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New Plays for Young Audiences

Educational Theatre

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.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 season is canceled. However, we will maintain a social media presence as we continue to encourage TYA new play development. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram as we celebrate our past, explore the present, and look to the future!

We will return in June 2021 for our 23rd 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

23rd Season (June 6-27, 2021)

Celebrating its twenty-third season, New Plays for Young Audiences will stage rehearsed readings of three new plays. These staged readings are presented by NYU Steinhardt’s Educational Theatre program at the historic Provincetown Playhouse 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.

Forgetting to Remember is an original script for young audiences being developed by playwright Finegan Kruckemeyer. Rosie wonders about the magic in the world: like if her bathtub really has a bottom, or if her bunk-bed really has a top, or if her shoes really really can’t lead her up the wall. So she asks the most magical person she knows, and even though Granny understands how the world works, with Rosie, she forgets to remember. This play is a story about the adventures grandparents and grandkids can go on when logic is set aside, and how even the hardest of truths can be eased by the gentlest of imaginings. Kruckemeyer is an Australia-based TYA playwright whose work has been performed on five continents and translated into eight languages. Eric Johnson directs. Johnson is the artistic director of Honolulu Theatre for Youth, an ensemble of artists making TYA work that champions and celebrates the rich multi-cultural voices of the Pacific and Oceania. Best enjoyed by ages 8-10 and their families. Rehearsed readings are on Saturday, June 12 at TBD p.m. and Sunday, June 13 at 3 p.m. 

Mariposa/Butterfly co-written by Sandra Fenichel Asher and José Casas. Two neighbors live side-by-side in Texas. A low fence separates their gardens, but much more divides them from one another. One neighbor grows flowers, the other raises vegetables. One was born in the US, the other in Mexico. One speaks English, the other, Spanish. Their differences have kept them so far apart that if one predicts a sunny day, the other is certain of rain. Even the arrival of a caterpillar causes disagreement - until the resulting mariposa/butterfly and its eventual departure unites them in wonder, in sadness, and in a new understanding of the beautiful world they share. Sandra Fenichel Asher's plays for young audiences have been produced coast-to-coast and abroad, and she's been honored with the Sara Spencer Award and the Charlotte Chorpenning Award for lifetime achievement by the American Alliance for Theatre and Education. José Casas is a playwright and Assistant Professor in the Department of Theatre and Drama at the University of Michigan. José Cruz González directs. González is a playwright and director from California. Best enjoyed by ages 4-8. Rehearsed readings on Saturday, June 19 at 3 p.m. and Sunday, June 20 at 3 p.m.

Feather and Ash drawing

Ash and Feather: A Bird-Girl and Her Father’s Cancer by Sharon Chappell is a coming of age story of endurance, creativity and love told by a young teen phoenix/girl who navigates her father’s brain cancer diagnosis and treatment. She finds support through relationships with her family (duck/mother and eagle/father), a counselor (hen) and a first love/best friend (hummingbird). Phoenix uses poetry, journal entries, songs, short fables, and art to develop a rich internal sense of self. She rises from the ashes of hardship, where cancer becomes only a minor character in her story. Dr. Chappell is a breast cancer survivor, teacher, and artist/writer who founded The Little Green Monster Project to support families impacted by cancer through the arts. She recently began the non-profit Well-Beings Studio to provide creative arts resources and experiences to families in hardship and works as a teacher educator at California State University Fullerton. Daphnie Sicre directs. Dr. Sicre is an assistant professor of Theatre Arts at Loyola Marymount University. When she is not teaching, she can be found directing or conducting workshops for social change. Best enjoyed by ages 12 and up. Rehearsed readings on Saturday, June 26 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, June 27 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

Auditions for New Plays for Young Audience's 2021 series will be held in April 2021 (dates to be announced in February 2021) for non-equity actors. For questions, contact Teresa at taf263@nyu.edu. There is no financial compensation for this learning opportunity, but we do provide a 7-day unlimited Metrocard to actors.

Call for scripts

Beginning July 1, 2021, New Plays for Young Audiences seeks new unpublished and unproduced full-length play scripts for young audiences for our 24th season, June 2022. The final date that submissions for 2022 will be accepted is October 31, 2021. Please note that, due to the cancelation of the 2020 season and the moving of the 2020 scripts to 2021, we are not accepting submissions in 2020 for the 2021 season.

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 2022 series is slated to run in three one-week segments: June 5-12, 12-19, and 19-26.

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 2022 series, send your script between July 1 and October 31, 2021, to Producer/Production Manager, Teresa Fisher. We reply to all submissions within seven days of receiving them.

Find out more about the series history.