who desperately wants to be popular, however he is not like the sports-playing, superhero-loving boys in his class. His neighbor Mia also would like to be popular, but would rather just play sports than braid hair and take ballet. When the popular seventh grader Blake offers to be their Popularity Coach for a low, low price, Cooper and Mia sign up for the ten lesson unit (despite the scoffing from Blake’s rebellious older sibling AJ). Cooper and Mia have to eventually decide how much the price of being popular really is. Brian Guehring is an award-winning Theater for Young Audiences teaching artist who currently is the Playwright in Residence and Education Director at the Omaha Theater Company for Young People. Adil Mansoor directs. Mansoor is a Pittsburgh-based theatre director and educator centering queer people of color and their stories. Best enjoyed by ages 9 and up. Rehearsed readings are on Saturday, June 8 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, June 9 at 3 p.m.

Itzel: The Pirate Queen by José Cruz González is a new play for young audiences about an adventurous Mayan girl named Itzel whose world is forever changed when Spanish marauders steal away her little brother Dacey. Itzel must sail across an ocean to save him but is captured by the infamous privateer Captain Blood who sails the high seas seeking Spanish treasure. Years pass, and through a series of adventurous exploits, Itzel becomes a well-known privateer. The Spanish are out to get her. In a great battle at sea, her brother Dacey, now a defender of Spain, defeats his sister who he has long forgotten. Will Itzel go the gallows or convince her brother that she is his sister and change the course of history? José Cruz González is a playwright writing for young audiences and is based in Los Angeles, California. Armando Molina directs. Molina is an LA based director and Artistic Director of Company of Angels Theater. Best enjoyed by ages 10 and up. Rehearsed readings on Saturday, June 15 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, June 16 at 3 p.m.

Return to Sender by Marisela Treviño Orta tackles the complicated issue of immigration and how it touches the lives of children and their families. After Tyler’s father is injured in a tractor accident, his family is forced to hire migrant Mexican workers to help save their Vermont farm from foreclosure. Tyler isn’t sure what to make of these workers. Are they undocumented? And what about the three daughters, particularly Mari, the oldest, who is proud of her Mexican heritage but also increasingly connected to her American life. Her family lives in constant fear of being discovered by the authorities and sent back to the poverty they left behind in Mexico. Can Tyler and Mari find a way to be friends despite their differences? Return to Sender is an adaptation of the Julia Alvarez novel by the same name. Marisela Treviño Orta is an alum of the Iowa Playwrights Workshop, a Core Writer at the Playwrights Center, and currently a member of the Goodman Theatre’s Playwrights Unit. Ernie Nolan directs. Nolan is the Executive Artistic Director of Nashville Children’s Theatre and sits on the Executive Committee of ASSITEJ, the international children’s theatre service organization. Best enjoyed by ages 11 and up. Rehearsed readings on Saturday, June 22 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, June 23 at 3 p.m.

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.


Auditions for New Plays for Young Audiences's 2019 series will be held May 2-4, 2019 for non-equity actors. For more information, check out our Facebook page. No monologues needed (actors will read sides) and there is no advance sign up (simply show up during one of the audition dates). There is no financial compensation for this learning opportunity, but we do provide a 7-day unlimited Metrocard to all actors.

Call for scripts

Beginning July 1, 2019, New Plays for Young Audiences seeks new unpublished and unproduced full-length play scripts for young audiences for our 23rd season, June 2020. The final date that submissions for 2020 will be accepted is October 31, 2019.

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.
  • Also include in your submission how you see your script fitting into the TYA field as we are dedicated to nurturing and encouraging the continued development of TYA. If your script is not specifically intended for a young audience (any range that falls between ages 5 and 18 such as 5-9, 11-15, etc.) or otherwise appropriate for youth and family audiences, we encourage you to seek out a more appropriate venue.
  • 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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